21 The World – Rider-Waite

21 The World - Rider-Waite Major Arcana

The World Keywords

Assured success, recompense, voyage, route, emigration, flight, change of residence.

The World Reversed Keywords

Inertia, fixity, stagnation, permanence.

Rider-Waite – The World Description

The  Universe shows the end of a phase, which has its new beginnings as a seed within. Moving to a new home or country; emigration.

As this final message of the Major Trumps is unchanged – and indeed unchangeable – in respect of its design, it has been partly described already regarding its deeper sense. It represents also the perfection and end of the Cosmos, the secret which is within it, the rapture of the universe when it understands itself in God. It is further the state of the soul in the consciousness of Divine Vision, reflected from the self-knowing spirit. But these meanings are without prejudice to that which I have said on the material side.

It has more than one message on the macro-cosmic side and is, for example, the state of the restored world when the law of manifestation shall have been carried to the highest degree of natural perfection. But it is perhaps more especially a story of the past, referring to that day when all was declared to be good, when the morning stars sang together and all the Sons of God shouted for joy. One of the worst explanations concerning it is that the figure symbolizes the Magus when he has reached the highest degree of initiation; another account says that it represents the absolute, which is ridiculous. The figure has been said to stand for Truth, which is, however, more properly allocated to the seventeenth card. Lastly, it has been called the Crown of the Magi.

A.E. Waite

Rider-Waite The World symbols

  • Kerubs
  • Wreath
  • Crossed legs
  • blue-violet


Voyage: L’homme et Les Quadrupedes






Route, Walk, Gait, Change of Place, Peregrination, Visit, Flight, Foray, Emigration, Transmigration. Judge. Collapse, Rotation, Circulation. Disorient, Disconcert.

Voyage reversed meanings

Earth, Matter, Mud, Sludge, Silt. Prima Materia, Sulfur and Mercury, Salt of the Sages, Coldness, Dense. Gnomic, World, Terrestrial Globe, State, Kingdom, Empire. Terrain, Territory, Possessions, Rural Properties. Presence, Permanence, Fixitity, Stagnation. Inertia. Animals, Beast. Sepulcher, Tomb.Ash, Powder, Dust. Philosophic Salt.


Paul Foster Case

21. Le Monde

Corresponds, through the letter Tau, to the planet Saturn. Its meaning in a divinatory layout depends much on the position of the cards which surround it and their general meaning. Usually it refers to the matter concerning which the question is made.

Le Monde

Well-dignified it signifies success, a favorable issue to the circumstances. Sometimes change of place. 


XXI.  Neptune

Appropriated to the world of men, it must mean 1 that which falls outside our will-power, cosmic conditions to which we are subject, but which at the f same time provide us with all that is wanted for our physical conditions. The latter of course became the reason for attaching to this card a generally benefic influence, especially in the domain of the senses. “It is eloquent as an image of the swirl of the sensitive life, of joy attained in the body, of the soul’s intoxication — (can any word remind us more strongly of Neptune’s workings than precisely this one: ‘intoxication’? — Th.) — in the earthly paradise, but still guarded by the Divine Watchers …” (W.) Let us put it this way: it means that if we row with the cosmic tide, we shall enjoy happiness and everything we want, but on the other hand we must not neglect the implicit possibility, that when rowing against the tidal current of the world, we shall experience trouble and no end of it, or if we ‘cross the stream’ we shall have to stand firm on our legs.

Ouspensky: XXI


The World as it is. Nature in its noumenal aspect. Esoteric side of nature. That which is made known in esoterism. Inner reality of things. Human consciousness in the circle of time between the four elements.


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1The Magician - Rider-Waite Major Arcana

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