upright the world tarot card

The World Tarot Card Meanings (Upright & Reversed)

Last Updated: December 4, 2022

The World is card number 21 (XXI) in modern cartomantic tarot decks and the 22nd major arcana trump card (The Fool, number 0, is the first card). Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.

The World is all about understanding that where one cycle ends, another begins, and so is the journey of life. Cycle upon cycle, turn after turn – where one thing ends, another begins.

“And suddenly you know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.” – Meister Eckhart

In this article, we will explore the different meanings of the World tarot card in various reading contexts as well as the different advice it can offer.

the world graphic

4 Quick takeaways about this card

  1. The World is a reminder that we are all connected.
  2. It represents our journey through life and the lessons we learn along the way.
  3. The World can also be a sign that we are coming to the end of a cycle.
  4. Finally, The World is a reminder that we all have the potential to make a difference in the world.
Table of Contents

The World tarot card key correspondences

Upright keywords

Success, fulfilment, end of a cycle, positive outcome, and travel. 

Reversed keywords

Disappointment, delays, pressure, failure, and incompleteness.

Yes or No

Yes

Numerology

21 (XXI)

Element

Earth

Ruling Planet

Saturn

Astrological Sign

N/A

Jungian archetype

Light aspect: The Mentor, The Storyteller / Shadow aspect: The Unseen

Tarot timing

Saturday

Associated deities

Hermes, Nike

Other name(s)

The Crown of the Magi (Egyptian Tarot), The Universe (Thoth Tarot), and Le Monde (Tarot de Marseille).

Depiction and symbolism in the Rider–Waite-Smith Tarot deck

The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher.

The World tarot card depicts a naked woman, wrapped in a thin purple cloth, surrounded by a circular green wreath and is being watched by 4 different animals; an eagle, lion, bull, and cherub/angel. These represent the 4 seasons, the suits of the tarot, all 4 corners of the universe, and everything in between. Cycles. Nature. The rhythm of just how things ‘are’. This woman expressively dances as she looks toward her past, but her body faces her future, she is ever-moving and ever-changing, and the imagery around her represents harmony. The natural cycle of all that is. 

the world rider waite smith

What does the upright World (tarot card XXI) mean?

In Latin, major arcana translates to “big secrets” and each of the 22 cards in this section of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck represents an important life lesson we must all face at some point. The World, arcanum 21, is no different.

You did it! If The World tarot card is showing up for you at this time, then it means you’ve accomplished something that is making you feel delighted in your successes! You will be feeling the fulfilment of whatever task it is that has come to an end, and you very much should be feeling proud of yourself, you’ve been on this long journey and it’s time to enjoy having the world at your feet. 

Reap those benefits! Look out for any and all opportunities coming your way, and in a physical sense it could also indicate you travelling, having the desire and confidence to push beyond your own neighbourhood and see what the world has to offer.

If you’ve been working on something and it hasn’t yet come to an end, know that the end is very much near! It’s in sight! You’ve nearly completed what you set out to do.

the world tarot card 21

When pulled in the upright position, The World is linked with success, fulfilment, the end of a cycle, positive outcomes, and travel.

What does the upright World card mean in a love reading?

If you’re in a relationship, drawing this card indicates that your partner makes you feel whole, makes you feel complete You no doubt are very much in love with both your partner and your relationship in its entirety, it’s very satisfying, happy, and healthy.

If you’re single, and looking for love, then the presence of this card is telling you that the perfect partner will be coming your way sooner than you think – IF you haven’t already met this person by now! If you’ve been dating, and have met someone you think is great, it’s most definitely wise for you to pursue it and see where things lead!

If you’re single, and want to stay that way, then this is a good sign that you’ve made peace with your single life! Know that it’s okay to stay committed to your single life if this is how you want things to be, you don’t need to feel pressured into relationships or taking, have fun! See what the world has to offer and enjoy yourself! After all, sometimes our own company is the best company.

What does the upright World card mean in a career reading?

