The World rings in at number twenty-one in the Major Arcana, preceded by the intensity of Judgement. The journey has been marked by foolish beginnings, calls to action, chaos, healing, uncertainty, and growth. Now we stand at the end, looking down upon all of our worldly achievements and struggles.
A naked woman dances, surrounded by a laurel wreath, an honor awarded to the classic poets and scholars, its circular shape representing cycles and wholeness. The garland is tied with two red ribbons that form infinity symbols.
The vulnerability of the cosmic dancer’s skin is draped in purple cloth, a symbol of royalty, wisdom, and divinity.
She looks over her shoulder at the past, the wands in her hands reminding us of the Magician. The manifestations he once promised us are finally coming to fruition as we are now ready to receive the rewards of the Great Work.
In this sense, the World is the embodiment of success, skill mastery, closure, natural perfection, and completion: the realization of everything we have ever dreamt of.
Like the Hindu god Shiva, the woman (who is sometimes considered an androgynous figure, the two opposites united) performs the cosmic dance, perpetually moving and overflowing with energy and perfect unity.
A new world is created with her every move and a final hint is suggested: the only observable divinity is within — nature perceives God in itself. The ellipse around her forms an egg, symbolic of the soul but also resembling the number zero. Look how the symbols come to life in emptiness and infinity simultaneously!
A lion, bull, cherub, and eagle surround her, reminding us of The Wheel Of Fortune that once graced us with the constant ups and downs of life.
These animals serve as our guides as we finish one journey and begin another, bringing to mind the balance of the four elements, the four cardinal directions, the four corners of the universe, and the four fixed signs of the zodiac — Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio.
But the symbolism of the four divine watchers in the clouds doesn’t stop there.
In psychological terms, they represent the four functions of the self (feeling, thinking, intuition, and sensation). Now that the unconscious has stepped into the light, it is being integrated and becoming conscious, crystallizing the quaternity in the center of the personality.
In religious iconography, the depiction of these celestial beings (hayyoth in Jewish), often portrayed as winged cherubim, is called a tetramorph. As we’ve mentioned in the Wheel, they represent the four evangelists, but their origins are more ancient than Christianity.
The four creatures are also the guardians of the keys to the Minor Arcana, the final purified incarnations of the Tarot’s archetypal energies:
- The cherub or human being represents the suit of Cups — love, sensitivity, memory, giving, and the invisible but heartfelt realm of emotions.
- The bull betokens the suit of Pentacles — the body and the material world, but also sacrifice, work, and money.
- The eagle handles the Swords — reason, the written and spoken word, the mental dimension of abstract thought, and the genius of a sharp and flexible intellect.
- The lion reigns over the suit of Wands — libido, instinct, creative energy, heroism, desire, and the power of will.
The World denotes mastery over these quadrants. We can surmise that the dancing lady of the card, as a complete individual, has immediate access to all archetypal personality features.
Her mind is sharp and quick; she is sensitive in love, aware and self-conscious, independent and steadfast in important real-life decisions, brave and powerful in the face of adversity, and also in control of her creative and sexual energies.
The Fool, who could essentially be any one of us, having met with all the symbols of the Major Arcana and faced all the challenges along the road of initiation, reaches the final stage of his journey and arrives at a remarkable milestone, a worthy destination, the amazing feeling when we look at all we have accomplished and see that it is truly good!
The World’s culmination had been foretold by the Wheel. Everything once in potential now manifests and takes on its final flawless form. With this restoration of the primeval purity of existence, we realize that the center of the cosmos is everywhere, and we belong to it just as it belongs to us.
A gateway of ultimate liberation and mirror of the soul, the beating heart of the Tarot cycle, the World sings of a life worth living and worth fighting for.
Its beauty and its secrets are always waiting for you. It encourages one to embrace a supreme state of being that springs from within, the tangible and immaculate truth unveiled by the Star and now elevated to perfection, a simplicity that immediately transforms the whole wide world when attained!
But even that is not the end of our journey — after all, the cycle never ends.
In this comprehensive guide to The World Tarot card, we seek to reflect upon the story of The Major Arcana and explore what comes at the conclusion of an adventure.
Table of Contents
What does The World Tarot card mean?
The World appears when you are standing at the end of something, a journey or project, and are filled with a satisfying sense of wholeness. You have come full circle and it is time to revel in the closure that you feel.
The successes of the world can take many forms, perhaps you’ve reached a goal in your workouts, mastered a new skill, or overcome an old fear. If you haven’t reached a milestone yet, then one is certainly on the horizon! No journey is too small to be honored by The World.
The World asks us to look at our achievements holistically. How did you come to stand here? What did you learn along the way? Most importantly, The World asks “What next?”
Life progresses in cycles. When one journey comes to an end, we must use our joy and confidence to propel us into our next journey. Wear your accomplishments proudly! While it may be tempting to stay at this high, we must remember that we cannot be masters of everything.
While we may be worldly and wise regarding one matter, we are always The Fool in another. Even the most knowledgeable and talented people you know are naive in some areas! The World encourages you to chase your next adventure and stay hungry for the experience you’ve gained along the way.
The World is also known to point to physical travel. When in foreign settings, we must be sure to honor all that is around us and seek to learn as much as we can so that we may carry that knowledge with us wherever we go next.
