The World – A Deep Dive Into the Final Card of the Major Arcana

The World Tarot card is the final card of the Major Arcana, which is why it stands as a symbol of fulfillment and successful completion. It represents the end of a long journey—a journey that began with the impulse of the Fool who was eager for a change in his life’s journey.

This card always reminds me of the phrase “reaping the rewards of your efforts”. I live in a mountainous area, and I love to hike from time to time. Well, the World represents that moment when you finally finish a long, challenging hike and stand at the top, taking in the breathtaking view. 

After all the preparation, the steep parts, and even the times when you thought you wouldn’t make it… There you are, feeling a mixture of triumph, gratitude, and a deep connection to everything around you. That’s what the World tarot card is all about.

If we think of the Tarot deck as a symbolic story, the World card is the thread that ties together the story of the Major Arcana, marking the point where the Fool’s experiences coalesce into wisdom. 

It’s not just about reaching an endpoint, though. I always remind my clients that the World is about the integration of life’s lessons and the beginning of a new cycle with a higher understanding.

The World Keywords and General Associations

The world general

Here are some key features to help you understand what the World Tarot card is all about.

  • Completion
  • Integration
  • Accomplishment
  • Inclusiveness

When The World appears upright in a reading, it signals success and fulfillment. Whatever area of your life you are focusing on right now, if you see this card in a reading, take it as a sign that you are doing a good job. Your hard work and persistence are paying off, so don’t give up yet! 

When this card is reversed, it speaks of something that needs to be completed, like an unfinished business. Ask yourself what things in your life you need to make an extra effort to finish, and you’ll get closer to what this card is trying to say.

Here are some keywords to keep in mind:

  • Upright: Completion, Travel, Success, Fulfillment
  • Reversed: Incompletion, Delay, Stagnation, Lack of Closure

The World is associated with the element Earth, which grounds its themes in reality and tangible results. Its planetary ruler is Saturn, the taskmaster of the zodiac, which emphasizes the qualities of structure, discipline, and the rewards of hard work. He’s zodiacally connected to Capricorn, which further emphasizes these earthy, structured qualities.

Detailed Description of The World Card

Now let’s go into more detail to fully appreciate the meaning and symbolism of the World tarot card in the Rider-Waite-Colman deck. In the center, a figure dances within an oval wreath that, if you ask me, looks like an angel, a being that has fulfilled a mission and is now elevated.

Pamela Coleman Smith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This image symbolizes the continuous cycles and eternal evolution of our physical and spiritual state. The figure holds two wands or staffs, echoing those of the magician, representing will and transformation.

The four creatures in the corners of the card are the fixed signs of the zodiac—Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius—standing for the four pillars of wisdom and the balance between the physical and spiritual realms. The flowing red ribbon that forms the wreath represents the infinite, the alpha and omega, the ever-present flow of time and life.

Meaning of The World

As I mentioned before, the World card represents a culmination of a journey that has traversed the entire spectrum of human experience. What happens when you finish a path? You become an expert, mainly because you’ve stumbled with obstacles, made a few mistakes, and learn the lessons along the way.

This card talks about a completion that brings with it a profound sense of wholeness and integration. It’s the kind of achievement that resonates not just within yourself, but echoes out into your whole life, signaling a harmonious alignment of your will power and the spiritual realm.

That’s why this card represents the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. That’s what life is all about. An eternal cycle of endings and new beginnings. I like to think of it as graduation – that moment when you walk across the stage, diploma in hand, and the future unfolds before you like a golden road. 

When The World makes an appearance in a reading, it’s a sign that you have reached a significant milestone. Are you aware of the long road you’ve traveled? If you aren’t, rest assured that the rest of the world is recognizing it, letting you know that you are on the right path. 

Depending on your situation, this card can align with a sense of deep satisfaction and fulfillment, a knowledge that you have found your place in the world and are contributing to the greater whole. Never forget that this card transcends the personal, it transcends the needs of your ego. It reminds us that we are all connected on a larger scale and that your presence is very important to the whole machinery of the universe.

Interpretation of The World

The World reflects the culmination of a journey, the end of a chapter in your life, no matter what area of your life you are focusing on right now. Let’s see what interpretations this card brings to your reading:

Tarot cards rading

Upright The World

When The World appears upright in a Tarot spread, it basically means that you are on your way to achieving something. In my experience, this “something” is almost always very important and will definitely bring a rewarding sense of fulfillment. Here’s what it can mean:

  • Completion and Integration: You’ve come full circle, integrating the lessons learned along the way and feeling a sense of completeness.
  • Achievement and Success: It can also herald the achievement of an important goal or milestone, whether they be personal, professional, or spiritual.
  • Global Connection and Travel: There’s an element of worldly experience here, which suggests international connections, travel, or global awareness. It’s also important to take a look at these themes if you get this card.

When it comes to your love life, the world can symbolize a relationship that has survived its trials but is now over. You and this person are now on the same page and can move into a new chapter of commitment and understanding.

In terms of career and work, this card can indicate the culmination of your achievements, such as a successful business venture or a project that’s about to flourish. In terms of your social life, this card suggests a time of harmony. It suggests that you feel you’re “fitting in” with your social groups and that you’ve found your place in your community or society at large.

