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The World XXI , Tarot Meanings and Symbols

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

The World XXI- Sketch by Margo Laxon
Le Monde XXI - Sketch by MLaxon

The twenty-first card of the major arcana brings a feeling of harmony, and contentment and can also create a feeling of joyousness. It's that similar feeling we get at the end of a school year, a wedding, or a feast when all the work is completed and you can sit and let the festivities happen. All the battles and mistakes have been worth it to get get to this point. We are more aware and sharper. We recognize the things and people that are more important. We are aware of those who were by our side, and those who were not.

Is the world card always joyous? For the most part, it gives us an indication of rebirth because we have come to an end of a situation and have learned so many lessons, but there are some other messages the Word card gives us that we need to pay attention to.

Le Monde XXI Lo Scarabeo Tarot Marseille
Le Monde XXI Lo AMM.MO

Let's take a look at the World XXI card

The World or Le Monde is number 21, the highest number in the major arcana. This number resonates with self-realization, self-discovery, completion, and success.

  • 21 divided by 3 is 7

  • 3 is a number that resonates with creation and realization (The Marseille Tarot revealed by Yoav Ben Dov)

  • 7 is a number that resonates with elevation where after balance is achieved there is further movement.

  • 7 is a divine number: 7 metals of alchemy, 7 heavenly bodies from the Sun to Saturn after which is heaven.

  • The World card is the last of the third group of seven major arcana cards where the seeker is on the path to reconcile problems and issues of both spiritual and material worlds

Le Monde XXI Jean Dodal, Tarot Marseille
Le Monde XXI - Jean Dodal

The World XXI, Tarot Meanings and Symbols:

  • The figure in the centre: is a female figure but to some this figure appears to be androgynous. The figure is the soul of the world - both male and female who keeps life moving. When our world is in an upheaval, the soul of the world brings things to order again with lessons.

  • In the left hand, the figure holds a flask, a dagger, or a wand. The left is receptive, feminine energy or the dark more mysterious side, and dreams.

  • The right hand holds a scepter or wand representing the male energy of action and movement. In some decks, the figure holds a wand in each hand with both red and blue representing both the male (red) and female (blue) energies. The objects held in each hand represent the recurring theme of opposites or polarities; for example yin and yang, light and dark, etc. The tension between the opposites and the achievement of a balance of the opposites.

  • Sash- can represent tension of opposites

  • The leafy garland- is in the shape of an egg representing birth or rebirth, or resurrection. The egg is a symbol of life and potential. In alchemy, the egg is a symbol of the vessel of metamorphosis or transformation. Note: the colour of the leafy garland in the World card:

Light blue: represents spiritual matters, and receptive yin, female energy (the shape indicates female genitalia). Also, it represents the cold and disengaged or unattached. It can represent the "cold truth" and the need for transparency.

Flesh Colour: indicates the human side of the matter. It can also represent what drives us or what our physical needs are in the situation such as food, shelter and sexual, etc. It is also reminding us of what makes us human. Nakedness indicates vulnerability or how open we are to certain issues.

Green: indicates growth, development, simplicity, and nature.

Yellow: warmth, optimism, success. It can indicate the success of balancing physical and practical needs with spiritual needs. It can also symbolise intelligence.

Red: represents passion, aggression, and energy.

  • The ribbons/ties/ropes at the top and bottom of the garland: resemble an infinity sign. The end of a cycle brings on a beginning of a new cycle, and the life cycle of the tarot is never-ending.

Le Monde/ The World XXI Jean Noblet Tarot Marseille
Le Monde XXI Jean Noblet

How many segments is the garland divided into?

  • Two segments: balance of male (active) energy and female (receptive) energy. A balance between Yin (female, cold, receptive, dark) and Yang (hot, active, light) energies. two represents the balance that is achieved between two opposites. Indicates tension of polarities.

  • Four segments: four elements of water, air, fire, and earth. The four suits of the minor arcana of cups, fire, air, and earth.

Symbols continued:

  • The four creatures surrounding the garland: The creatures are representative of The Vision of God from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel

The angel: represents emotions, the water element, and the suit of cups in the minor arcana

The Eagle: represents intellect, air element, and the suit of swords in the minor arcana

The Lion: represents creativity, fire element, and the suit of wands in the minor arcana

The Bull(Ox): represents material, earth element, and the suit of pentacles in the minor arcana. The bull is a symbol of powerful forces, stability, resistance, and stubbornness.