The World Card Keywords:
- Sense of Belonging
What does The World card Mean when Reversed?
While The Upright World feeds on our accomplishment and perseverance, The Reversed World questions the nature of our journey.
In the reversed position, The World cites goals that do not serve us. It is time to let go and move into a future of acceptance and new possibilities. Furthermore, and especially when the card appears at the beginning of a reading, it denotes a sense of confinement, repetition, and feeling stuck.
We all have at least one nagging thing in the back of our minds that begs for closure. Maybe it’s an old ex or an unpleasant memory or an issue regarding body image. These personal journeys may stretch on and on endlessly, leaving us feeling frustrated and unmotivated.
This stagnation is a sign that The Reversed World calls our attention to.
Delays in progress often come from attempting to take shortcuts through matters that require a daunting amount of patience and energy. The Reversed World presents us with a choice: Either buckle in and see these difficult matters through to the end or release them.
You may be working on something you can’t change and could be spending your energies bettering yourself instead.
The Reversed World is a call to attention. There are endings in sight, but we must judge if they are worth our strength or if we are taking the necessary steps to get there. There is no shame in admitting misdirection.
This card is a warning that our journeys are not easy and will require a great amount of work. Now is the time to weigh the goal and decide if it is worth it.
The World Card Reversed Keywords:
- Failed Plans
- Personal Closure
- Lost Focus
- Failed Plans
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What does the World Mean As How Someone (He/She) Sees You
When others see us through the lens of The World, it is bittersweet.
They look upon you with pride for your accomplishments but realize that they have no more to teach you. You are a role model to those around you for your successes and their perception of you may be in a state of transformation as you prove your competence.
Many may see you as a bit out of reach. There’s always one person that we think is “too cool” for us or “out of our league.” There’s a chance that you may fall into this category for them. Your wisdom and skill may be a bit intimidating yet still revered.
You are seen as someone who has no more to gain from another person. You are self-sufficient and independent. There are many who aspire to be like you. It may be your turn to take on the role of a master or teacher for others so that you may share the knowledge you have collected.
What Does The World Reverse Mean As How Someone (He/She) Sees You
In it’s reversed position, The World points to others seeing you as incomplete. There is a lack of stability that surrounds you and it seems as if you are a bit directionless. This could turn you into a cautionary tale of sorts for those around you who are looking for success.
Reversed, the World proposes that others perceive you as someone who struggles with a lack of commitment and indecision. You are unsure of how to proceed forward with plans, taking on board new projects without finishing the old ones.
You seem to be hung up in past situations, never resolving past debts or fears.
With the World card upright signifying a conclusion, a World reversed indicates that something has never left you. Perhaps some sort of situation has never ended, not because it is currently ongoing, but only because you have never left the past.
Others see you as someone who cannot fully be in the present moment, yet suspended in a time that is neither past nor future. You may yearn for past people or situations that have already passed, preventing true happiness or passion in the present.
In the present, you struggle with finding the motivation to commit to one thing fully, jumping around, being unreliable in your promises, and neglecting duties.
And there seems to be no potential for you in the future, where true completeness only resides in your ability to let go of your fears and show your grit and dedication.
If this card makes a reversed appearance when inquiring about others’ perceptions of you, though, do not despair. It simply means that there is plenty of room for you to share your talents and gifts with the world.
Do not be afraid to open yourself to the teachings of those that surround you and take courage in the present process.
What does The World mean in Love?
The World is a sign that things are about to get serious. The right path has been followed and everything is coming together. Your journey has led you to a milestone and The Universe is applauding the strength of your relationship.
Love is a difficult but beautiful road to travel, and The World asks you to draw upon the positive and beautiful things that come with love to fuel you in the final sprint to your next major milestone.
For one seeking a partner, a first date or the beginning of a relationship may be on the horizon. An existing couple might be looking towards moving in together, getting married, or having a baby.
The World promises satisfaction and is a sign of proper preparation. Many of these big events like marriages and new relationships tower over us and can fill us with a sense of anxiety.
This card says that you are prepared to take on these big steps. Everything you’ve experienced with this person thus far has left you with the tools to continue forward.
What does The World Reversed mean in Love?
When reversed, The World points to stagnation in a relationship. Things are getting repetitive and the spark to move forward is fading. An integral step in getting to know one another or communicating may have been overlooked.
The World Card reversed speaks of an unfulfilling romantic relationship. It feels as though something more is needed to make this connection thrive and to reawaken a passion that has faded. Ultimately it is your choice to leave or stay, but it’s time for some change to push the relationship forwards.
The World Reversed makes one thing very clear in love: Don’t settle! Seek new and better heights in love whenever possible.
Life is a series of cycles, much like the turning of The Wheel of Fortune. Now is the time to find new ways to keep it moving.
Another very similar interpretation of this reversed cycle is that there has been a break in the continuation of a relationship or love interest.
There is no more chance of renewal in this connection, as it was not meant to endure another revival. It has ended, and it is time for you to start anew.
What does The World mean in Friendship?
When we ask The World to guide us in matters of friendship, it speaks to the cyclical nature of our relationship. You are about to try something new hand in hand. No matter what state your friendship is in, The World puts anxieties to rest, confirming your need for one another in your lives.
