The World Artwork Description
As this final message of the Major Trumps is unchanged — and indeed unchangeable — in respect of its design, it has been sufficiently described already [see controversies and observations below]. It represents the perfection and end of the Cosmos, the secret which is within it, the rapture of the universe when it understands itself in God. It is also the state of the soul in the consciousness of Divine Vision. But these meanings are without prejudice to that which I have said concerning it on the material side.
I have not attempted to present the symbolism in what is called the three worlds — that of Divinity, of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. I have taken the cards on the high plane of their more direct significance to man, who — in material life — is on the quest of eternal things. I have not attempted to rectify the position of the cards in their relation to one another — the zero therefore appears after number twenty — but I have taken care to number the World or Universe as twenty-one.” 1
The World Associations
- Alternate Names: The Universe, Time.
- Twenty-One: 21 Completion, Mastery.
- Element: Earth.
- Rune: Wunjo “Joy”.
- Crystal/Gem: Aquamarine.
- Kabbalah: Tav “Cross, Mark”.
- Astrological: Saturn.
- Astronomical: Galatic Centre.
The World Basic Meaning
As The Fool was about being one individual within the entirety of the world—the world is about encompassing all the individuals. A vast unity, but intricate. To see infinitely outwards. Wholeness, satisfaction, success. Many sources mention study and mastery of academics or intellectual subjects. The transition from apprentice to master—birth, a new life sprung from the completion of the turning wheel into a new cycle. A new beginning on a very different wavelength than before.
The World Controversies and Observations
Counter-part to The Hanged Man. Contradictory to The Wheel of Fortune.
“The four living creatures of the Apocalypse and Ezekiel’s vision, attributed to the evangelists in Christian symbolism, are grouped about an elliptic garland, as if it were a chain of flowers to symbolise all sentient things, and within this garland there is the figure of a woman, whose hips are covered with a light scarf, and this is all she wears. She is in the act of dancing, and has a wand in either hand. It is eloquent as an image of the swirl of the sensitive life, of joy attained in the body, of the soul’s intoxication in the earthly paradise, but still guarded by the Divine Watchers, as if by the powers and the graces of the Holy Name, Tetragammaton,—YHWH — those four ineffable letters which are sometimes attributed to the mystical beasts. For some it is a symbol of humanity and the eternal reward of a life that has been spent well. According to P. Christian, the garland encircling the woman should be formed of roses, the kind of chain which Éliphas lévi says is less easily broken than a chain of iron.” 1
“Meaning: Assured success, voyage, route, emigration, flight, change of place.
Reversed: Inertia, fixity, stagnation, permanence.” 1
“Conclusion of a cycle; success and fulfillment in any project; completing anything; alchemy; spiritual understanding; movement and travel; searching for the philosopher’s stone; the study of science and quantum physics.” 2
“Basic Tarot Symbols: Woman or hermaphrodite dancing, a wreath in the shape of a Yoni (almond shaped circle), two wands, a cherub, an eagle, a lion, a bull.
Basic Tarot Meaning: The World (or Universe) card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. The Dancer has one leg crossed over the other, just like the Hanged man. She is, in a sense, his opposite, the Hanged Man right-side-up. As the Hanged Man saw infinitely inward, the Dancer sees infinitely outward.
The Dancer is also the opposite of the Wheel. The Wheel goes up and down like a Ferris Wheel, which means those on it feel like they get moved to higher or lower positions, are lucky or unlucky. The World, by compare, goes round and round like a carousel. This means that whatever corner of the universe a person gets sent to, it seems equally wonderful and interesting, not like a promotion or demotion. With the World there are no Zeniths or Nadirs; each corner is different, but all are similarly important.
Which brings us to the Lion, Bull, Cherub and Eagle standing for Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio, the fixed signs of the Zodiac (also sometimes found on The Wheel of Fortune card). These are symbolic of the four elements (four suits of the tarot), four compass points, four seasons, and the four corners of the universe. All within the Dancer’s sight and power.
Thus, the World card is about, first, completion and competency. The querent may have come to the end of a long-term project or graduated from a field of study. There is the feeling that they have hit all the points of the circle. There will be well-earned praise, celebration and success.
Saturn, the card’s ruling planet, reinforces this. Saturn is the ‘scholar’ card, and indicates that the querent is now an expert in their subject. Thus, this is not, like Death, the end of something, but rather a change in frequency. From student to teacher, from apprentice to master. The querent has finished their first go-around and goes right into another spin as a professional.
And, finally, on a more mundane level, the World card indicates travel, not short business trips, but long, fantastic trips. Maybe a lecture tour, book signing, or just a trip around the world. This can be a wonderful card of wholeness, satisfaction and independence.
Thirteen’s Observations: There are three possible things I usually see in this card when it comes up, sometimes combined, sometimes not:
(1) Everything finally coming together, successfully and at last. The querent will graduate, marry after a long engagement, finish that huge project, or get their ph.d. This is a card about completing things, and getting well earned cheers and pats on the back when you do.
(2) The querent is or will become a teacher, a Sensei, a scholar or master of their profession. Meaning they’ve shifted from being seen as a common worker to being seen as an expert. They may stop working for others and start up their own business. Or it may be that someone will retire and they’ll take over.
(3) They are either traveling now or will be traveling. Luckily for them, the World card indicates that they’ll feel comfortable and welcome no matter where they go, provided for by those who sent or invited them on this trip. The World card indicates a person who owns little. The whole world is their home and gives them what they need.” 3
Axank’s Dream Recollection
January 18-19, 2012
I dreamt of being outside on a busy street. I knew this street from my waking life. It was un-realistically busy with traffic in the street and noise in the atmosphere. I had agreed to meet with a small girl, with deep red hair, pigtails, and glasses. I walked all the way down the street to meet her. Another part of the dream was taking note of where the one way street lead onto the two-way street. Here, cyclists would be faced with oncoming traffic. For some reason this was significant in the dream. The take-aways I got from this dream was that of a journey… being re-united with the starting point. A lot to do with traveling and experiencing the outside world for whatever crazy-beautiful thing it really is.