This Major Arcana card tends to come up often in readings that feature significant life changes, the end of a cycle, or preparation for moving in new directions. Sometimes it comes up to remind us of a need to flow with changes naturally, just like the seasons have a natural flow. The World can indicate something that has come full circle, a sense of satisfaction or a realization that comes from the depth and complexity of a series of experiences over time. It may also come up when you are about to embark on such a journey. Some examples might be the start of a weight loss/healthy lifestyle change or going back to college to finish a degree.
When the World comes up in a challenge position or reversed, it can suggest lack of progress or moving against the natural flow of ones universal plan. This card always asks us to reflect on the whole of an experience, from start to finish – to see something that has come full circle. That's fitting, since it is the last Major Arcana card and comes at the end of the Fool's journey. Consider all the cards of the Major Arcana that fall between the Fool and this card. When the world shows up in a spread, it illuminates an entire cycle as well.
The World card has a variety of symbolism depending on the deck you choose, however some common themes are the world itself or circle of life, along with the seasons, the four corners and the elements. In a traditional Waite deck there is also the Lion which represents strength, the Ox which represents determination and strength of will, and the Eagle that symbolizes vision and higher truth. In the center there is typically an angel or other being representing our higher self or spiritual connection to all of life.
Any time the World card comes up it indicates a need to look at the bigger picture, to see how all parts have come together to form the whole. Ask yourself if you are going with the natural flow of events or do you find yourself resisting change? Sometimes this card is challenging because it asks us to go beyond what is familiar or comfortable and look further. Are you considering the long term ramifications of the actions you're taking presently? Do you feel that your actions right now are working to bring you into a better place moving forward? If not, it may be time to adjust your path and move in a different direction.
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