Trends and fads come and go, but your friendship is meant to last.
Don’t be afraid to partake in these trends as you may discover a new activity that you and a friend enjoy. Give yourself to whatever you choose to do but remember to move hand in hand. Your energies are in line and you will be stronger together.
Much like the tides that make up seventy percent of our world, friendships have their ups, downs, ebbs, and flows. If you are feeling worried about the state of your friendship or ensure that it has the strength to last, The World asks you to hold fast to this friend.
You are about to come to a high point in your cycle together that will strengthen your bond and make it clear just how much you need one another.
What does The World Reverse Mean in Friendship?
In its reversed position, The World points to a plateau in your bond with a friend. It may seem as if they’ve outgrown you or you are unable to keep up.
In matters of friendship, the World reverse casts an uncertainty upon your friendship. You are unsure of where to take this friendship in the future. This may not be a friendship that was built upon solid trust and support, and it may be time to break that cycle of toxicity or negativity that has been established.
Remember that in relationships, we cannot take shortcuts. We must learn to understand and accept the various aspects of the people we surround ourselves with. Ignoring one thing or another makes it difficult for cycles to progress.
Friendships have multiple cycles, and unpredictable ones too.
A friendship may sit still for years until it suddenly intensifies and grows stronger, or it may remain close for a few years and distant from others. The World Reversed advises us to simply let friendships ebb and flow as they are meant to, instead of forcing a friendship that is not necessarily beneficial.
This can also indicate a break in the friendship, such as when an argument has occurred, and you see no hope for the future of the relationship.
This card reversed may also note that a friendship is not worth saving. You might be fighting a losing battle in the name of someone who will not help you to grow.
It is time to accept that you deserve better and release them. Always seek to move forward.
What does The World mean in Career?
Your days of fetching coffee for the higher-ups are coming to an end when The World makes an appearance in your career reading.
The World symbolizes career goals being met. All of your hard work, uncertainty, and stress will be worth it. You are about to come into a leadership role of some kind. Don’t forget to be open to what those below you may have to teach you, though.
This might not mean you are going to become the CEO of your company overnight. Your competence will be recognized, though, and those around you find you reliable and skilled. A goal could be met and praise is coming your way.
If you are feeling stuck in your current position, The World says that the climate to break away and become your own boss is right. You must be the master of your own life, and this card gives you the go-ahead to do so. You have the necessary skills and expertise to do so.
So often we are discouraged from chasing after the careers we truly want and are advised to play it safe. The World rejects this idea and encourages you to be bold and take what it is you genuinely want. Let your mastery shine and your confidence propel you.
Don’t be afraid to enter a world in which you have much to learn.
What does The World Reversed mean in Career?
The World Reversed recognizes all your worries and disappointments in not achieving what you had hoped for. It picks up on your energies of doubt when you are questioning how you can possibly attain the career path you desire.
Inaction and worry go hand in hand, so it’s time to finish off at an unfulfilling position.
You may feel upset that you have not received the satisfaction that you’ve been wanting. You may currently see no way forward to reach the career goal that you have set. The key is to check in with your inner self and set boundaries with yourself.
Does this career fulfill you right now? With the World reversed, the answer is likely no. It encourages you to seek the best for yourself. Confront your situation now, and work to change it.
Reversed, The World shows that you may be feeling stuck. There is only one way out of this stagnation, and it is to hunker down and do your job to the very best of your ability— no matter how mundane or not ideal it may be. You are going to have to prove yourself in order to earn mobility.
There is no room for slacking or cutting corners. Even the jobs we don’t want to do deserve our full attention in order to lead us to the positions we desire.
The hard work will pay off; it is your decision now if you prefer to move aside the shortcuts and get to work, or if you prefer to simply leave the situation and start anew.
This card also cautions against the latter, but it is important to note that all paths will lead you through the same lessons. Just be sure to not become stuck within a cycle of giving up, leaving, and starting, with no real long-term commitment.
What does The World mean in Conflict?
The World denotes a conflict that you are above. The wisdom you bring to the table is illuminating, but it falls on deaf ears. It is best to move forward from this situation and not allow it to waste your time and energy.
Sometimes there’s just no way to change someone’s mind. Conflicts like these can feel like shouting at a brick wall. This battle is not worth your focus and it is time to respectfully back away.
You have followed along the path to gain the wisdom and knowledge that you carry with you. You may be opposed by someone who is not willing to honor your experiences and learn from what it is you have to say. This is a fight that will do nothing but keep you from progressing
Think of how the woman in the Rider-Waite deck’s imagery floats above the world. Let this depiction guide you as you rise above petty conflicts that do not serve you. Keep your head held high, this is a battle that is below you.
What does The World Reverse Mean in Conflict?
If you come face to face with The Reversed World when inquiring about conflict, it is time to reconsider your position in the disagreement.
The World reversed indicates some sort of misunderstanding or communication barrier. Being stubborn and rushing forth in this argument is not the best path of action; it will lead nowhere and you won’t succeed.
You are not considering all sides of the situation, and perhaps are missing some crucial information.
Be sure to take into account the wisdom that your opponent has and note the wisdom that you may be lacking. There is something to learn from this fight. Do not let your stubbornness blind you.