The World Vintage Tarot
The World XXI Tarot Vintage Arthur E.Waite

Other meanings found in the Rider Waite Symbols:

  • The four creatures at each corner of the World card represent the four fixed zodiac signs:

The Angel: The zodiac sign Aquarius. This fixed sign is protective. The angel symbolises the messages from the divine. An air sign

The Bull: The zodiac sign of Taurus. This is a fixed sign which is steady and stable but can be stubborn. The Bull represents the earth element.

The Eagle: The zodiac sign of Scorpio. This fixed sign is visionary and powerful. emotions are deep, and the power is transformative. Scorpio is a water sign.

The Lion: The zodiac sign of Leo and the fire element. This fixed sign is expressive, creative, brave, and proud as well.

The World XXI Rider Waite
The World XXI Rider Waite

  • The woman in the centre: The top half of her body is facing left and the bottom is facing right. This represents a contradiction or two opposite forces working together.

  • The wands in each hand: the wands reference the magician. The wand in the left hand is the subconscious (fears, beliefs, memories, and desires) and the wand in the right hand represents the conscious (actions, thoughts, and awareness)

  • Sash: Sash flows up and drags by the feet - an indication of opposites

  • The Wreath/Garland: the cycle of life and completeness or wholeness

When the World card appears it can mean the best possible outcomes:

  • Closure of stressful situation

  • Achievement, professional development

  • Self-discovery: finding a new career, passion, talent

  • Fulfillment: marriage, child

  • Travel, a new journey

  • Desired results

On the other hand, the World card can indicate;

  • Unable to move on after a hardship

  • Unable to move forward from a certain phase/situation

  • Imbalance

  • Stagnation

  • Resistance

When the World card shows up in the spread, here are some ways to read the card:

If the question is about relationships, the upright World card indicates that if you are in a current relationship, this relationship has gone up a level to something more serious and fulfilling. This card can also indicate a pregnancy or a marriage. If you are looking for love, don't be afraid to mingle. So get out there and meet new people. The view here is that there are some great possibilities because you are believing in yourself a lot more these days and things in your social life are going to become more interesting. When the World card is reversed, things still are potentially good. If you are in a relationship, you may be a little nervous if the relationship is getting more serious. Don't let yourself detach. Don't be afraid of meeting new people. A reverse World may indicate that the seeker is afraid of being themself. If a relationship has ended, it's time to close that chapter in their life.

If the question is about finances, an upright World card can indicate that money is not as big a problem has been. However, this card is not a sign to go crazy spending money. This means that it's time to put some money away and that you can spend on a few items that you have been really wanting for a while. The financial situation is a lot more comfortable these days.

If the World card appears reversed, it means that money issues have been bothering you, but just know that things will get better just don't spend the money you don't have yet. Wait until the money comes in before you make any purchases. It is important to save for the hard times. The reverse World card indicates a warning that some of the money coming in will be needed later, so do put some away for savings.

When the question is about career, an upright world card indicates some interesting work experience including some travel. You are working very hard and may not be compensated as much as you should be. There will be a need to advocate for yourself to get the salary and benefits you deserve. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself. This card can also indicate that you may want to look at how others in your profession do their job, i.e. is there career development required? This card is telling you that now is the time to talk about career development and advancement. If the World card is reversed, it's time to think about your potential. You may be stuck and need to motivate yourself by reviewing all the achievements you have made up to now and the things you want to achieve. You are also finding that you want to explore other fields of work. It would be a great idea to consult a career advisor. Think about what you are passionate about and do some research about what career you can make of it. Start by giving yourself credit and do not be afraid to speak about your achievements with your employer and colleagues.

When the question is about health, an upright World card indicates that you have made improvements in your physical well-being. You are really starting to advocate for yourself. Sometimes you just know when something is right for you to do even though it may be unusual. You are incorporating many alternative ways to take of yourself by using acupuncture, Reiki, yoga, and other healing energy modalities. If your medical doctor doesn't like it, you should still incorporate many alternative therapies. Just do not replace alternative healing modalities with prescribed medicine and therapies. You are also finding that you are a better advocate for your health. Your intuition is really speaking loudly, so listen to your intuition. A reversed World card is indicating that you are "stuck in a rut" and you may want to explore some unconventional therapies like energy healing modalities. These alternative therapies should be an addition to your medical therapies. Make sure that you listen to your intuition when it comes to doing what is right for your health.

Keywords: success, fulfillment, happiness, moving on to the next phase of life, achievement, closure, balance, fame, travel, journey, stagnation

Final note: Tarot is full of symbols and meanings, the above are suggestions. When reading tarot cards, it's important to start with a question and look at all the cards and where they are placed in the spread.


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