Monday, 11 August 2014

Day 11 - The Wheel of Fortune

Hello. My name is Philip Talboys. I've been asked to do a guest blog by The Dean.

Here is a photo of the well-known wall painting in the Choir of the "Wheel of Fortune", or "Rota Fortunae" (as Boris Johnson would say). Like many familiar symbols, it has an interesting past, I learn.

Wheel of Fortune
 The origins of the Wheel of Fortune metaphor are ancient. It goes back to Ancient India, the Greeks and the Romans - well before the eponymous television programme, in other words -
and ties in with contemporary understanding of the structure of the universe. In the Middle Ages, however, philosophers and divines took it up, and it became a symbol of, not only the
capriciousness of life, but of the fate awaiting those who get too full of themselves.

A Cathedral brochure describes the men as having 'climbed' to their respective positions. This rather misses the point, dare I say it?  Instead, it is the spinning of the wheel by the Goddess,
or Empress, of Fortune (often shown blindfolded) which is responsible for where the men find themselves. Where we end up is outside our control.

If I've got too full of myself, no doubt the Wheel will be spinning tonight! (I will recognise the hand of Mark Beach...)

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