Focus more on learning and progressing than the elusive notion of being right. There is no shame in admitting defeat or changing your perspective.
In fact, actions such as these will prove your maturity and heighten your status in the eyes of others.
The World Tarot Card as What Someone Thinks of You
When someone’s thoughts of you are reflected by the World card, they are satisfied with everything you’ve done and they are proud of you. Or they might admire your achievements and think of you as someone to look up to.
In a relationship, they either think of you as the perfect partner or are thinking of moving on.
The World card represents a multifaceted, highly talented individual. This person clearly holds a lot of respect for you and supports your knowledge or work.
Sometimes this card can indicate that this person knows you well—they’ve gone through cycles of friendship with you and have sought to get to know each part of you as your relationship has developed.
All in all, they think of you as a person who is wise, good at what you do, and perhaps even well-known by the people around you. In their opinion, you are well-versed in many things, such as languages, culture, or skills, and remain open-minded to different human experiences.
If they were some sort of mentor or teacher figure to you, maybe they feel that they have things to learn from you as well, now that you have reached your goals and gained independence.
In a relationship, the World card could symbolize the closing of this chapter in your life. Your significant other could think of you as the person who they’ve always wanted to be with. You are the one who gives them fulfillment.
They could be considering ending a cycle of friendship and beginning a relationship, or even deeper levels of commitment.
However, the World card can also sometimes mean the ending of a relationship. Maybe they think that you have given them enough and are satisfied with the wisdom they’ve gained. Surrounding cards will often hint at which scenario they are currently thinking of.
The World Tarot Card Reversed as What Someone Thinks of You
Does the person not seem completely satisfied with your work efforts or how you are as a significant other? When the World comes up reversed, the other person only thinks of you from one external perspective.
They do not think very deeply or highly of you, perhaps because they do not know you well enough.
This person of inquiry thinks of you in a very one-dimensional manner, perhaps judging you before fully realizing who you are as a person. The cards could be expressing that they have created assumptions about you and tend to look past your success, as well as your perseverance and skill.
In some situations, it is not entirely the fault of this person alone. You may have also been afraid to show enough of your potential to them. Either way, they think that you are lacking in some areas in which they held some higher expectations. It is up to you to work on these expectations or show them otherwise.
As another interpretation, this person could be unsure of who you are as a person. The World reversed shows that there is a part of you that the person themselves has not seen yet. Their understanding of you is incomplete, and they may want to get to know you more.
In a relationship, your partner could think of you as someone who does not really fulfill what they needed in a significant other. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not enough—it just means that you may not be the right people for each other.
In other situations, they associate you with thoughts of past issues and situations that remain unresolved. There can be a lack of closure between the two of you.
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The World as Feelings
When The World manifests itself as a feeling, it may go unnoticed. It is far from the discord that The Tower sews but does not compare to the explosive joy of The Sun. It can’t even be compared to the quiet hope of the star.
The World brings with it a feeling of contentedness. You are feeling whole and your spirit is finally able to relax. This is a subtle feeling that gives you the power to go about your days confidently and without a hitch.
When we are sure of ourselves, the things that we do feel like second nature. The World personifies this feeling on a spiritual level. Energies are balanced and your attentions are free to wander wherever they please.
The World is an indicator that all systems are green. Whatever it is you want to do, even if it’s simply to get through the day, you are equipped and ready.
The World brings with it a sense of underlying pride. It feels good when we have it together! Feeling whole makes us feel like the best versions of ourselves and it’s hard not to feel like we’re glowing as we walk down the street.
This is a feeling of safety within ourselves. We know that our gifts will bring us to our desires.
The World Reversed as Feelings
In terms of feelings, The Reversed World makes us aware of feelings of impatience.
The feelings of frustration and hopelessness are emotions that we are all familiar with. When we can’t see beyond our present timeline and beyond our physical bodies, we are unsure and doubtful of the plan that will unfold ahead.
There are big things on the horizon, and we can’t wait to get there. It is important that we trust in ourselves and The Universe and know that in tandem, they will deliver us to the doorstep of our desires.
Think of how the woman pictured on the Rider-Waite card is guided by a lion, bull, cherub, and eagle. We are sent guides by nature and we must trust in their ability to lead us.
This does not mean there isn’t hard work to be done. Impatience and frustration must be replaced with determination and drive. We will not magically move forward in our journeys if we are not prepared to walk.
The World as a Situation.
In its past position, The World places heavy emphasis on open-mindedness.
When describing a situation, The World notes that you are at the completion of one cycle. Everything has come full circle and it is time to be on the lookout for a new cycle to begin. We must keep ourselves open to the endless possibilities that lie before us.
“Now what?” we ask as we stand at the end of a long-term project. In response, The World says “everything.”
It can be difficult to step out of our comfort zones and try new things, but if we don’t, we risk our favorite things becoming stale and closing ourselves off to the vast world of opportunity that lies before us.
The World is telling you that you have reached this point of transition. Perhaps you’ve mastered The Tarot and are switching over to rune readings! Your next journey may take an unexpected form. Maybe you’re a master painter who has never played on a sports team before.
It is crucial that you stay open to what may seem like odd choices.
The World Reversed as a Situation.
