After every obstacle has been faced and surmounted, after every path has been travelled and charted, there remains only the last step to the next level of existence - the World, the final gateway. After the union of the conscious and unconscious, the mind and the body, in Judgement, all that can remain is union with the Divine in whatever form it appears to you. This journey is over and the next is only beginning. The cycle is complete as last, with the vindication of the traveler and the immortality he has gained through development of the self. It would seem that the Fool's Journey may not have been so foolish after all.
This card, as befits its nature, has the same basic symbolism in almost all of its myriad version. There are the four cherubs embodying their domains; The bull for matter, the lion for energy, the eagle for time and the man for space. Together they represent the unifed creation and control of all things in the Universe. Another common motif is the dancer in the centre, with her twin wands. The wand is that of the Magician, but it has now multiplied, and the need to ground its magical power has vanished because it has become one with its source of power. Positive and negative can be seen as two parts of the same whole. One is many. Many are one.
The World could be thought of as a time of rest, the time between death and life where the soul awaits reincarnation in the material world and - for the briefest of periods - becomes one with the universe from which it came. All the lessons learned have been put to use. All the tasks accomplished have born fruit and brought prosperity. Every cause has had its effects and all of the diverse threads of effects have been woven into a tapestry of your life as you have lived it. Now is a time to enjoy your wisdom, savour your prosperity and admire the personal artwork you have created, for soon you will start it all over again.
The journey may have stopped for the moment, and it may have transcended the plane on which you started, but the journey of the soul never ends. A new beginning is found in the end, the pieces are in place for a new journey to start, and after that one is completed, another will surely commence. After a glimpse of the Divine you return to manifestation, sure of your convictions and in your ability to someday see the face of God again. The cycle is as endless as the wreath that surrounds the scene, tied together by the ribbons of Divine force, and spiraling around the universe until the end of time.
The World card marks a time in your life in which one cycle is over and the next is just beginning. It represents the final achievement of all your worldly expectations and desires, and the immenent approach of new desires to follow and new goals to puruse. The World itself remains the ultimate goal, because it is an affirmation of life and an arrival at a perfect state of harmony and bliss. This is the confirmation of success and the reward for all your trials and ordeals. With the coming of the World comes assured success and material well-being, as well as emotional fulfillment, and growth in the spiritual sense.
In the material world, this card's energy often manifests as a promotion to a higher position or an initiation to a new level of knowledge that was only dreamed of before. But this time of rejoicing and happiness, this peak of ecstasy, merely gives us a glimpse of the next mountain on the horizon. So once again you must step up ot the cliff and leap off, ready to start a new Fool's journey and find what secrets lie in this new level of existence. The cycle of the Major Arcana begins where it ends and ends where it begins; start and finish are no longer the ends of straight line, but coincident points on the circumference of a circle that encapsulates your life. The present is now. The future is now. Eternity is now.Copyright 2000 James Rioux