You’re looking at being in your dream position! All the work you’ve put into your job is finally paying off, you’re getting what you finally deserve. Because of this, your finances will very much be looking to be on the rise too, but it may also be suggesting that you’ll be doing some travelling for your career.

What does the upright World card mean in a health reading?

If you’ve been battling any sort of health issue recently, then know your health either is getting better, or is due to get better very soon! The World tarot card in relation to health usually depicts health being on the mend, all things improving, and you’ll be ‘getting better’ and recovering.

The World tarot card as feelings/emotions

If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling The World card suggests that this is someone that wants to give you ‘the world’. This will be someone that feels you complete them, and they will be incredibly grateful for you! 

A lot of positivity surrounds this card when it comes to feelings, even if you are asking about an ex-lover, this doesn’t mean they will suddenly show up again – more than they’ve dealt with your past relationship, have accepted it, learnt the lessons, and are moving on happily as a whole with whatever their next step is. 

The World tarot card as a person

As a personality archetype, The World card represents someone that is a bit of a caregiver! They will be someone with an eye for the details, but will always be able to see the bigger picture, and that may end up being their main focus! 

This is someone that holds great empathy and understanding, and will be one in the way of wisdom when it comes to understanding the natural cycles of life and nature. This is someone that knows that something ending means something new is beginning, they know that one door opens as soon as the one behind them closes. 

You may typically find them to be a banquet of knowledge, having faced many trials and tribulations themselves, they hold a wealth of wisdom from their experiences, which makes them a great caregiver and even tutor, and will always seem to have the world at their feet. 

The World tarot card as advice

If you are asking the tarot for advice regarding a specific situation in your life, The World would indicate that you need to step forward and do as you wish! Right now you are being favoured, and you need not worry about the thoughts and opinions of others at the moment, express yourself! 

Move onwards and upwards in the fashion you see fit, you know where you want to go and you know what you want to do, and now is a great time for that. Good things surround you, and good things are coming your way, trust in your journey and go find your fulfilment. 

Be gentle, but stand your ground, you can be calm and firm at the same time, you have all the power to get things under control. This situation is in your hands, discipline will make sure it doesn’t escalate. Trust your gentle nature, it doesn’t make you a pushover.  

Is the World a yes or no card?

The World card offers a very exciting YES. This card is all about achievement, success, moving onwards and upwards, and feeling fulfilled. It is a very encouraging card and so, therefore, is very much a ‘yes’ card out of the major arcana! 

Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of yes or no questions:

Question: “Will I get the job?” 

Card Interpretation: With The World essentially being about cycles and the ending of one thing resulting at the beginning of another, this would suggest that any progress to do with your career will be favoured! If you’re looking for a promotion, to change jobs, or to go back into work (or even for the first time), then right now this is very much a favoured time for you. 

A new path is on your horizon, you’ve come full circle in your current cycle, so it’s looking very likely that a new position is coming your way very soon. You may even end up travelling for the said job!

Question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?” 

Card Interpretation: Absolutely! This is going to be someone that brings a lot of satisfaction and fulfilment your way. This may be someone that even assists you with your achievements, helping you push yourself in all of the right directions to open up the doors to all the opportunities you deserve. So learn from this person. 

Take on their wisdom and focus on using that to better yourself. Positive progress is always favoured, and this will be someone that helps move you along your own natural cycle, as this is someone that understands how life works. Let them guide you. They won’t purposefully steer you wrong. They may even pull you out of a rut you may not even be aware you’re in!

Question: “Should I make the investment?” 

Card Interpretation: Potentially, so long it isn’t risky and surrounded by endless red flags. Whilst your money may be looking good now, or it’s very much due to, this doesn’t mean you need to go chasing after investments left, right, and centre. If you’re really committed to something, research research research. 

Learn about it in its entirety, don’t just jump at something because it’s exciting and potentially seems promising, find out everything you can. You will be making decisions that positively impact your finances, so make sure you do the groundwork to find out which exact route it is that you need to go down. 