The situation, when represented by the World reversed, presents itself as one where the focus has been lost. Your plans are not moving forwards as you had wished. Perhaps there are too many projects and people where you have scattered your energy.
It is best to withdraw, restore your energy, and look for help around you.
The World Reversed is a call to slow down. You are currently in a situation in which you have too much on your plate. You are trying to dive into too many things at once when you have yet to become proficient in any of them.
This denotes a stage of development. It is alright to focus on one thing at a time and take your time to complete unfinished business. You currently risk burning out and causing even more delays in your progress. One step at a time. There is no need to rush.
Furthermore, this card can indicate an unfulfilling resolution. It has not been truly resolved in your mind, which hangs onto the unrealistic hope of something better.
In the presence of this card, seeking closure is necessary to restore emotional balance. Be willing to remain open to the present and the people around you.
Sometimes, we can also hang onto things that cannot be forgotten so easily, such as emotional traumas or ingrained past fears. They act as consistent and touch mental barriers, blocking you from your goals. Again—there is no rush. These are things that can be slowly released and conquered over time.
The World as a What Someone Wants
A person whose desires align with The World is seeking completion. They are wishing to break free from the confines imposed upon them and assume a higher form through travel, study, and work.
This is a person who recognizes what they have to learn and wants to suck the marrow from every subject they encounter. This is a person who wants more from life and wants to find the missing piece that will fill that nagging empty space in the back of their mind.
The World signifies a desire for adventure and a willingness to take in all of the sights, sounds, and wisdom available to them. There is a want for experience and to be seen as credible and a need to be able to speak with authority on a wide variety of subjects.
When your desires mirror The World, you are in pursuit of movement and are seeking to cast off the petty things that hold you back. You are looking to be supported by loved ones and teachers as you charge down uncertain paths with confidence.
The World Reversed as What Someone Wants
The World reversed calls for the desire to pause, take a break, and refresh. The limelight can be exhausting, and you want to step out of it for a moment. Like upright, you desire fulfillment in your life but reversed, that fulfillment is not being found in the form of external rewards or recognition.
A person whose desires look like The Reversed World is a person who needs a break. Sometimes life grates us down and we find ourselves wishing for a moment’s pause. We find ourselves saying “there’s got to be an easier way to do this!”
This person is seeking a shortcut or a way to put in minimal effort in order to make it to the end of a project. They are not currently moved to action by a want to grow, but rather a desire for rest.
Their journey has left them weary and they are looking to “tap out” even if just for a day or two.
Additionally, you may have realized that perhaps you are never going to be truly satisfied whilst chasing after the knowledge and the awards and the temporary bouts of euphoria.
You are tired, and you are searching for the attention to be taken off you for the moment, looking inside to see what you should truly aim for.
Is The World a Yes or a No?
The Major Arcana is sure to end on a positive note with The World existing as a resounding yes.
It is the nature of The World to move in never-ending cycles and this card asks us to keep said cycles in motion. You possess the necessary skills and tools to move forward in your endeavors. You are called to have confidence in your choices and know that you are moving along the correct path.
The World is a “Yes.”
Our world is forever rotating on its axis and stops for no one and nothing, all while revolving around the sun year after year. The World card encourages you to take inspiration from this celestial dance and press forward.
Now is the time to have unwavering faith in yourself. Consider your journey and the hardships you’ve faced. You’ve made it this far, right? There is no turning back now and the cycle must continue forward. Have no fear as you plunge into the future. You are well equipped.
Is The World Reversed a Yes or a No?
We are often quick to write reversed cards off as an immediate no, but The World walks to the beat of its own drum, its reverse also existing in yes or no readings as a yes.
The Reversed World is a “yes”, it seeks to pull you back up onto your feet. There is something currently lacking in your motivation and work ethic and this card wants to see you succeed. It serves as a symbol to keep relentlessly pushing forward and putting in the hard work that it takes to grasp onto your goals.
It rejects negative and self-deprecating thoughts and orders us to “pull it together!” The World knows that we have the power within us, and when reversed notes that we are not utilizing it to the best of our abilities. Look at this card like a jumpstart to our spiritual core, pushing us in the right direction.
Here’s an article that talks more about yes or no questions: “How to us Tarot for Yes or No Answers”
The World Tarot Card as a Place.
Obviously, The World is the world right? Not quite. In fact, it is far from it.
Think of how the woman in the Rider-Waite deck looks down on the earth as she soars above it. The World has to do with transcending, expanding, and looking back. Because of this… As a place The World is:
The World is outer space, the vast unexplored expanse of space represents humanity’s hunger for progress. It reminds us that there is always more to be seen and allows us to look down upon all of the things, good and bad, that make up our planet.
When we look up into space at night, we are reminded of just how small we are, and yet humanity has always wanted to reach higher.
Pictures of our earth from space inspire us to show gratitude to the innovators among us who have dedicated their time and knowledge to pushing us beyond the stars, no matter how daunting or unexplored they may be.
When we look down on the world, we look down on all of humanity, the artists and athletes and scholars and warriors who are each on their own journeys, each with something to teach us.
The world itself, however, is the best teacher, reminding us of just how much is out there and giving us the tools to go further.
The World Reversed as a Place.
