Tarocchino Arlecchino: The Wheel of Fortune

Up next, Arlecchino will present for us mortals a series of allegories of the forces which challenge us. First, please consider the vicissitudes of fate and fortune!

The one who sits atop the gets to wear the regal costume, for a time. Elsewhere, one can only cling on for dear life.

In the Bolognese deck, I like the Wheel’s gnarled wooden stem. It makes a nice alternative to the mechanical device of the Marseille tarot, or the spectral sky-disk of the Smith-Waite deck.

The Wheel in the Bolognese tarocchino deck. In contrast to the popular representations of Tarot de Marseille and Smith-Waite, the characters are also all human. Source: National Library of France <https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b105109607/f21.item#>

I was going to try something fancy with the costumes in this card, but decided to stay simple, having four Harlequins to deal with after all. I have to keep reminding myself that these will print quite small so some of my obsessive zooming-in is unproductive. This is what I find most challenging about working digitally. Anyway, I like the basic red and black costumes because they remind me of Paul Cézanne’s Harlequins.

Cézanne painted a number of Harlequins, and this one is quite contemplative. Harlequin (1888-1890). Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC <https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.66405.html> PD-US

So this is a fairly straightforward card. The Etteilla meanings are largely positive, which I suppose balances out the uncharacteristically negative cast that some others take on.

Keywords (translated from Julia Orsini)

Upright: fortune, luck, happiness, joy, bliss, improvement, bonus, blessing, prosperity, goods, wealth, profits, benefits, graces, favors, lot, fate, destiny, adventure, good fortune

Reversed: augmentation, increase, enlargement, abundance, surfeit, growth, development, vegetation, production

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