The World represents fullness, fulfillment, wholeness, and freedom. Success.
In the RWS depiction, the wreath around the dancer is round (it is diamond shaped here in the Efflorescent). The round wreath echos the 0 (zero) of the Fool. Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom states, “The oval wreath suggests the number 0, with all its symbolism. It implies as well the cosmic egg, the archetype of emergence; all things exist in potential and all potentials are realized. The self is everywhere in all things” (139). Likewise, the sash around the dancer’s waist mimics the infinity symbol which reminds us both “as above, so below” and “as within, so without.” But the World tells us there is no division between above and below, within and without. All is one.
The Fool and the World each represent a kind of wholeness and confidence, though the World seems to symbolize a more “wise” whole. Reaching the World card takes one through each card on the Fool’s Journey, many experiences will shape who we will ultimately become. We may have stumbled along the way, or even fallen backwards at certain points. When we reach the World, there is a dissolution of petty separateness. We clearly see the the universe as a whole and ourselves as a whole within the greater unity. It symbolizes the oneness of our super-conscious, conscious, and unconscious. At the end of the Fool’s Journey, the World is enlightenment or nirvana.
I really enjoy this observation from Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life, “The inclusiveness of World consciousness naturally extends to those outside the human family. The spirituality of Native Americans is rooted in a profound connectedness to animals, plants, and the earth itself. … People of these tribes would refer not to a mountain or the mountain, but simply ‘mountain,’ as in ‘we went to Mountain, followed Sun, saw Fox and Bear.’ … Directly addressing the object … further enhances the sense of connection and engenders almost instant feelings of intimacy. We start to see the soul of the thing” (140).
These are pretty heavy concepts, so the World can also symbolize success, union, or resolution in a reading.
I absolutely love the Animal Wisdom Tarot depiction and name of card twenty-one. The whale as “The All-Encompassing.” The name seems more fitting than “The World” to me.
A shadow of the World could be being too far up in the clouds and not dealing with necessary details. An opposite or reverse meaning of the World could be failing to see the whole by paying too much attention to the small things.
If I were to assign an element to the World, it would be all four: air, earth, fire, and water. The World is perfect unity and balance!
I feel most connected to the universe when I am out in nature. I particularly love going on walks with my sweetheart. We took a super long walk today and saw some ducks and a woodpecker and sat and watched the wind blow across a pond. All the little things seem to dissolve on these special outings together. There’s just us in the moment, a part of the world around us.
As I’ve discussed at length, I don’t always feel at home in the world around me. I’m making great strides, but I have a long way to go. This is a big card to live up to though, so I don’t feel bad about not having acheived that which is embodied in the World. It’s a good goal, but I don’t know how many people will ever reach it! At least not in one lifetime. I still value it as a reminder of the connection of all things and all people.
The Sun symbolizes clarity, joy, simplicity, knowledge, and openness. When considering the third row of the Major Arcana as a whole, the Sun is significant: from darkness (in the Devil and Tower) to light (from the Star, to the Moon, to the Sun). What was in shadow in the light of the Moon is now clearly seen.
The Sun is a card of self-confidence. It can represent a harmonious joining of our eternal selves and our mortal selves or the discovery of our own inner Garden of Eden. When we have made the connection between our inner light or eternal self and our mortal self, how could we be anything but confident? To know that such beauty and power lies within us is empowering and joyful indeed! The joy of the Fool has been transformed into a joy bred of self-knowledge and experience.
I love this statement by Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life: “‘Light is above us, and color around us,’ observed Goethe, ‘but if we have not light and color in our eyes, we shall not perceive them outside us.’ The brighter our inner Sun, the more apt we are to see the Sun in the world (as within, so without)” (128). Quinn also relates the card to our inner child and says this is not a refusal to see that which is painful or bad in the world — but rather the knowledge that goodness burns brighter and will outlast these things (129). One of the keywords the Animal Wisdom Tarot assign the Sun is “radiance.”
As card 19, 1 and 9 make us think of the Magician and the Hermit. The Magician reminds us of the “as within, so without” adage, and in the Sun, the Hermit has climbed out of his cave radiant and whole. 1 + 9 = 10 (The Wheel of Fortune), which indicates that even though the Sun might seem like the end of the Fool’s Journey we still have some changes in store.
As the sun in the sky is a source of life, the Sun card might lead us to ask “What is sustaining me and supporting me right now?” And if we are full of Sun energy ourselves, what are we doing to help sustain others?
A shadow of the Sun could be being a little too cocky, perhaps in assuming the world revolves around you. Another shadow could be false cheer, only as an outward performance. An opposite or reverse of the Sun could be refusing to see the light and good of things, keeping your own light from the world, or having low self-esteem.
If I were to assign an element to the Sun, it would be fire, air, and water. Fire for joy, air for knowledge, and water for spiritual harmony.
Honestly, the most Sun-like part of my life is practicing tarot. I’ve tried many things (all kinds of hobbies, not only spiritual practices) and enjoyed them, but nothing has gotten me so fired up and excited and sure that I can be awesome at something as tarot has. I’m loving every second of it. I have the privilege of staying at home right now, and I spend probably four hours a day usually studying tarot. And the time flies! I mean seriously flies. I already have plans in the works to set up an online reading business, but I’m waiting to learn more and save up for starting costs. Even so, I think about it every day. I look into logos and LLCs and how others do email readings and all kinds of things. Tarot makes me confident in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been. I feel empowered and good at something and wildly enthusiastic! Tarot is my Sun-place, and hopefully that will eventually leak out into other parts of my life that could use a little more self-confidence.