Question: “Will I achieve my current goals?” 

Card Interpretation: You will complete whatever it is that you’ve set your mind to, whether that path is as direct as you think it should be or not, and face up to whatever battles you need to in order to go after those goals. 

You will find the success and achievement you are after with them! Your hard work towards your wants will pay off in the end, just remember: don’t cut corners! Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Question: “Should I start my own business?” 

Card Interpretation: Now will be the time to start learning from the world and its people. You can grow a beautifully successful business but it may be time to spread your wings a bit and learn from the planet you call your home! Cultures, people, and experiences can all add to your own character bio, this can bring you invaluable knowledge that you may require to establish a business that takes off – and even perhaps has international trade and connections! 

The work you put into this very much has the chance to pay off, you’ll have feelings of a job well done once you get your teeth stuck into it. Just don’t rush the process, learn, absorb, adapt, and change. Let the world shape the business you’re destined to run. 

What does the reversed World card mean in the Tarot?

Just because you’re nearing the finish line doesn’t mean it’s time to rush, don’t cut corners, face up to your remaining challenges and know that the end result will be worth it!

Or you are perhaps facing a delay with a project coming to an end, you may be missing essential information which has halted your process, so it’s time to buckle down to find what’s missing – you’ll get the closure you’re after in the end! Just remember to not cut corners. Slow and steady wins the race!

In an emotional sense, you may also be feeling like what you’ve been doing isn’t worth it. Do you not feel committed? If you aren’t feeling ‘whole’ then you need to look at what’s missing.

When pulled in the reversed position, The World is linked with disappointment, delays, pressure, failure, and incompleteness.

What does the reversed World card mean in a love reading?

It may be time for you to bring yourself your own closure, instead of perhaps seeking others to do that for you. If you’re in a relationship, what’s stopping you from being happy? Don’t let past experiences cloud your judgement and emotional state, don’t just assume your current partner will be like any bad partners you’ve had previously, you need to heal from those experiences in order to move forward. 

If you’re single, then very much the same thing applies! Heal from your past experiences, don’t let those times govern you, to welcome in new love you have to work through these emotions and memories and not just bury them. 

Face up to them, close that chapter, and move forward. Focus on what you know you need to work on and stop avoiding it, you’ll eventually get back that ‘oomph’ that you so require! 

What does the inverted World card mean in a career reading?

Drawing the reverse World during a career spread shows that you once set yourself very clear goals for your career but you find yourself yet to reach them. You aren’t where you want to be. But why? What’s holding you back? Is it the job itself? Do you feel completely happy where you are, or do you need to really change things up a bit? 

The message here is that it’s okay to jump onto a completely different career path, no matter your age, status, or situation. You’ve got to do what makes your heart sing, so find out what’s falling short. You’ve got a lot of potential left to unlock. 

What does the upside-down World card mean in a health reading?

If you’ve been experiencing poor health, and have been going down the route of different medications and treatments, it’s time to reassess what you’re doing. Along with your doctor/health care providers help you need to work out a new plan of action. You may need something additional to help just give you that extra boost that’s required to put you back on the path to mend!

Or if you’ve been put on a course of meds, and either stop taking them on your own accord or miss a few here and there, stop! Complete the course as required and take the correct dose as prescribed, cutting corners isn’t helping matters. 

Using the World in your spellwork

If you are looking to bring balance, harmony, success, and fulfilment into your life, then utilising your tarot deck is highly highly highly recommended! You can use your entire tarot deck for this one, it firstly requires you to pick a spot as a form of ‘altar’ or ‘sacred spot’ where you will keep your cards in a specific layout. 

Firstly place the The World card in what will be the centre, and then take all 4 of the minor arcana cards (swords, wands, cups, pentacles) and place them as follows: Swords (represents air) to the east of The World, Wands (represents fire) to the south of The World, Cups (represents water) to the West of The World, and pentacles (represents earth) to the north of The World. 

