Do you feel fulfilled? Have you completed a grand project exactly as you had planned? Are you reaping the benefits from your labor and beginning to live your dreams? Do you feel in control of a relationship that is mutually beneficial to the both of you? Has that joining together created wholeness in your life that you longed for? If these and other feelings of involvement and completion dominate your life, expect to see the highest numbered Tarot card of them all appear in your reading: The World.
Floating in the center of a blue sky is a nude woman, wrapped in a scarf that covers her pelvis and flaps behind her shoulders and below her feet. She holds a baton in each hand and has her hair braided tight and bejeweled. A luscious laurel wreath crown surrounds her, its green leaves wrapped at the top and bottom by a red cloth band. In each of the four corners of the card is a portrait. A man in the upper left looks in profile over at an eagle that returns the gaze. In the lower left a bull and across from him is a lion, both staring your way. Each of these is illustrated with a billowy light-colored cloud as their backing.
The woman is dancing in the abandonment of complete victory, surrounded by a victor’s crown. The wreath is the equivalent of a trophy: in ancient times, chariot race winners would be crowned with the laurel. The lack of any solid ground on a card called “The World” might seem ironic, but the illustration depicts the feeling that you get when you have conquered your world. The four faces in the clouds represent the fixed signs of the zodiac (Aquarius the Water-bearer in the upper left, Scorpio’s higher status as an eagle in the upper right, the Taurus bull in the lower left and the Leo lion in the lower right) and relate to similar depictions on the Wheel of Fortune card. But whereas they are depicted as golden statues on that card, here they are made much more personal with distinct, lifelike portraits. From an illustration of random chance that the Wheel of Fortune foretells, The World card confirms that the highest achievements are being met.
Meaning in Past, Present and Future Positions
Each Tarot reading assigns a position to every card that is dealt. The card lands in an area designated as representing your past, your present or your future. A card’s meaning might subtly change depending on where it lands in your reading.
When The World card is in the past position of your Tarot reading, the foundation of your current situation stems from having accomplished something great earlier on. Perhaps this was marriage or a job promotion. You may have served your community well to the point that everyone now takes pride in what you contributed. Regardless of whether this peak accomplishment happened long ago in your childhood or just last week, there are two important things to take from the card landing here: The foundation upon which you currently stand is deeply rooted in this past sense of completion and … the moment of fulfillment has definitely passed and you are wise to no longer live in the past.
In the present position, this card is a powerful affirmation of a climax upon which you are treading. To dream is a natural state in all humans, but to live your dreams and see them manifest is actually not an ordinary state in which to exist. No matter how much you are getting what you have always wanted, there could be lots of anxiety in your life because this situation is so abnormal. To always want and then to get what you want puts you in unfamiliar territory. The reassuring nature of this card in this position should underscore that you should be careful not to sabotage your recent gains out of anxiety. Stress occurs when the happiness caused by this state of contributing to the world with the best talents you have suddenly seems so new to you.
In the future position, this is the card that insists you must keep your dreams alive. You may be questioning your own ability to put all of the energy necessary into your dream. The World card landing in the future position of your Tarot reading is a green light from the universe to race forward with confidence in the beauty and value of what you have to offer the rest of us.
Every Tarot reading is based on a grouping of cards. A reading is not comprised of analyzing each card individually. The presence of other cards in the reading influences the energy that a specific card has. The Tarot reader puts these subtle shifts in meaning together for you.
The World, card number twenty-one in the Tarot deck, is one of three Tarot cards with the number one in it. The Magician is card number one and the Justice card is number eleven. Having either of these two cards appear in a reading with The World makes for a powerful release of energy. With The Magician, you are able to get others to buy into your vision of the way the world should be. With Justice, the way the world works manages to work out for you in a spectacular fashion.
The four Aces of the Tarot deck are also considered to be a lower echo of the energy possessed in the cards of the Major Arcana bearing a one. If the Ace of Wands shows up in a reading with The World, a creative solution unlocks a long-held dream. If it is the Ace of Cups, you will be given a new level of emotional satisfaction. If the Ace of Swords appears, you are convincing and your words will carry weight with the right people. If the Ace of Pentacles combines in your reading with The World, money solutions are imminent.
Because the Tarot is considered cyclical, the fact that The World card is numbered twenty-one and no card is numbered any higher does not give this card any rank over other cards. The Fool is numbered zero and is considered to follow The World in the ongoing cycle. If The Fool is in a reading with The World, you are on the right path to total control and total freedom.