41. Wheel of fortune

The Tarot pack is divided into two. There are 56 regular cards, like a standard deck but with a Cavalier – a Knight – slipped in between the Jack and the Queen. Then there are 22 symbolic picture cards.

There are many different sets of Tarot cards in designs of amazing variety. I think my favourite is the Basque deck – the Tarot mítico vasco, full of people, animals, spirits and objects from the Pyrenean Pantheon.

One of the 22 symbolic cards is the Wheel of Fortune. The card always describes the cyclical nature of human experience. In some designs, the card carries an inscription:

Regnabo, regno, regnavi, sum sine regno. (I shall reign, I reign, I have reigned, I am without reign.)

There is ambition in I shall reign. There is success, achievement, closure in I reign. Nostalgia, elegy and perhaps regret animate I have reigned. The drama of emptiness and despair inhabits I am without reign.

The inscription on the Wheel of Fortune is a great story. Up to you to people it …