The World (XXI) Upright

(Card Descriptions Based On Original Rider-Waite Colors – Still Under US Games Inc. Copyright)



(To Follow)

Astrological Association – Saturn – Planet of Lessons, Teaching and Responsibilities

And so we come to the final card of the Major Arcana and the last card of the Tarot Deck. It has been a tough, long journey through the Major Arcana and one would feel almost exhausted for the figure in Card XXI.  In fact,  exhausted is the last thing she looks as she appears vibrant, energised and happy. In the World Card we experience the culmination of The Fool’s Journey. The World is where The Fool has arrived at after experiencing all that life had either given or thrown at him. The Fool has survived the Journey and is sure to be feeling proud as punch with himself.

The Fool has taken the knocks and accepted them for just what they were, knocks, sent to test his inner-strength and resourcefulness. He has taken the time to stand still and appreciate his many blessings in life and what is of true value to him. He has taken responsibility for his life and through self-examination has become aware of imbalances and his shadow-side. He has heeded the advice of wise ones and learned to detach himself from the  negative influences of others. Instead of giving up and falling to pieces when times were hard, he picked himself up, dusted himself down and moved forward with the understanding that whatever didn’t break him would ultimately strengthen him.

The figure in The World Card, (representing The Mature Fool) has done just that and has earned her place on The Winners Podium.  Success is now hers. Because she learned the Vital Lessons of Life along the way and achieved the ultimate challenge of finding a balance of the Four Elements, the success she has earned will be long-term. She now knows the vital ingredients needed to survive. She learned all this not from a book but from the direct experience of living.  She has participated in life by being involved, proactive, eager, fearless and curious.  She has kept her mind open to more than one way of approaching every situation she encountered.  She learned from others and her environment but arrived at her own conclusions rather than just follow the mob.  She became self-sufficient and responsible.  She could have gone through life as a passenger, looking out the window at everyone else living their lives, wishing and dreaming that she could have what they had but she chose to get up and go get it herself. She could have let herself be controlled by others and lived her life according to their rules, mindsets and beliefs but she had her own plans and own ideas. We must now stand and congratulate  The Figure in The World Card, for in completing her Journey and ascending the Winner’s Podium, she has in fact graduated from The School Of Life. 

In The World Card, a woman stands in the centre of a large Laurel Wreath. The woman is naked except for a flowing sash which swirls around her body.  She holds two wands loosely in her hands. The woman appears to be in motion, as if in dance. The sky is clear blue in the background and in each corner we find the Four Symbolic Figures from The Wheel of Fortune. These Figures represent the Four Elements; Air, Water, Earth and Fire. In The Wheel of Fortune, these Figures were depicted in black and white.  In The World card they are depicted in colour suggesting that The Woman (or Fool) has learned the Lessons of each Elemental approach to life and has managed to incorporate them into her life. She is now in perfect balance and harmony and is ruled not by any one in particular.  The Woman understands that to find fulfillment, and to make each Element work for her in her life, they must learn to live together equally. It is only then that she has access to the best that each Element has to offer her.  Each Element has special gifts and each Element can beautifully complement each other.  By co-operating and complementing each other they negate any excesses that may threaten to disturb her equilibrium. By applying the Approach and Lessons of each Element in moderation to her journey in life, she has achieved her Goal of Lasting Success.

She now has access to the secrets of the Universe and is privy to the wisdom contained in The High Priestess’s Torah. The clouds around the Four Elements are representations of Spirit. This reminds The Woman of her spiritual connection to everything in the Universe and beyond.  She is not alone in her triumph for there is no success for one without success for all.  She is aware of her contributions to the Pool of The Collective Unconscious. She is aware that as a result of all the trials and triumphs throughout her journey others may now benefit from her vast experience. She has a clear understanding of her place  in the Universe. She fully understands who she is and how life works.

The Laurel Wreath symbolises her success and achievements. Notice the figure of eight ribbons at the top and bottom of the wreath. These infinity symbols suggest an awareness that there is no beginning or end, and that like The World itself, life is continuously moving and rotating. This leads to her understanding that although this particular journey may be over for her right now, more will come to follow. Life is constantly renewing itself and the Universe will not permit stagnation for that will lead to decay. The apparent movement of The Woman’s body within the Laurel Wreath suggests this very understanding.  She may have achieved her goals, found fulfillment and inner-happiness but there are many more goals to achieve and other mountains to climb. If she were to stand still she would die and for her death is not an option.  She only believes in rebirth and renewal.  Death is but an illusion.

 She holds her Wands loosely which is very symbolic.  In order for her to make Magic and access the energy from these Wands, it is not the ritual itself or the Power contained within the Wands that create results. The Magic lies in the Intention behind the Ritual. She is Mistress and High Priestess of her Own World and needs no Magical Tools to achieve her aims for the Power and Magic lie within her as she happily continues The Dance of Life.

The World card brings long-term success and great inner-happiness. It offers a wonderful sense of personal fulfillment and achievement.  It also brings a realisation that although success can come and go throughout life, true lasting, longterm success can only be found within.  When we are happy with who we are and believe in our abilities and strengths we can survive anything. The World Card guarantees success in both your inner and outer world. True happiness first comes from within.


When The World appears in a reading it augurs well for lasting success. If The World appears in the Answer Position in a reading it is a very positive card, so it is a ‘yes’. It can signal you finally achieving your goals.  All that you have strived for, all that have dreamed of is now yours and you can feel damn proud of yourself. However, now that you have achieved success, you must not stop for there is so much more to strive for.  This is just the beginning and there are many more wonderful journines ahead of you.

