At the end of the major arcana, and thus at the end of a major life cycle, the tarot comes full circle, to the world. In the beginning, the Fool was stepping on the ledge of the world. Now, all is in harmony. The woman in the middle carries the same baton that magicians and leaders carry. She looks to her left, at what she’s leaving behind, while walking to the right.
She is floating in a laurel wreath, which symbolizes cosmic wisdom and harmony. The wreath is tied above and below with red silk, symbolizing the magic that holds the universe together, both above and below. There is something very celebratory about all of this, like a triumphant walk into the sunset, or in this case, a walk into infinity.
In the four corners are the head of an angel, an ox, an eagle, and a lion, symbolizing the Gospels and the fixed signs of the zodiac, symbolizing completion and stability.
When a querent or client draws The World, it symbolizes the successful completion of something, usually something internal. While it can symbolize worldly success, it still signifies that the querent him or herself has surpassed a milestone or has matured psychology. It can denote a marriage, a birth, a graduation, a hiring, or a promotion. The latter two would lead to a new phase of the querent’s life.
This can also signify that the querent has lived through something serious and has come out the victor. They’ve grown. They’re stronger, wiser, more mature, and ready to take the next step, whatever it is. Whatever completion or accomplishment happens, it affects them on the inside, and changes who they are for the better. They’re different now; they’re improved.
The World card may also signify broadening one’s horizons. One may get more education, move far away, or travel overseas. One might also get involved in a study that expands their minds. The querent may meet someone who introduces them to not just a new world, but a world that’s more fitting for them. This can signify a happy marriage or other fated, important relationship.
When The World is reversed, it often means that querent has missed an opportunity, that they had a shot at success and either held back or didn’t recognize it. They may be stuck in a rut, especially a psychological one, where they undo all of their efforts.
This can also mean that something remains undone and it keeps the querent from moving forward. This could be due to fear, uncertainty, or lack of focus.
The querent may actually be afraid of success and what success will bring. This is especially true if this success takes them to a place where the competition is stiffer and the rewards fewer.
The World reversed can also indicate a person or specific situation that keeps the querent from moving on and completing things. Someone or something may be holding them back, and they just have to be patient.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent had gone through a personal revolution or had a major accomplishment, and it now sets the tone for what they’re going to do next.
Present: Currently, the querent is enjoying success and enjoying the rewards. They may be resting and simply basking right now, not necessarily planning the next move.
Future: The querent can expect success in the future. The World is one of the best cards to get in this position. It represents a future where everything will work out if the querent stays the course.