Reversed, the World is a place that exists in our own interiority. It is a place of our shadow selves; hidden, individual mirrors of the woes of larger humanity. These are the voices that wage internal conflict in our minds. They are the barriers that tell us of our hypocrisies, posing as invisible limits to ourselves.
Whereas the World upright reminds us of the beauty in our shared experiences, the depths of unexplored knowledge, and the thrill of letting go and starting anew, its reversed position inspects the interior psychology of an individual.
Here, we shine a magnifying glass upon our mental landscapes, which are equally huge, equally unexplored, and equally as terrifying.
These are the places that lie unknown to even ourselves, places that we can enter and become stagnant in forever, or places which we can confront our fears in and expand in the conscious.
Let us dispel the negative connotations of our shadow selves, since they are, and always have been, essential parts of the human condition.
Unless we learn about and nurture our mental environment, our external environments will, at some point, turn stagnant.
The World as an Obstacle / Challenge
When we find The World in a crossing position, it questions our trust in The Universe. Energy is being wasted in an attempt to control what is out of our reach. This blocks us from necessary relaxation and rest.
In every situation, there are factors that we cannot exert power over, such as the weather on the day of an outdoor wedding. When we stress over these variables, we waste valuable energy on things that we have no sway in and lose sleep over things that drain our energy.
Remember, The World deals with forward movement. When it presents itself as an obstacle or challenge, it suggests that that movement is currently under attack.
Much like how its reversed form symbolizes a need to let things go, The Upright World in the crossing position calls us to cut ties with the things that are out of our hands
You are not in control all the time and that is okay. When we try to control too much, we tip our balance and toss ourselves out of alignment. We must trust that The Universe and our guides have what is best for us in mind.
The World Reversed as an Obstacle / Challenge
Reversed, The World presents us with a much different obstacle. Rather than focusing in on parting with the idea of external control, it directs our attention to asserting inner control.
The World reversed is a battle between ourselves and what seems like the whole world against us. You are so close to sealing off this cycle of a project or journey, yet you are the only one who is capable of reaching completion.
The obstacle is your own self-control and determination; it is a mental game from now on.
Discipline is important on any journey. It is all too easy to shirk our duties by saying we’re too tired or not ready. The Reversed World says that this type of thinking is the enemy.
It is time to exercise your own willpower to jumpstart your motivation. Currently, your mindset is proving to be your biggest adversary, but The World knows that this is one you can face.
The World Tarot Card as Action
The World serves as an invitation to tie up your loose ends. The closure should be valued above all else. It brings with it the spiritual rest and recharges that you deserve as you are called to take up a new journey.
The World is all about closure and moving forward into new and exciting territory. It is impossible for us to plunge into new projects when we are dragging our old ones behind us.
The card suggests that it is time to seal the deal and wrap things up in one pursuit and begin the search for another. There is no more you can do.
By deciding what is going to help you along your path and, conversely, what you don’t have to carry with you anymore, you clarify your goals and make space for improvements and new endeavors.
This might refer to the final stages of a project, seeking closure or mutual long-term commitment in an ongoing relationship, or simply a deep sigh of relief and a momentary pause before gathering your strength and moving on to the next destination.
Overall, the World card appears to tell you that you’ve been doing great so far and you’ve made it through, but there still is one more step left.
Take a moment to appreciate your progress, appraise the lessons you’ve picked up along the way, realign your energies, and conclude this chapter of your life in one decisive and stimulating finale!
The World Tarot Card Reversed as Action
When reversed, The World as an action card advises that we re-evaluate the things we are chasing after. This is a sign that it’s time to let go. Whereas the World upright can incorporate some external action, its reversed counterpart calls for one important internal action first and foremost.
To expand our horizons, we must first recognize all the things that limit us and also release the ghosts of Christmas past. That is the reason why the woman of the card glances at days gone by with a kind of somber indifference; she has let go and because of that she is free.
It is something simple and plain that the World reverse advises us to do — a mental action of letting go of past disappointments. To actually carry it out feels slow and painful, but eventually, it will bring a touch of relief. How can one depart on new and better journeys when they are hanging onto an old destination?
You are left with unfinished business that is dragging you down and has been haunting you for quite some time now. There is no way to move forward when we are anchored to our past. The time has come to honor this struggle and release it from yourself.
We are only human. Not every journey will be a success, but it is important that we try. The World Reversed is giving you the okay to move on from this particular roadblock. You gave it your best and you should be proud.
The World as Advice
When in an advice position, The World places a heavy focus on expansion, be it a broadening of your worldview, knowledge, business, or skill set. The World encourages you to seek wholeness and brings our attention to just how much of ourselves we have yet to explore.
Never rule anything out. In your work to become a Jack of all trades, you may find the one thing that truly makes your soul tick.
Your story will be what you make it. As a hallmark of endings that lead to new beginnings (i.e. moving into a new house) this card will likely show up after the massive reorganization brought on by Judgement’s overture.
The worst is not only in the past but so far away in space and time that there is not a single doubt or threat insight; the conditions are ideal to seek even greater heights and see in yourself the individual you’ve always wanted to be.
Other than that, the World isn’t much of an advice card head-on, for it is a clear sign you are in a pretty good mental state and things are currently working out for you! Keep doing what you’re doing — if something works there’s no need to tamper with it.
That being said, the World is never idle, and its vital message can take on a myriad of forms.
