From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spinning the Rota Fortunae: Before Sajak

(Illustration by Boccaccio)
Although Pat Sajak (like the rest of us) is getting along in years, he's still quite a bit younger than the Rota Fortunae.

Rota Fortunae is Ancient Roman-speak for "Wheel of Fortune."  Allegedly owned by Fortuna, goddess of luck (these days known as Vanna White), the three-dimensional Rota Fortunae  is somewhat akin to the Bhavacakra (the Buddhist "Wheel of Life").  Both reflect the fickleness of fate – for luck can be good, bad, or a capricious blend of both.

Images of the Bhavacakra can be found on the walls of Buddhist temples throughout Tibet and India.  It is said that Buddha himself designed the first one in order to explain his teachings to the general public.  This Wheel of Life is layered:  within its hub are "the three poisons of ignorance, attachment and aversion" - while other layers represent karma, samsara, impermanence and liberation.

These words from the 13th-century Latin poem Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi (meaning "Fortune, Empress of the World" - the authorship of which is attributed to disgruntled clergy) reflect the Rota Fortunae philosophy:  Fate – monstrous and empty, you whirling wheel, status is bad, well-being is vain always may melt away, shadowy and veiled you plague me too…

Nevertheless, there must be some reason for Vanna White's perpetual smile.  Perhaps her secret lies in these tips from MSN Living.  In an article titled "Be Happy:  How to Make Your Own Luck," Women's Health claims that improving your luck can be "as easy as adjusting your attitude."  Such attitude adjustments include expecting good outcomes, cultivating positive energy, practicing flexibility, clearing your mind, taking more risks, trusting your gut, breaking familiar patterns, and brushing off failure.   

Copyright February 6, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment