The Book of Fortune

Below is the cover of The Book of Fortune by an anonymous author, published in 1698 (from the library at the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign, retrieved via Early English Books Online).

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The wheel pictured here is similar to the eight-spoked wheel seen in many Tarot decks. The figures around the wheel are accompanied with the words Regnabo, Regno, Regnavi, Sum sine regno—I shall reign, I reign, I have reigned, I am without sovereignty, as translated by Helen Farley in A Cultural History of Tarot (70). These four people are echoed in the Visconti-Sforza deck pictured below.

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Aside from the obvious differences (such as the blindfolded, winged goddess in the center of the Visconti-Sforza card), the book cover and the Tarot card carry some of the same allusions and symbols. The four characters in both are meant to represent “equality irrespective of rank, age, or sex” (Farley 79). Fortuna plays no favorites.

The Book of Fortune focuses on dice and astrology rather than cartomancy, but its image of Fortune can deepen our understanding of the Wheel in Tarot and in poetry.

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  1. Pingback: Wheel of The Year Readings | The Dark Fool's Oracle

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