Textual Arachne

A weaver of threads.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Wheel

A little ironic that I'm doing this one today. My first entry, and last night's that parallels it, are so focused on the wheel of the year that in a way I feel like I've "done" the Wheel.

But not quite, of course. Haindl's illustrations don't let us rest with simplicity or with familiar interpretations.

A man's face above; a woman's below. Upon the wheel we don't have king and peasant, death and baby. Instead we have a tortoise and a unicorn, a bearded man, a snake (an indistinct snake, compared to Strength), water dripping, bubbles rising, stone and air. And in the center is a hand, that may be trying to spin the wheel or to stop it, but seems to be failing in its attempt to grasp. In the hand's center, a tiny golden flame.

The wheel doesn't give us what we expect. It's framed by us, and we think we can control it, but it eludes us and moves or halts as it will. It's not a card of whim but of change--and the fundamental thing of the Wheel's version of change is unpredictability. Merchant does not lead naturally to king, leading naturally to deposed noble. Rather, the motion that continues is necessary but unknowable.


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