The World key, the last in the Major Arcana, is the reversal of The Hanged Man we saw so many keys ago. Here, the figure stands upright, the triangle formed by the legs forming a cross. Another triangle, formed by the arms and head, points upward, signifying that at last Spirit prevails. The two wands represent both involution and evolution, finding the balance sought by The Magician.
Some Tarot scholars maintain that, while the figure appears female, the scarf hides hermaphrodite features, indicating once again the need for balance of male and female energies. Psychologist Carl Jung would call this a blending of the anima and animus, the unconscious and the conscious, coming together in the superconscious, the destination to which all the keys have led.
The wreath surrounding the figure represents the world, and the red ribbon holding the wreath together is the lemniscate of eternal thought, as we saw in The Magician and Strength keys. The four beasts in the corners are the same beasts we saw in The Wheel of Fortune key, in a slightly different form. They represent the four elements – fire, air, earth and water.
Repeatedly throughout the Major Arcana we have seen the theme of balance (or the need for it). As The Fool has journeyed through physical, emotional and spiritual challenges, s/he has constantly sought this balance – in light and dark, red and white, water and fire, earth and air, mind, body and spirit. Here at last The World awaits The Fool on the Path to Enlightenment.
But wait! As in our lives, just when we think we’ve reached a point of illumination, there’s more. Next week we begin our journey, along with The Fool, through the four suits of the Minor Arcana, beginning with Cups.
While the symbols of the Major Arcana have been deep and plentiful, there is much, much more to learn, in the symbols of the Minor Arcana. Just as in our lives, The Fool’s journey never really ends, and the wheel spins again, and again, and again!