XXI - The World

XXI - The World - Tarot Card from the Rider-Waite Deck

The final card of the Major Arcana, the World represents completion and totality, the ending of all endings and beginning of all beginnings. As one journey ends and a new one begins, we let go of all that has been achieved and embrace our newfound power and the evolution of the spirit.

In the upright state the World is a sign that you have done all you are expected to do, and that you are now ready to move on and embrace a new journey. The World represents closure, and progress, letting go of our burdens and moving forward.

In the inverted state the World represents that which is missing, imperfect and incomplete. The inverted World calls upon us to embrace serenity and accept what we cannot change, to let go and accept a new life in its absence. For us to be able to move forward and begin a new life we must let go of everything we associate with the old one.

In the Rider-Waite deck femininity is depicted contained within an evergreen wreath representing infinity and the perpetuity of everlasting life. The woman depicted holds in her hands two crystal wands, those wands mirror that held by the Magician, the duality represents the balance of the four domains achieved in our own life, and the legacy we pass on to the next generation.

Echoing the Wheel of Fortune card, around the wreath once more there can be found a tetramorph in the form of four white clouds upon which sit an angel, an eagle, an ox, and a lion, signifying the four heralds of the Book of Revelation and the Book of Ezekiel representing the authors of the gospels, Matthew, John, Luke, and Mark respectively, no longer reading their gospels their focus and attention has shifted.

Matthew and John look to one another in repose representing the element of humanity, and ascension of Christ respectively, their purpose has been served hence their gaze turns to one another.

Luke and Mark however look outward toward the reader in judgement of you, representing service and the resurrection respectively their focus is a reminder that whilst the card depicts our fate, we the reader still inhabit the Earthly plane and are bound within it. Above the lion’s head representing Mark and the resurrection can be seen the Rod of Aaron one final time, representing the immortality of Christ.

In most interpretations The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, the achievement of the Fool who has completed their journey through life and learned the lessons it has to teach. In some interpretations the Fool comes after the World in this case this card can be used to recognise the boundaries or the limits of what you have achieved.

In self-reflection The World best serves as a prompt to ask what opportunity lies beyond the ultimate goal or what the final outcome of any transient situation should be. The World represents and objective depiction of totality and entirety but the World exists within an infinite Universe that expands beyond it. It can be difficult to conceptualise this in the moment when you find yourself in overwhelming situations, so it is better reposed as a question of destination, when you pass through all that you face now, where will you end up at the end of that journey and what lies beyond?

Where Death represents transition and transformation with a focus on what will change when our struggles pass, the World instead emphasises a focus on recognising what potential will still exist even when that destination is reached, to understand what can be achieved and recognise the journey beyond that opens up as a result.

Ask yourself “What will this enable me to do?” or “Where can I go from here?” or “What happens after that?”

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