The World is the twenty second card in the Tarot Deck. It is given the number 21 because the very first card (The Fool) is given the number 0.
The World represents Completion, Totality, Resolution, Harmony and Balance.
Let’s look at the picture below of The World. The picture is from the Rider Waite Tarot deck which was first published in 1909. It is a great deck for beginners because every card has a picture describing its meaning. Today the majority of Tarot decks are based on the Rider Waite deck. It is also a ‘deep’ deck because the creators of it put multi layered meanings inside it.
We see a figure in the center surrounded by a green wreath. The figure is naked, except for a piece of cloth. The figure holds a baton in each hand. In the four corners of the card are clouds and four symbols – a man, bull, lion and eagle.
Man/Woman / Hermaphrodite
Traditionally this card had a hermaphrodite (male and female combined) displayed. The Rider Waite deck displays a woman. However we cannot be sure if it is a hermaphrodite or not as the genital region is covered. This figure is happy and blissful.
The leg position is similar to the legs of The Hanged Man, except in reverse. The Hanged Man is often seen as a card of stagnation but another meaning is one of ‘waiting for enlightenment’.
Upright the legs are dancing – the world is literally being danced into existence just like Shiva – Lord of the Cosmic dance created the world with his consort Parvati.
Clothing on Figure
The cloth which covers the genital region of the figure is the color purple. Purple traditionally is for royalty and spiritual figures. Here the cloth signifies that the figure has reached a stage of enlightenment and internal freedom.
Batons / Wands
The two white batons/wands that the figure holds represents power and will. They receive and transmit the energies of the universe and the energies of the person.
The green wreath surrounding the figure represents our green earth which we reside within. The earth sits within the universe (World card). The red sash on the top and bottom of the green wreath represents the root chakra, life-force and passion. The way the red sash is tied suggests the infinity symbol which we see in The Magician and Strength card. The infinity symbol teaches us that ‘as above, so below’ – that we are actually reflections of the world.
These four characters traditionally represent the four books in the New Testament of the Christian religion (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). The Rider Waite deck is heavy with Cabalah – a version of Kabbalah which also brings in Christian mysticism. The four characters are also seen as guardians of the universe.
Top Right Hand Corner Eagle
The Eagle represents the element of water and the astrological sign of Scorpio. In Tarot the Minor Arcana suit of Cups matches the element of water.
Top Left Hand Corner Man
The Man represents the element of air and the astrological sign of Aquarius.
In Tarot the Minor Arcana suit of Swords matches the element of air.
Bottom Left Hand Corner Bull
The Bull represents the element of earth and the astrological sign of Taurus.
In Tarot the Minor Arcana suit of Pentacles matches the element of earth.
Bottom Right Hand Corner Lion
The Lion represents the element of fire and the astrological sign of Leo.
In Tarot the Minor Arcana suit of Wands matches the element of fire.
This represents the sky and the lofty ideals we have now reached. It also represents healing and communication both internally with ourselves and externally with the world.
Gods / Goddesses
The World card is ruled by all the Gods and Goddesses that rule over the World. Ultimate deities. Any God or Goddess can represent the world.
Female: Gaia, Isis, Earth Mother
Male: Zeus, Yahweh, Green Man
The number of The World is 21
1 is the Magician. 2 is the High Priestess
1 + 2 = 3 – The Empress
These three cards all follow one after another and teach us about power and will (The Magician), inner wisdom (The High Priestess) and inner fulfillment (The Empress).
Traditionally the number 21 was the ‘coming of age’ when teenagers became adults. Nowadays the common number is 18. However many people around the world still celebrate a 21st birthday party where they become an adult and take on the responsibilities of the world.
The astrological sign Saturn rules The World card. Saturn is the last personal planet and represents the space before the trans-personal planets appear. Saturn helps us in our individuation process. We experience a ‘Saturn Returns’ every 29 1/2 years when Saturn comes back to the same place in our chart as was at the time of our birth. It is said that whatever we have not dealt with in our lives will flare up around our Saturn returns time.
Saturn rules Aquarius.