It compels us to redefine our boundaries, to develop and nurture the weak aspects of our persona, to never neglect our values or underestimate our strengths; to seek knowledge and fulfillment without hesitation, and to stand firm in the center of our respective lives, always conscious of how fortunate we are in our capability to experience the joy of being alive.
Perhaps the most essential advice to be given here should be to remember. Remember who you really are, where you come from, and how far you have traveled, remember your dreams and your soul’s yearnings, remember those loved ones who mean the world to you, remember to believe in yourself and your abilities, and never stop growing.
Day by day the cosmos evolves into ever-more fascinating forms and expands towards the infinite, its miraculous depth enclosing all existence into one boundless mystery that we, as human beings, can never fully understand but only explore and feel around with our senses.
But we and the cosmos are made of the same matter. Fundamentally, we are the Universe observing itself, we are all parts of the vast totality that has no beginning or end.
When we put things in perspective like that, we realize that our troubles are not so dire after all, and that man can accomplish almost anything his heart desires; the sky’s the limit.
The World Tarot Card Reversed as Advice
When the World card appears reversed or at the beginning of a reading, it might suggest a sense of dissatisfaction and confinement. We can’t have the ending at the start, can we?
The World card in reverse calls our attention inward to estrangement, egoism, senseless repetition, and difficult beginnings. The seeker might be stuck in their ways and feeling incomplete as if something is always missing. Acceptance, patience, letting go, and starting all over again from square one are advised.
A world fragmented, misaligned, spinning out of control in dissonance and discord — or is it stuck in a futile endless loop? A traumatized soul, deprived of closure and warmth, refusing to accept the way things are and seemingly falling for the same mistake over and over again.
There are many ways to interpret the reversed World card and some of them are not quite pleasant. If anything, the card proves that beauty and unity were here once, but only their echo remains now as enthusiasm fades and potential’s being wasted away.
The schism has already occurred and the passage of time is never too kind; cycle after cycle, the individual’s passion has waned and they either feel like they don’t belong anywhere, perceiving the entire world as an obstacle, an enemy who’s out to get them, or they may have created an elaborate illusory trap for themselves to dwell in, a substitute for real-life restricted by their tunnel vision and all those things they dare not face.
Far from truth and grace, with the senses dulled and frozen solid in the bitter inertia of failure, our link to the world is broken.
The ego regresses into almost infantile egocentricity, neurotic behavior, and even delusions, such as disbelieving the integrity of reality and thus invalidating it, but also seeing signs of fate where there are none and whose sole purpose is to compensate for frailty or doubt, to rationalize the chaotic game of chance that is life and fill the void of a meaningless existence created through traumatic and painful experiences.
This trauma we must locate, allow it expression and a chance to heal; an artist would paint over it, a model would cover it up, a man of science would analyze and transform it.
However we choose to deal with trauma, one thing is certain. We must once again delve into the fragments of the regressive unconscious, the seeker’s personal history, and daily habits to find how the one split that started it all affects their lives right here, right now.
Too often we ignore the source of our misfortunes and misunderstand a broken mirror for the truth.
So, there’s naught one can do other than let go of the past, pick up the pieces of the story, and start anew every day. This is not the end, because it hasn’t even started yet.
Daunted by the permanent nature of life’s cycles, it is only human to feel lost, trapped, estranged and incomplete.
However, it is also our responsibility to ourselves, if not our duty, to repair the damage done and escape the pangs of hopelessness, to set things right and restore an upside-down world to what it’s meant to be: our home and our legacy.
The World Tarot Card as an Outcome
The World card as an outcome boasts of a completion of a project or the mastery of a skill. This is no short-term achievement—this may have taken several months or years. And when looking back, you stand at the top of that giant circular wreath, finally satisfied with your achievements from along the way.
In a dramatic flourish of nostalgia, relief, and happiness, the World asks you to appreciate how hard you’ve worked and all of the small achievements along the road.
Even in the case that you do not think that you’ve accomplished much, think of all the effort you’ve put in and the people that you’ve grown with.
You might have fully mastered some sort of skill, such as finishing culinary school or becoming a reiki master. You are being congratulated and reassured that you have done well.
But the World is also not a card of extensive relaxation. This is not the completion of everything you’ve worked for—there’s much more to come. Whilst an outcome of this card is that you have arrived at the finish line, the circle symbolism is an infinite cycle.
So once you have fully rested and rejuvenated, the second outcome will be the kickstarting of a new goal. How exciting!
The World Reversed as an Outcome
Reversed, the World card is still an ending, but perhaps more of an unsatisfactory one. In the Outcome position as well, this somewhat lukewarm ending is reinforced—an ending is an ending. There is nothing you can do about it, except to acknowledge it emotionally and to learn from it.
You might not have fulfilled a goal as you had wished. The World reversed demands that you take initiative and assess why an unsatisfactory outcome came to be.
The laurel wreath on the card is continuous no matter upright or reversed; your next chance is beginning and it’s up to you to close this chapter.
Asides from your initial reaction of disappointment, either unforeseen or reluctantly expected, what kind of emotional reactions can occur? Sadness, maybe even jealousy.
But whilst the World Reversed communicates a disappointing outcome, it also comes with surprisingly good news. This is your ‘put your disappointments into the past’ card.
