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Greater Arcana Study Group—Wheel of Fortune

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Abrac  Abrac is offline
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Apophis = Destruction / Anubis = Preservation (mummification)?
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parsival  parsival is offline
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Figures on the Wheel


You could be onto something there Abrac . Typhon , the Greek form of Set , and Hermanubis a composite of the Egyptian Anubis and the Greek Hermes could stand for the forces of dissolution and construction respectively or solve et coagula. In the legend of Isis and Osiris , Set dismembers the body of Osiris ( the solve part of the formula) and Anubis helps Isis to recover the dismembered and dispersed parts of the body (coagula ) , to embalm them , and to restore them to life.

However , as far as I know , Set / Typhon was not represented in Egyptian mythology in serpent form. In fact the serpent Apep / Apophis was the enemy of Ra , and in the earlier legends Set would defend Ra and the solar barque from the Apep/Apophis serpent.

In fact Set was usually depicted with the head of an indeterminate animal which has been interpreted as that of a fox or a donkey ( something like that of the ascending figure on the Wheel ). Otherwise he was depicted as a crocodile or hippo.

The serpent in this card reminds me of the serpent on the Lovers card , where Waite talks about the figure of the woman as signifying " that attraction towards the sensitive life which carries within it the idea of the Fall of Man " . The serpent usually symbolizes life / generation i.e. " the sensitive life " or the life of the senses . In which case the descending serpent on the Wheel would depict the fall into generation , while the Hermanubis would stand for the return through death to God . In that respect we could remember that Hermes was the guide of souls .
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Abrac  Abrac is offline
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I've never heard of Typhon as a serpent either; he's described as having serpentine and reptilian features but not as a snake like in the Wheel card.

The Golden Dawn either didn't know or didn't care that Typhon was Greek. In their description of the Death tarot trump is the following: "This symbol represents the corrosive and destructive action of the infernal Fire as opposed to the Celestial—the Dragon of the Waters, the Typhon of the Egyptians, the Slayer of Osiris—which later yet rises again in Horus." Regardie, The Golden Dawn, p. 211. In another place is the description of Ooma-Sathan, a.k.a. the Evil Persona: "Omoo-Sathan. Typhon, Apophis, Set. The Evil Persona is a composite figure of the powers arising from the Qlippoth." Ibid, p. 357.

Eliphas Levi also calls Typhon Egyptian. In Chapter 15 of his Transcendental Magic, which deals with the Devil, is this: "Yes, we confront here the phantom of all terrors, the dragon of all theogonies, the Ariman of the Persians, the Typhon of the Egyptians, the Python of the Greeks, the old serpent of the Hebrews . . ." p. 288. (This could be one possible source where Waite made a connection between Typhon and the serpent.) And on p. 321 in his brief descriptions of the tarot trumps, for the Devil it says, "15. Typhon, or the Devil."

W. W. Westcott, in Levi's Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum, p. 60, notes: "[Paul] Christian alleges that this demon represents the Typhon of Egypt, the genius of misfortune;"

It seems to me these different names were used mainly as symbols for the Devil and all having basically the same meaning. When Waite says he has presented Typhon in his serpent form, it seems possible to me he means Apophis. Even though this wouldn't technically be correct, since Typhon didn't have a serpent form, it seems possible that that's how he, and others from the same circles at the time, may have seen it; or he may have genuinely believed Typhon had a serpent form; or he may have just meant "I have presented 'the Devil' in his serpent form."

I've wondered too if the snake has some connection with the Lovers. Your explanation has given me something to ponder.
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parsival  parsival is offline
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Figures on the Wheel


There is however a kind of hidden connection between Typhon and the serpent .

Typhon and Python are in fact anagrams and in Greek gematria would have the same number , and therefore the same nature.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Python_(mythology)
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Abrac  Abrac is offline
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That's an amazing catch!
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Falconnier has an unusual take on this card. The picture below is from Saint-Germain's Practical Astrology, 1901. He used the Falconnier-Wegener images to illustrate the section on Tarot. The description also appears to be a translation of Falconnier's French from his Les XXII lames hermètiques du tarot divinatoire, 1896. Where Saint-Germain uses "Spirit," Falconnier's word was Genius, or guardian spirit.

http://s19.postimg.org/l39nnmnnn/Falconnier_Wheel.jpg
"We have here the most ancient drawing of the Wheel of Destiny turning upon its axis. On one side we see the God Kne-phta, the Spirit of Good; on the other side, Typhon, the Spirit of Evil, who is about to be thrown off from the wheel while the Spirit of Good is rising. Over the whole presides a full figure of a winged Sphinx representing the four forces of human nature: to Know, to Dare, to Act, to Be Silent. The Sphinx remains in perfect equilibrium as if the constantly revolving wheel of fortune had no influence over him."
Would anyone have any idea who "Kne-phta" is supposed to be? Kneph (Knepth, Khnum) was a creator deity, but I'm not sure that's it. The image looks like it has the face of an owl, but Kneph had a ram's head. It says "God" which means Kne-phta should be male. There's a flame coming from its head but that means it's a spirit or genius, it doesn't do anything to help identify it.
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parsival  parsival is offline
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Probably an amalgam of Kneph and Ptah . Both are creator gods .

http://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/K/kneph.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptah
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Abrac  Abrac is offline
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It's possible it's a composite I guess. Falconnier only mentions two geniuses by name that I can find, Typhon and Kne-phta. It seems strange he would use one that's very well known and another that no one's heard of.
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At the end of Waite's descriptions of the majors in the PKT, he says:
"There has been no attempt in the previous tabulation to present the symbolism in what is called the three worlds—that of Divinity, of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. A large volume would be required for developments of this kind. I have taken the cards on the high plane of their more direct significance to man, who—in material life—is on the quest of eternal things. The compiler of the Manual of Cartomancy has treated them under three headings: the World of Human Prudence, which does not differ from divination on its more serious side; the World of Conformity, being the life of religious devotion; and the World of Attainment, which is that of 'the soul’s progress towards the term of its research.' He gives also a triple process of consultation, according to these divisions, to which the reader is referred."
As we know, Waite himself was the "compiler" of the Manual of Cartomancy. He gives three different sets of meanings for each trump depending on which world the reading pertains to. In the PKT, he doesn't develop the symbolism in all three worlds, but they are especially apparent in the Wheel of Fortune. It's interesting to read Waite's meanings from the Manual of Cartomancy and see how they might apply to the symbols. Theoretically, each trump has three different aspects of symbolism depending on which world you're talking about.

The World of Human Prudence involves the wheel and the figures revolving up and down on it. In this world it indicates fluctuation:
"10. Wheel of Fortune.—Mutation, circumstances; revolution of things, vicissitude; time and its variable development; all that is understood by the external side of fortune."
The World of Conformity involves the Sphinx. The "sword and crown" refers to the figure at the top of the wheel in many Marseille Wheels which have a sword and crown. In this world it indicates mastery over fluctuating circumstances:
"10. Wheel of Fortune.—The sword and the crown; another symbol of equilibrium, in this case over the mutations of fortune; the angel of true life, the spirit of religion ruling over the flux of circumstance."
The World of Attainment. In this world the wheel has stopped entirely. It refers to the hub, or the still center:
"10. Wheel of Fortune.—Divine rapture; triumph over the circle of necessity; in this world, the wheel has ceased to revolve."
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parsival  parsival is offline
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"Thirty spokes are united in one hub.
It is in its emptiness,
Where the usefulness of the cart is ".
Tao Te Ching Book 1 Ch 11
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