Reversed The World

The reversed World card, however, tells a different story. Its meaning is like a book with the last chapter missing. It suggests that there’s more work to be done before you can truly feel a sense of completion. Consider these points:

  • Unfinished Business: There’s something left undone, a project or relationship that needs final touches or a new direction.
  • Delayed Gratification: Success is still possible, but it’s delayed. Patience and additional effort are required.
  • Feeling Disconnected: There may be a sense of alienation or not feeling in sync with the world around you.

In personal relationships, this reversed card could manifest as a partnership that has yet to find its footing or reach a significant milestone. Professionally, it could be a career goal that seems out of reach or a project that’s stalled. If you receive this card, take it as a call to reevaluate your approach and perhaps find closure or a new way forward.

The World and Its Arcana Counterparts

I like to think of the Tarot deck as a microcosm of life’s journey, with each card representing a unique facet of the human experience. To fully grasp the essence of The World, I like to place it alongside other Major Arcana cards and explore their interplay.

The World and The Hermit

Pamela Colman Smith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The World and The Hermit could not appear more different at first glance, yet they share an intrinsic connection through their search for truth. The Hermit stands for introspection and the pursuit of inner wisdom. He is the solitary seeker, the lantern in the dark, guiding the way:

  • Inner vs. Outer Completion: While The World signifies external success and the completion of a cycle, The Hermit represents the internal journey and the wisdom gained therein.
  • Social Fulfillment vs. Solitary Contemplation: The World is about achieving a place within or in relation to the broader society, whereas The Hermit suggests a period of withdrawal for personal growth.
  • End of the Journey vs. Ongoing Search: The World is the destination reached, the quest completed. The Hermit, however, is a reminder that the search for knowledge is never truly finished.

The World and The Lovers

Pamela Colman Smith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Lovers card, with its themes of choice and partnership, offers a compelling contrast to The World card. Where The World represents the culmination of a journey, The Lovers speaks to the important choices that define that journey:

  • Universal Love vs. Personal Relationships: The World encompasses a sense of universal love and unity, while The Lovers focuses on intimate relationships and the choices that bring individuals together or apart.
  • Completion vs. Convergence: The World is about reaching an endpoint and enjoying the fruits of one’s labors, whereas The Lovers is about the merging of paths and the beginning of a shared journey.
  • Harmony with the Cosmos vs. Harmony with Another: The World suggests harmony with the universe and the self, while The Lovers is about finding harmony with a significant other or within oneself when faced with a moral choice.

Comparing The World to The Hermit or The Lovers in your Tarot reading is crucial. It can provide a deeper understanding of where you are in your personal journey, whether you are at a point of completion or at a crossroads of critical decision making.

The World in Specific Readings

The World card can have different meanings when it appears in certain types of Tarot readings. However, the overall meaning is always related to the concept of wholeness or completion. Therefore, its presence can be both an affirmation of success and an encouragement to move toward the completion of unfinished endeavors.

Yes-no readings

The world yes or no

In yes-no readings, the World typically leans toward affirmation, but always remember that it’s not without conditions. It suggests that a positive outcome is on the horizon, but it’s contingent upon your previous actions and choices. Here’s how it might play out:

  • Affirmation of Effort: If the question is about the rewards of long-term effort, the appearance of the World is a strong indicator of a ‘yes’ – but it reminds you that these rewards come after hard work and dedication. In short, if you’ve been cutting corners and taking the easy way out, the meaning could be quite different.
  • Encouragement for Completion: When you ask for something related to the completion of a project, the world serves as encouragement. It’s a “yes” to completing projects, tying up loose ends, and seeking closure.
  • A Call for Patience: If you are looking for quick answers, the world is asking for patience. It suggests that while the outcome is likely to be positive, it may take a little more time to unfold naturally. You may need to connect more with the present and trust the guidance of the Universe.

Love readings

The world love

If your reading is related to your love life, the World can suggest that your relationship has reached a significant level of depth and understanding. It may reflect a harmonious bond that’s been forged through shared experiences and mutual growth.

  • Milestone Achievements: For couples, the World can signal an important phase in the relationship. I usually get this card when my querents are about to get engaged, married, or have decided to start a family.
  • Harmony and Mutual Respect: In my experience, this card reflects a balanced relationship where both partners are in sync. I get this card when both partners appreciate each other’s individuality, which allows them to present a united front.
  • Global Love: If you are single, the World may indicate a connection with someone from a different culture or a love that involves travel. If you get this card and are single, take it as a sign to date someone different, someone who will challenge your perspective or take you out of your social comfort zone.

Work readings

What about career-oriented spreads? If the World appears, take it as a sign of professional fulfillment and successful completion of projects.

  • Career Culmination: When most of my clients receive this card, it usually indicates that they are reaching the pinnacle of their careers. Nine times out of ten, it suggests a promotion, a successful business launch, or recognition of one’s contributions.
  • Completion of Projects: The World also suggests that long-term projects will come to a satisfactory conclusion. If you feel discouraged or anxious, take it as a sign to keep going. You are almost there.  
  • Global Opportunities: There’s also the potential for work that involves international relations, travel, or global impact. It’s a sign to take a calculated risk and expand your horizons.