It’s up to you if you wish to intuitively draw a single card from those suits, choose one based on it’s specific meaning, or keep the suits as a whole and in order, just so long the positioning around The World is correct – all 4 elements will bring balance. 

Whether you wish to speak out loud, or quietly, it’s now time to set your intentions with The World card. Calling in it to bring harmony, fulfilment, and successes your way. Let this card know why you have singled it out, why you need the help you require, and put all of your intention into manifesting exactly what you’re after with the help of this major arcana card. 

The World will look to see you taking the necessary steps towards those actions, remember it does not favour shortcuts, but you should start to move in a direction that allows the peace and balance you are attracting towards yourself. If you need to help certain cycles come to an end, whilst taking the natural path to the inevitable finish line, you can encourage the required assistance by doing a simple cord cutting spell.

In the same space as the cards, take 2 white candles and tie a cord between them. Focus your intentions on what you are looking to detach from yourself, what are you looking to move on from, or have help to move away from? 

Speak to your tarot set up and once again let then know your intentions, inviting The World to assist you on this journey. Making sure your cards are a safe enough distance from the candles, whilst remaining in the same space, check for any potential fire hazards before proceeding to light the candles and wait with them until the cord has severed; but it is wise to let the 2 candles burn out in their entirety if you can and have the time to do so. 

With your intentions spoke aloud, the cord cutting completed, and your energy being fuelled into restoring the balance, harmony, and giving you the ‘push’ forward you need, keep the tarot set up as they are until you start to feel your cycles coming to an end. This will be the time to start embracing the new opportunities coming your way, to once again feel the winds of harmony in your present day, and to know a new time has dawned for you. 

Remember that the cards will work with you so long you work for them, don’t just sit and expect, they will assist but you must do the legwork. 

A Poem to remember the upright meanings

Poems can be a good way to remember information because they often use rhyme and rhythm, which can make them easier to memorize.

Additionally, poems often use vivid imagery and figurative language, which can help to make the information more interesting and engaging.

The World is the end of a journey,

It is a goal we can finally see.

It’s the ultimate understanding

Of what life was meant to be.

 

A journey of growth and adventure,

The transformation of a soul.

It’s an awakening of spirit,

And the wisdom that makes us whole.

 

A perfect blend of harmony,

The merging of all that is.

It’s the balance between different worlds

That makes us feel bliss.

 

The embodiment of success,

A courage to trust the unknown.

It’s the courage to take a chance

And the faith to make it home.

 

The world is a celebration,

A joyous reunion of sorts.

It’s the freedom of the spirit

And the joy of many rewards.

 

The World is a journey of love,

A path to the heart of life.

It’s a time to be grateful

For the blessings of life.

A Poem to remember the reversal meanings

A reversal of the World card so dire

A lack of completion and stagnation entire

No accomplishments, no goals to strive

Just an ending, no more left alive

Thoughts of progress, they seem so far

No more energy, no more fire to spark

No more motivation, no more drive

A world of lack, no more alive

A weak will, an unending plight

A world of lack, no more insight

The World card, reversed in the lot

A sign of lack and a life of no plot

No more movement, hard to find joy;

A world of lack, nothing to deploy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the World tarot card is a powerful symbol of success, fulfilment, the end of a cycle, and a positive outcome. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that it is time to embrace your success, savour your achievements and enjoy this time of positivity in your life.

Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot readers, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.

The 22 major arcana cards each correspond to different aspects of the human experience that are universal. They represent the different stages of the “hero’s journey”: our biggest challenges and life lessons, as well as our highest aspirations and greatest potential.

Have you ever had a reading where the World card appeared? What was the outcome? What does the World mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.

If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out our complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.

amy

Written by Amy

🌙 27 / British / ♐️ / Vegan 🌱
🍄 Cosplayer / 𝑾𝒊𝒕𝒄𝒉𝒄𝒓𝒂𝒇𝒕 🔮
🐉 Just a Dragon loving sorceress 💙

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