When Life Gives You Lemons, Turn the Tarot’s Wheel of Fortune

“Lemons in Blue Bowl” from Nel’s Everyday Painting

And you thought I was going to tell you to make lemonade? At the very least I’d be telling you to make it a lemon drop martini with a twist!

Folks, we all know life is going to dish up both sweet and sour. We turn to the tarot when the sour feels bitter and there’s no sugar on the rim.

This morning I was reading an article from Tricycle, a lovely website of Buddhist wisdom, and the following passage really struck me:

The classical statement that sums up the goal of Buddhist life: “Transform delusion into enlightenment.” On the everyday level of experience, Shin Buddhists speak of this transformation as “bits of rubble turn into gold.”

In my opinion, one of the highest services the tarot can provide us is by giving us deep and objective insight into the purpose and lessons to be integrated behind our bittersweet life experiences. How can we transform what hurts and what we want to avoid, deny, ignore, or dismiss into something that turns into inner gold?

The Wheel of Fortune — Random Chance Brings Opportunity for Change and Integration

The Wheel of Fortune appears in a reading to communicate both the cyclical nature of life (the ups and downs, sweets and sours, goods and bads, yins and yangs, etc.) as well as the ever-present possibility of seemingly random chance or synchronicity to change our direction. Spinning around, no one knows where it will stop.

I chose the Wheel of Fortune to represent this transformation of lemons into a lemon-drop martini (or lemonade if you prefer!) because it reminds me that life is a continuous cycle of changing events. The Wheel of Fortune shows how we use both our own will and action but must also integrate that with uncontrollable and unseen forces of Life that are constantly intervening with our best-laid plans.

—We’re planning our wedding in the midst of a happy engagement, and suddenly our partner falls in love with someone else.

—We look forward to a promotion and then our company decides to shut down our department.

—We’re convinced that we’ll never fall in love again, and then while meeting a friend for lunch, we’re introduced to someone who uncontrollably sparks our inner passion.

—We’re stuck about which direction to turn in our career, when suddenly a door opens up, someone leaves a position that we’re perfect for, or we get a completely unexpected call for an interview.

Random chance is unplanned for, but it can be opportunity in disguise, and we can view it as good, bad, or neutral. Life can serve both lemons and lemonade. How can we keep a larger perspective on things, finding balance and integration in our lives so that we can stay on the proverbial wheel of fortune without letting it make us dizzy or throw us off?

This also reminds me of a Zen story that I love to turn to, the “Maybe” story whose interpretation below I found at The 10 Very Best Zen Stories:

The Wheel of Fortune from the 12th century manuscript Hortus Deliciarum
The Wheel of Fortune from the 12th century manuscript Hortus Deliciarum

Maybe

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

***

So the next time that life gives you lemons, is it sweet? Maybe. Is it sour? Maybe. Such is Life on the ever-turning Wheel of Fortune.

Shelley Ruelle is a tarot consultant who works with clients using the art of the tarot, to help them gain insights and personal empowerment in making conscious decisions and navigating the sometimes confusing waters of life. Invest in your own greater good, walk more confidently on your life’s path, and intimately connect with your higher self through a custom-designed reading by Shelley: book your personalized reading now.

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