In each type of reading, The World Card encourages you to reflect on the path you’ve just traveled. It invites you to recognize your accomplishments and to understand that every end is a precursor to a new beginning. 

The World card offers a moment of objectivity and clarity, urging you to accept your place in the grand scheme of things and prepare for the next cycle of your life’s journey.

Key Card Combinations

I always explain to my clients that the Tarot deck is a dynamic ecosystem where each card can influence the energy and interpretation of the others. When The World card enters the tableau, it can significantly alter the narrative of a reading, especially in conjunction with other Major Arcana cards.

Combined with The Magician

Pamela Colman Smith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When the World spins into the same expanse as the Magician, the combination is what I call “electric.” It’s the meeting of completion with initiation, the end of one journey igniting the beginning of another. Here’s what exactly this pairing might indicate:

  • Manifestation: The Magician’s resourcefulness combined with The World’s sense of completion suggests you have a powerful manifestation of passion, strong will, and commitment to your goals.
  • New Opportunities: Just as one chapter closes, the Magician hints at new doors opening, with the skills and tools necessary for success now at your disposal.
  • Full Potential: This duo encourages you to set the bar higher and reach your full potential, having mastered the elements and the self, ready to embark on the next creative endeavor.

In practical terms, this could mean that after celebrating a significant achievement, you’re immediately presented with an opportunity to use your talents in a new and exciting way. 

It’s like the graduate who lands their dream job right out of college, or the entrepreneur who sells their successful startup and is immediately struck with inspiration for the next big idea.

Combined with The High Priestess

Pamela Colman Smith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The World and the High Priestess create a dance of outer achievement and inner wisdom. When these two cards come together, they speak not only of worldly success, but also of deep, intuitive understanding and spiritual fulfillment. Consider these insights:

  • Intuitive Completion: The High Priestess suggests that the completion represented by the World is not just a physical or material one, but also a spiritual or subconscious achievement.
  • Secrets Revealed: The mysteries once shrouded by the High Priestess may be unveiled upon reaching the stage of the World, indicating a time of enlightenment and understanding.
  • Balanced Dualities: This pairing emphasizes the balance between the conscious and unconscious, the seen and unseen, the known and the mysterious.

If you are asking about your personal journey, this combination could mean that you are reaching a profound level of self-knowledge and understanding, where the secrets of your subconscious are being brought to light. Embrace these insights, for they will lead you to a more authentic version of yourself.

I like to compare it to a spiritual seeker who finds the answers he’s been looking for after a long time, or the artist who finally understands the deeper meaning behind his work. It is a rewarding and deeply fulfilling experience.

In any Tarot reading, these combinations remind us that every ending is laced with the promise of a new beginning, and every achievement is an invitation to delve deeper into the mysteries of life. Remember that the World does not exist in isolation. It is part of a greater whole, just as we are all part of a larger unfolding story.

Frequently Asked Questions about The World

What does The World card symbolize in tarot?

The World symbolizes completion, fulfillment, and the successful culmination of a cycle.

Can The World card indicate travel?

Yes, The World often signifies travel, especially journeys that have a significant impact on one’s life perspective.

How do you interpret The World in a love reading?

In love readings, The World can indicate a relationship reaching a significant milestone or the beginning of a new, harmonious chapter.

What does a reversed World card mean?

A reversed World card suggests incomplete projects, the need for closure, or delays in achieving goals.

Conclusion on The World

The World card is a reflection of one of the most rewarding steps in our life’s journey: the time when, after many struggles, frustrations, and obstacles, we have finally reached the top of the mountain.

This card encourages you to find meaning in your endings and beginnings, and to see the beauty in the cycles of life.

After all, the world is a reminder that each ending is only the precursor to a new adventure.

Photo of author

Maria Figueroa

Maria is a multifaceted individual who wears the hats of a professional astrologer, licensed psychologist, tarot reader, and angel number enthusiast. Since 2019, she has dedicated herself to writing horoscopes and articles on a variety of topics, including spiritual growth, mental health, and self-development. Her insightful writings reflect her deep understanding of the spiritual and psychological realms, providing valuable guidance to her readers. In addition to her writing, Maria also runs a private practice where she combines her expertise in psychology with her intuitive abilities. She uses her knowledge of astrology, tarot, and angel numbers to help individuals unlock their hidden potential and navigate through life's challenges. Her unique approach blends her psychological training with her spiritual insights, allowing her to provide holistic support to her clients. Through her work, Maria connects with people from all walks of life, offering personalized birth chart readings, helping individuals overcome personal obstacles, and sharing her wisdom through enlightening articles. Her goal is to empower others by providing them with the tools and insights they need to lead fulfilling lives and embark on their own spiritual journeys. A lover of astrology, tarot and numerology, Maria embraces the mystical and symbolic aspects of life and uses these powerful tools to deepen her understanding and connection with the Divine. Her unique combination of skills allows her to provide guidance and inspiration to those seeking a greater sense of purpose and direction.