The Wheel of Fortune and 1’s Emerging Essence

I was so delighted with how the Enneagram types and their numerologically corresponding Major card fit together, that I decided to see how the next line of Majors fit with each types’ virtue and ‘Holy idea’, or-as Riso and Hudson term it, their ‘emerging essence’. (So, now we’re into the double digits of the Major Arcana, and find the correspondence based on reducing the digits. Wheel of Fortune is card 10. 1 + 0 = 1, thus corresponds to the Magician and type 1.)


The Wheel of Fortune as representative of type 1s Holy Idea of Perfection, and their virtue of serenity might not be obvious at first. Doesn’t the Wheel just imply change?

In ‘Meditations on the Tarot’, the author talks at length about the 10th Arcanum as being representative of the Fall. It’s a Christian Hermetic treatise on the Tarot, and this book gets super esoteric and there’s so much that’s truly beyond me, particularly without a real religious background. But this chapter (or letter, as the book frames them) is so interesting to me in the way it plays out, and makes me think that the author was a type 1.

They introduce the chapter by saying that this card teaches ‘an organism of ideas relating to the problem of the Fall and the Reintegration’. It portrays the ‘whole circle, including ascent as well as descent’. So right there, we can already see the invitation to type 1s, who, before the ‘emergence of essence’,  are primarily concerned with the ideal, with the highest potential of things (and thus live much of their lives in deep frustration that things are far from perfect). The Wheel is asking us to look at the totality of things. ‘Meditations’ goes on to say:

“The world is not what it should be. There is a contradiction between the totality and the details. For whilst the starry heavens represent a harmony of equilibrium and perfect cooperation, animals and insects devour one another and innumerable legions of infectious microbes bear sickness and death to men, animals, and plants.....this is the problem of the origin of the Fall: that the world is worthy of being sung for and wept for at the same time.”

This illustrates beautifully the tension of type 1, who can so clearly see what *could* be—the equilibrium of the starry heavens’, but are continually confronted by the reality of the ‘world that can be wept for’.

But just to return to a moment for why I think the author of ‘Meditations’ is a 1. There is this sprawling letter on the fall, on totality, on perfection and imperfection, evolution and disintegration, and then in the last page or so they go off on a bit of a tangent about Hermeticism as it relates to the Wheel, to the ‘aspiration to the *totality of things*’. And in the last paragraph in particular, which in other letters is a summary or an introduction of the Arcanum that is coming next, there is an open hearted appeal to some unnamed Priest, in which the author is begging absolution for their inability to be satisfied with the teachings of the Church as they stand. “*I am unable not* to aspire to the depth, the height and the breadth of comprehensive truth, to comprehension of the *totality of things*.” 

It’s such a deeply affecting and fascinating divergence, and it made me think of type 1s, and how they hold this Platonic ideal in their hearts of what *could* be, and not only is it unmet but they are *unable* to stop aspiring towards it.

But what good is the Wheel of Fortune as representative of the 1s Holy Idea if all it does is illustrate the tension? In ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’, Riso and Hudson talk about the essence of perfection  as the experience of integrity: Ones “know that, at a profound level, the universe is unfolding exactly as it should.....we feel a deep peace [there’s the virtue of serenity] and acceptance of life that gives us the ability to know exactly what is required in each situation and in each moment.”

And there’s the invitation for Type 1s. Yes, the Wheel signifies change. Yes, it represents the tension of the Fall, of what is present and what is possible. But its teaching is: as the universe unfolds, amidst the chaos of ascent/descent, can you do only what is yours to do? Can you trust in the perfection of the unfolding, and not try to control it by the strength of your expectations?

‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’ suggests that type 1s reflect on the serenity prayer, and it is perfect for the Wheel of Fortune: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”