Saturn rules skin, hair, teeth, bones, the body’s defenses and the spleen.
The creators of the Rider Waite Tarot deck were members of the Golden Dawn, a group that had many teachings based on the mystical Kabbalah of the Jewish nation. When I say Kabbalah forget about monotheism, Judaism, God, and religion for a moment. Kabbalists are mystics in a sense. They believe God is neither male nor female and in fact has many aspects. Their systems are all about learning why we are here, the mystery of the universe and what the big plan is.
Inside the Rider Waite deck is a multitude of Kabbalistic meanings. I will briefly explain a few of the Kabbalistic meanings within The Emperor card. Believe me when I say you could learn for the rest of your life about Tarot and Kabbalah and still only scratch the surface. I’m keeping it superficial but easy to understand. I am also using on purpose the word Kabbalah rather than Cabala.
The World is represented by the letter Tav – ת.
The World on The Tree of Life sits on the path between Yesod to Malkuth.
The name of this card is Administrative Intelligence. This means that we take part in creating the world in which we live. We have administrative power. We are not victims of the World – we are co creators.
KEYWORDS / KEY PHRASES
Equality / Unity / Completion / Wholeness / Harmony / Balance / Union / Integration / Fulfillment / Transcendence / Liberation / Accomplishment
MESSAGE FROM THE WORLD
The World wants to let you know that everything is OK. Everything is as it is meant to be. You have reached a stage of completion. Enjoy where you are at.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I feel I have completed a cycle?
Is it time to celebrate something that is finished?
Am I grateful every day for what I have?
Do I feel balanced?
Do I feel in harmony with my male and female sides?
Do I feel connected to myself?
Do I feel connected to the planet?
Is an aspect of my spiritual journey complete?
Am I doing my daily spiritual exercise?
What can heal me right now?
Allow yourself to focus on what you have achieved. Be grateful for all that you have and give thanks. Pause and enjoy the energy.
THE WORLD REVERSED
When I see a reversed card I simply see the energy blocked or inhibited in some way.
How would The World be inhibited?
I see the World inhibited every day. When we do not respect the world in which we live in, the world has a habit of reminding us. Today we have global warming, floods, hurricanes,??????
If you get The World reversed for yourself or someone else some questions to ask might be…
Am I feeling that a phase in my life needs to end?
Am I not able to let something complete and end itself?
When do I do disrespect to myself?
When do I disrespect the planet?
Am I feeling restricted?
Do I have a fear of transition to the next stage?
Do I feel like my world is turned upside down?
Is it impossible right now to achieve anything?
If you get The World reversed it is reminding you to understand that ‘all is not well’.
What is out of balance? Your health? Relationships? Work / Life balance? Spiritual path?
Now is not the time to sit back and wait for this ‘phase’ to end. You must take action now to re-right the balance.
TO SUM IT ALL UP…
The World card can have many meanings depending on the question that is asked and the cards surrounding it. It can indicate cycles ending. It can indicate a sense of completion inside ourselves. It can teach us about equality by reminding us that we are all equal.
The World invites you to understand that you are not separate. You are connected to all aspects of yourself, the people around you and the planet you live in. Separateness is an illusion.
In the movie Avatar, the native peoples called the Na’vi live on a densely forested moon called Pandora. They are one with the environment that they live with – a symbiotic relationship that fascinates the researcher Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver). Whatever happens to their planet happens to them also. When the human invaders from planet earth start to destroy their land, it also affects the Na’vi. The World card can explain the relationship the Na’vi have with their habitat. They are not separate from the world in which they live. They are a beautiful symbol of connectedness.
We too are affected by the world we live in and the world is also affected by us. We both have a symbiotic relationship to each other, but we are often too much in our heads to see that. True happiness comes with connection – to ourselves, to our loved ones and to the planet. Watch the video below to get a sense of being connected to your World.
World Tarot card: By Pamela Coleman Smith – a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley (http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/) for the public domain, and retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot (see note on that page regarding source of images)., PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=172997The World is the twenty second card in the Tarot Deck. It is given the number 21 because the very first card (The Fool) is given the number 0.