Karma and the Wheel of Fortune

Allegedly a former senior colleague of mine (and others) endured an incident of humiliation and distress at the hand of an innocent recently, as reported, and then confirmed, on one of the more reliable social networks.

I must confess dear friends that this small defiant action by one person against another, and sadly I do not know the full details, thrilled me to the core. I did feel a tad guilty about my pleasure at their displeasure and distress. But then I remembered only too well what the ‘victim’ had visited on me and many others.

Indeed I feel as if Karma, taking her sweet bloody time, had finally smiled on me and I found myself unusually cheered in the wake of the news.

As we know it is unutterably hard to cope when the Wheel of Fortune is stalled at the bottom in the mud of despair and powerlessness, sometimes at the hands of another, sometimes because of our own foolishness and stupidity. But, if you know your Shakespeare and your Tarot, wheels are always going around and he who rises also falls, just as he who falls also rises.

King Lear was “bound upon a wheel of fire”, having been the king who gave it all away, he went mad and lost his beloved youngest daughter. He didn’t quite manage to get everything back but he had grown from his suffering and it could be argued he died in peace; certainly order was restored to his ravaged kingdom.

Macbeth began as a hero, lauded across the land. Like Lear he began his play at the top of his Wheel of Fortune, but oh did he fall. His act of regicide was only avenged by Macduff , at the end of the play, who completed the karmic circle for Duncan’s sons. Thus the kingdom was restored and all was right in the world again.


This is the heart of Karma, that what goes around comes around – believing that injustice, that your unwarranted suffering at the hands of another will be dealt with, will be avenged. The problem with Karma is that she takes her time and appears in deceptive disguises. It is unlikely that you will be the instrument of your own Karma, especially in our context, that of revenge. And this is what makes keeping the Karmic faith difficult – you have to be patient and you have to trust it will happen.

You are always the instrument of your own Karma when you act for good. While you wait for the evil-doers in your life to get theirs, go about your own business doing good, being good. It will distract you from your suffering and make you a better and stronger person in the meantime. And if you spread good about it will come back to you.

Remember, just like the river, you cannot push Karma against her will, and know that the Wheel of Fortune is ever turning, always falling and rising. Smile, go about your business, be patient. If you believe in justice there will be justice. (Pictures courtesy Private Collection)


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