Basic Card Symbols
Woman or hermaphrodite dancing, a wreath in the shape of a Yoni (almond shaped circle), two wands, a cherub, an eagle, a lion, a bull.
Basic Tarot Story
The Fool turns to take that final step along his final path, and finds, to his bemusement that he is right back where he started, at the edge of that very same cliff he almost stepped over when he was young and too foolish to look where he was going. But now he sees his position very differently. He thought he could separate body and mind, learn all about one, then leave it to learn about the other. But in the end, it is all about self, mind and body, past and future, the individual, and the world. All one. As above, so below, and all opposites are each other, including the Fool and the Mystic who are both doorways to the secrets of the universe. With a knowing smile, the Fool takes that final step right off the cliff...and soars. Higher and higher, until the whole of the world is his to see. And there he dances, surrounded by a yoni of stars, one with the universe. Ending, in a sense, where he began, beginning again at the end. The world turns, and the Fool journey is complete.
Basic Tarot Meaning
The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. The Dancer has one leg crossed over the other, just like the Hanged man. She is, in a sense, his opposite, the hanged man right-side-up. As the Hanged Man saw infinitely inward, the Dancer sees infinitely outward. Which brings us to the Lion, Bull, Cherub and Eagle standing for Leo, Taurus, Aquarius and Scorpio, the fixed signs of the Zodiac (these link the ever turning World card to the ever turning Wheel of Fortune), and so symbolic of the four elements, four compass points and the four corners of the universe. All within the Dancer's sight and power.
Thus, the World card, very aptly, represents a successful conclusion, all aspects accounted for and taken in. Simply put, this card tells the Querent that the end to a long-term project is in sight, and that it will be accompanied by well-earned praise, celebration and success. With Saturn as its ruling planet, this card can also indicate that the Querent, now an expert in their subject, is likely to become a teacher or sought-after lecturer. And, finally, on a more mundane level, the World card indicates travel, not short business trips, but long, fantastic trips. Maybe a lecture tour, book signing, or just a trip around the world. This is a wonderful card of wholeness, perfection, satisfaction and happiness.
There are three possible things I usually see in this card when it comes up, sometimes combined, sometimes not:
(1) Everything finally coming together, successfully and at last. The Querent will get that Ph.D. they've been working for years to complete, they'll graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. The Querent's hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; they've done everything right.
(2) Maybe because of their success, the Querent is about to become a teacher, a Sensei, if you will. Revered for their expertise.
(3) And maybe, because of this, they're going to be offered a job or trip to some amazing place. They're asked to lecture in a remote city in India, spend a month at the North Pole, teach on board a boat sailing round the globe. No boring little trip for this person, no sir! Luckily for them, the World card indicates that they'll feel comfortable and welcome no matter where they go. The World card indicates a person who owns nothing, because everything is theirs. No place is their home because every place is their home. It's all one, all complete.