The World (XXI) is a trump or Major Arcana card in the tarot deck. It is usually the final card of the Major Arcana or tarot trump sequence.
The World is an all around good Tarot card receive whether you’ve seen it appear in your love, relationship or business reading. It predicts happy outcomes and a positive future. The World is the card of completion meaning you’re at the end of one life stage, ready to start another.
“In front of the throne, there was something like a sea of glass as clear as crystal. In the center near the throne and around the throne were four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like a young bull, the third had a face like a human, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and were covered with eyes, inside and out. Without stopping day or night they were singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming.”
This is how The Book of Revelation describes the Throne of God and the representation is not so different from the one of The World, the XXIth and final card of the Major Arcana.
The main difference that we can notice immediately is the figure at the center of the garland of leaves and roses: a naked woman dancing and holding a (or two, it depends on the deck) wand. This figure, like the christian God, is the center of the universe because she gains and controls the life force of the four elements. Her position means power but also harmony, if we think that her dance irradiates a clear light of knowledge.
The four elements preside over the eternal circuit of death and regeneration, this is the reason why they are represented in the corners of the card.
Each element has the symbol of one of the four Evangelists (known as Tetramorph): on from the left corner of the card we can see the ox (Saint Luke) symbolizes the Earth, a passive element only at first sight; le lion (Saint Mark), like the Fire, dries up the ground but it’s necessary for the maturation of the cereals in summer; the right corner shows the eagle (Saint John) standing for the Air and the angel (Saint Matthew) for the Water.
Astronomically, the angel is the opposite of the lion for the reason that he’s the Aquarius and the man of The Temperance (XIV), he has the power of gathering waters in the sky and leaving them through fertilizing rain.
Understanding the circle of the elements is the first step for elevating ourselves from the dependance of the material world and reaching the truth of the Spirit. Consequently, we interpret this card as the culmination of a project of a great deal of work, self-realisation, a successful integration for men as part of a collectivity.
If you are interested in the tarot world, click here and check out our previous article about The Pope and The Popess!
Illustrations by Olivia M Healy