You are extremely close to achieving what you want. It does not matter if you were not heralded with positive news this time. It can come in the next university year, or even with the next career path you take up. What matters is that you are willing to learn and self-reflect.
Tarot itself is an amazing tool for self-reflection, as it helps to actualize the things we know into concrete cards and symbolism.
There might be a problem with procrastination or work ethic—what can you do to help solve that? What types of environments do you work the best in? Have you ever tried journaling or manifestation? There might be just a tiny gap of understanding that you need to have a breakthrough about.
Big goals and dreams, with a disappointing outcome and a seemingly incapable skillset, that is in reality perfectly capable of carrying you over the finish line.
Acknowledge your emotions, such as any self-deprecating thoughts or feelings of frustration and desperation. Enjoy the time you have now to rest. And look forward to a new beginning.
The World in the Future.
The World represents the fulfillment of what we strive for. When your purpose is defined and your wisdom harnessed, a future defined by The World is a future filled with milestones, achievements, and great successes as a result of your hard work.
In the Minor Arcana, the nines and tens of each suit represent the conquering of a goal, be it creative, material, emotional, or intellectual. The World in the future position sings a similar tune. The things that you want are just on the horizon and will be within your reach if you stick to your guns.
This card champions the definition of purpose. There is no path to follow if we do not know where to go. This does not mean that your outcome will be exactly what you expect, but it ensures that your eventual position in regard to your highlighted goal will have something to teach you.
The wisdom you have gained on your travels should be valued and honored as you move towards these great heights as they will be what carries you through the most difficult parts of your future journeys. Be prepared to revel in this success and show gratitude to those who have helped you.
The World Reversed in the Future.
The future will offer sure contentment and gratification for the one who knows what is ahead and how to overcome the obstacles in the way. The World reversed reveals a time of hard work, focus, and concentration. In the present, you are not ready to complete your journey just yet, but soon you will be.
You are about to enter a future where the most prominent players are the conflicts of your inner self, time itself, and the support network around you. It can definitely be a grueling time of work and dedication, but the reverse position only asserts that you are nearly there. Just one last push, and you will reach the end.
The Reversed World in the future position reminds us that it is okay for us to ask for help. The lone hero is so often glamorized for their ability to achieve their goals without the help of anyone else.
This is not a realistic archetype, though, and if you try to take on this role, be it to prove yourself or a point, it will do you more harm than good.
There are 7.6 billion people that walk our earth, each with their own areas of expertise and stories to tell you. When you create an environment in which information and experience is shared, you will find that everyone has something to teach. It is this wisdom that will help you moving forward.
If the help of others is not enlisted and their wisdom not respected, then The World promises stagnancy— a wild goose chase for the lone hero.
The World as a Person.
The World is a person that you look up to. They seem wise and weathered beyond their years and always have a story to share. This is a person you trust and whose advice you value.
Many books and movies feature a character that plays the role of the wise old mentor or a fairy godmother who comes to help when the protagonist needs it most. This is the kind of person that The World represents.
Those described by the world are knowledgeable and experienced. They have faced struggles and triumphs and have learned a lot along the way. This is information that they are now willing to share with others.
When you find yourself in times of struggle and are seeking help, a person in line with The World is the kind of person you want to seek out. They are patient teachers and are happy to see your progress forward.
They are proud of the work you do and you might find that you have something to teach them in return— perhaps the wise old mentor needs a hand learning how to use a smartphone!
The World Reversed as a Person.
A person described by The World Reversed is a person that needs your help.
Perhaps inexperienced, the World reversed as a person is someone who struggles with utilizing time to their best advantage.
They lose hope easily in the face of any new hardship. They require a strengthened faith in themselves to endure and persist in their work instead of seeking for short-cuts or shorter methods.
They are unorganized and unguided as they struggle to settle into a journey or project. They are seeking a mentor to take them under their wing whether they know it or not.
When a person such as this comes into your life, it is your turn to play the role of The Upright World. They may find that the path you have traveled is a perfect fit or perhaps not the one for them.
They will never know unless you encourage them to try. All individuals have inherent flaws, but confidence and persistence are qualities that are built up over time.
What Zodiac Sign is The World?
Because of its expansive coverage and focus on diversity, The World is represented by all twelve signs of The Zodiac.
No two signs are the same and The World highlights just how important each one is. None would be able to function if one was missing. The Zodiac thrives on wholeness and could not operate if incomplete, one of the main pillars of The World.
From the fiery leadership of Aries to the precision of Virgo, each sign of The Zodiac has a role to play. A world filled with only one sign would be filled with discord and imbalance. The signs are made unique by the existence of their brothers and sisters.
The World asks us to rise above the separations of the signs and view The Zodiac as a wheel, always turning, just like the night sky above our heads. We are a group of interconnected spirits who each deserve to be honored individually and as a whole. The wheel could not turn if a piece was missing.
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- What’s the difference between the Major and Minor Arcana?
- How to use the Major Arcana tarot cards
- How to read the Minor Arcana Tarot Cards
Major Arcana Cards Complete Guides
- The Fool
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant
- The Lovers
- The Chariot
- The Hermit
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Hanged Man
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Star
- The Moon
- The Sun
- The World (this article)
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