There may be the successful completion of a project or the successful outcome of a situation.  The World reminds you it is only by finding inner-balance and harmony that success will be yours.   Inner-happiness and a healthy self-image accompany The World Card in a reading. The Woman in The World card looks relaxed and content with her body and her nakedness.  She is comfortable in her own skin as she knows that beauty comes from within. Success is ongoing as the figure in the card is in constant motion.

The World often appears in a reading to symbolise the receiving of an award, promotion or accolade.  It is for certain that you are the centre of attention and praise at the moment. You may be graduating from school or college, gained a well-earned promotion in work or come first in a hard-fought competition. You have beaten the odds and deserve all the praise and applause.  You have won and others who witnessed all the effort and time you put in are so happy for you. You may be experiencing a touch of fame or possibly gaining world recognition for your talents or achievements.  Everyone wants to see and hear you.  People may be putting you on a pedestal or using you as a role model.  Others may look to you for inspiration and ideas.  If you can do it, may be they can too.  It is Oscar Night at The Academy Awards Ceremony or the Finals of X-Factor.   It is time to take The World by Storm.  The World is your Oyster

When The World appears it is time to take your place in the World or to create your own World.  You have all the knowledge and experience you need to succeed.  You may feel content in your World and are surrounded by good friends and family you can trust and rely on. This is not by chance but rather from you putting the effort in to facilitate such an environment.   When The World appears you feel protected from all the negativity in the outside world.  Nothing can get through the thick walls of the Laurel Wreath around you.  Your World is a nice place to be.  You may be buying some land or property in order to build your own World and have very set ideas of what you are looking for based on long-term dreams and planning.

The World card is a wonderful card for travel and can literally mean travel around the world or connections with various places on the globe.  Maybe it is time to step out of your own World and experience more of The Outside World for there is a lot to see.

In relationships, it can suggest a partner met while travelling or a partner from another part of the world. The relationship suggested by The World Card is mature, balanced, dynamic and extremely successful.  The couple in this relationship are extremely compatible. This relationship is bound to be long-lasting and happy

In a career related issue, travel in connection with career or working in another country is often suggested.  The World Card brings great success and achievement in your career. If in business you may be thinking globally or expanding internationally. You may be involved with International Relations or World Leaders. Humanitarian or Environmental issues may be suggested as The World card represents earth itself.

Dance,movement and all round good health are represented by The World.

Now Go To The World Reversed

Back to Lesson 8

The Fool Upright  The Fool Reversed

The Magician Upright  The Magician Reversed

The High Priestess Upright   The High Priestess Reversed

The Empress Upright   The Empress Reversed

The Emperor Upright    The Emperor Reversed

The Heirophant Upright    The Heirophant Reversed

The Lovers Upright     The Lovers Reversed

The Chariot Upright   The Chariot Reversed

Strength Upright     Strength Reversed

The Hermit Upright   The Hermit Reversed

The Wheel of Fortune Upright   The Wheel of Fortune Reversed

Justice Upright   Justice Reversed

The Hanged Man Upright   The Hanged Man Reversed

Death Upright     Death Reversed

Temperence Upright     Temperence Reversed

The Devil Upright   The Devil Reversed

The Tower Upright     The Tower Reversed

The Star Upright     The Star Reversed

The Moon Upright    The Moon Reversed

The Sun Upright     The Sun Reversed

Judgement Upright      Judgement Reversed

The World Upright     The World Reversed

Lesson 1   Lesson 2   Lesson 3  Lesson 4  Lesson 5  Lesson 6  Lesson 7


9 replies »

    • Your descriptions have forever been my favorite for a detailed look at each card. When I do readings for myself, I always come here to read your site! I feel like you really explain every aspect of symbolism in the cards very well and how this is manifested into reality. Thank you for your work! Much love to you ❤


      • Hi,

        Thank you for your wonderful message and support. I am glad you are getting so much out of my work. There is a lot more to follow so hope you keep coming back for more.



  1. Your interpretations are the BEST on the web! This is the first place I go when I want to know the ‘true’ meaning of a card. Please keep up this amazing work. You have a fan for life : – )


  2. Thank you for the wonderful interpretations!
    I have a question, when I look the figure on the hanged man and this of the world figure they look opposite to each other. One seems to surrender of material things and allowed it to let go, does this mean to the world figure that she still finds attachment with the material world and she’s not ready to surrender and let go. Also if you look to their number they’re opposite to each other one 12 and the other is 21

    Will appreciate for your answers.



    • Hi Charles,

      Here are a couple of my theories.

      In the Hanged Man we find Spiritual growth, the Spiritual state. The Fool is a spiritual being experiencing a physical existence. He must be able to integrate his spiritual knowledge into his physical being if he is to successfully evolve (The World). The Fool needs to find balance. In The Hanged Man, he is tied up, concentrating only on the spiritual. He cannot stay there forever. What knowledge he gains must be translated into his physical world. He must also apply his spiritual understanding when learning the ways of the Four Elements. In The World, mastery is achieved and the Fool experiences true freedom both within and without. He eventually understands the meaning of life. He cannot forsake his spiritual side for the physical and vice versa. In 12 we have 3 when reduced.1 is the spiritual or physical aspiring to unite in the 2. Work is being done to acquire integration. Progress is made, but it is not until 21 that it is successfully achieved. Until then The Fool can swing from one to the other. 21 gives us 3 but see how the number 2 comes first. 2 integrates the spiritual and physical to create 1. Perfect synergy.

      I hope the above makes some sense for you.



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