A woman dances above the Earth while holding a staff in each hand. She’s surrounded by a green wreath and is usually watched by various creatures. These creatures are symbolic of the four fixed signs of the zodiac – Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, and Scorpio – and are also meant to represent the four elements.
The wreath symbolizes the all-encompassing knowledge of the world and its creatures, and of the cycle of life that is continuous throughout the ages.
The world, sometimes also called “The Universe” depending on the deck is the final stage in the the story of the Fool. It symbolizes the Fool coming full circle and finding a balance within life. Initilally naieve and unwise now having become practical and learned.
The Fool matures through the path he’s traveled, and can now fully appreciate how fortunate he is. Obstacles have been removed and he has brought every aspect of himself together into a kind of harmony which brings only good things. The Fool now follows the example of the woman portrayed and dances in the enjoyment of life and is innocent once again.
The card is symbolic of the end of the life cycle and the beginning of the next. It is the elements come together, it is knowledge and bounty, and it is everything in its entirety. At the end, the world can still go on. The card’s image is especially uplifting, showing the heavens and total peace and tranquility.
The World is a perfect symbol of fulfillment and wholeness, even of prosperity and accomplishment. It can also symbolize the sacred center between the four elements and the structure of the physical world. In the center, the divine is clear.
It shows the way to enlightenment and mysticism, power and creation. In some older decks, the woman in the center is actually the Greek god Hermes, the messenger. This can be interpreted as a sign of good news and proclamation, adding to the idea that this card is a symbol of satisfaction and fulfillment.
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