Upright, the World tarot card is the Major Arcana that represents integration, accomplishments and travel – it is a card of destiny made manifest and spiritual evolution; reversed this card shows a soul still in need of growth, seeking closure, short-cuts through life and the inevitable delays that come when you try to cheat destiny.
On its face the World (tarot card) has a woman wrapped in a cloth of royalty’s purple. She is dancing, her eyes on the past as she moves into the future, framed in a circular laurel wreath. In her hands she holds two batons that are very similar to those held by the magician. This woman represents the self, the batons symbolize that which the Magician manifested and the World has now completed. Tasks thus completed, the self moves through the cycle (represented by the circle of laurels) into a new beginning dancing to the timeless rhythm of the universe.
In the corners of the tarot the World, there are four figures that may look familiar if you’ve seen the Wheel of Fortune tarot card: the bull, the lion, the cherub, and the eagle. These four figures represent Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio, the four fixed zodiac signs. Each symbolizes a different element, point on the compass, season and corner of the universe and symbolize universal guidance from one phase of life to the next to keep you in balance and harmony.
When the World tarot is upright its meaning is one of wholeness and fulfillment. You have completed, or are close to completing, a phase of life. Things have come full circle for you and it is time to move on filled with a sense of peace, a feeling of closure and achievement. The World card encourages you to look back, like the figure on the face, and reflect on the journey through this part of your life. Rejoice in your achievements and meditate on the spiritual lessons you were taught; these things will help you in the next cycle, evolving your soul and spirit so that you can grow the way the universe desires all of us to grow.
If you’re not quite at the end of the phase this card calls you to wrap up loose ends, pour all your energy into completion and get to the end. If you’re struggling to figure out how to get from where you are to the end goal, it’s a reminder to meditate on where you have been and this will help to guide you to the knowledge you need to move on.
Reversed, the World tarot meaning suggests that there are things from your past that are holding you back and preventing you from going forward even though you would like to. This card is the encouragement you’ve been waiting for to let go of the past: accept that the past is the past. It cannot be changed. You can only go forward. Find your way to closure, accept that the past is gone so that you can move forward into the future. This card is also a caution against doing things the ‘easy way’. There are lessons we must learn as we work through our struggles. Sure, you could take a helicopter to the mountaintop but then you would lose all the lessons, knowledge and strength that you gain when you climb from the bottom up. Pain and past are a part of life; accept this, accept the gifts they give you, and go forward.