Time to reflect on my progress in each elemental area. The full moon gives me a chance to regularly check in with myself to see how I am doing and whether I am well-balanced or need work in a particular area.
I have been more physically active lately. I’ve been hula hooping, and I started lifting small weights again a couple of days ago. I’m not totally on track yet, but I’m on the right track. It’s been too cold to get out on the trail, which is a bummer.
I’ve also been better at making actual meals instead of just eating whatever the easiest thing at hand is. So that’s good.
The apartment is a bit cleaner. I’ve set up a new chore schedule to help me stay on top of things on a weekly basis. This week it isn’t going so well with Thanksgiving excitement, but next week will be better.
I haven’t been very motivated lately. I have a lot of things that need doing, and the lack of motivation is turning into stress as my tasks pile up. There’s not actually that many things I need to do, but without much motivation, it seems like a lot. I think this is just a more or less natural dip in motivation as the weather gets colder and the semester winds down. The next couple of weeks might be tough, but I’ll be fine.
It’s been so-so in this area. I’ve certainly been feeling a lot, but a good bit has been fear and anxiety due to a few different circumstances. However, I’ll give myself credit for handling these feelings in a much healthier way than in the past. Rather than totally letting them take over my body, I control what I can. I dig up the root of the the feeling, and even if I can’t banish it, I do tarot readings and create positive self-talk to help dampen the feeling (at least somewhat) until it passes.
Intellectually, I’ve been enjoying my school work. I also continue to do a better job of letting my brain rest and just being whether I am alone or with other people. It’s a nice feeling, and the world hasn’t crumbled around me.
It’s been a good month with some really hard bits thrown in there. I haven’t made as much progress between my last Full Moon Reflection and now as I would have hoped, but I have made progress, and for now I am content with that. I’m not stagnant, and I’m not moving backwards. My main focus has been Earth and Water, and the baby steps I’ve made there feel significant even if they don’t seem like it when I look closely at the changes I’ve made. I’m eating meals, I’m moving my body, I’m cleaning my home, and I’m trying my best to stay on top of negative emotions. I’m not winning at these every day, but that’s not the point today. I’ll go ahead and give myself a pat on the back.
This card stands for inner balance, calmness, synthesis, control, and moderation. It is the last card of the second row of the Major Arcana, and as such, represents the success of self-discovery and self-confidence. Where the Chariot stood for a willed balance of worldly success, Temperance is about inner equilibrium, and seems to feel more “natural” than the balance of the Chariot. It’s more of a comfortable mixing of one’s self with the outer world. We can see this in the Efflorescent Tarot depiction: the angel has one foot on the water (inner, emotional self) and the other on earth (the physical, outer world). It can also be a symbol of peacemaking or mediation.
Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life says that Temperance helps us to accept the contradictions inherent in not only life, but within ourselves: “selfish and generous, deliberate and spontaneous, forceful and gentle, caring and cruel … Temperance reminds us that we are already ‘enough’ as well as works in progress” (102-103).
A shadow of Temperance could be fearing extremes. An opposite or reverse of Temperance could be existing in extremes, losing control, or an excess or lack.
If I were to assign an element to Temperance, it might actually be all four as Temperance speaks to a balance in seemingly contradictory parts of ourselves. I may place an emphasis on water and earth as symbols of a balance between inner and outer worlds.
This is a card I can relate to as a goal I can see in my future and that I wish to attain. But certainly not one I already have a good grasp on.
I think my two biggest contradictory personality traits are being a people pleaser and not tolerating bs. My biggest challenge here is both being kind and compassionate and remaining true to myself and not getting walked all over. I tend to vacillate between the two, but it’d be awfully nice to find a peaceful middle where I was confident in my ability to both be a good, kind person and to be honest and respected. To get there I have to accept that I can’t please people at all times and still have a voice of my own, nor can I be intolerant of other people’s blunders or eccentricities and be an understanding person.
As far as the symbol of being a peacemaker or mediator, that is a role I have played to an extreme for much of my life. Even mediation can be done to an extreme! I poured my whole self into attempting to balance the emotions of others and in the process completely missed out on getting to know myself or creating balance in my own life. Since I didn’t have appropriate boundaries, I’m now learning what it means to balance my own needs with others. It’s a weird experience, and I feel selfish sometimes, but I have to remind myself that taking care of myself is a part of the balance of life if I’m going to have a quality life.
One unlikely relationship pairing in my life was very uncomfortable for many years. We were a part of each other’s lives, like it or not, and we finally both decided to try making our relationship a positive thing. It was a process the required creativity, patience, perseverance, and compromise. But through this process, it has become an incredibly rewarding relationship. We seemed like oil and water, but once we finally were able to get beneath our outer personality presentations, we actually have a good bit in common on a deeper level. It doesn’t mean it’s always roses, but there’s a lot of goodness I would have completely missed out on had I not participated in this process. Temperance may sound like a boring concept, but it can be hard work, and the outcome can be extraordinarily fulfilling.
This card symbolizes honesty with one’s self, truthfulness, and, well, justice. In the position of card 11, it is directly in the middle of the Major Arcana (if we set the Fool aside). This further speaks to the balance indicated by this card. Justice takes both the action of the Magician and the intuition and introspection of the High Priestess in order to make decisions.
Once we make decisions in our life, they often cannot be revoked. Because of this, we are shaped by the choices we make and must be willing to look inside ourselves honestly in order to make better choices as we continue on our journey. This is where we take responsibility for the choices we have made on our Wheel of Fortune. If we assume nothing is in our control, we take no responsibility for who we are and have become because of our various choices. Justice asks us to look closely and own what we have indeed controlled and chosen. This is what will keep us from patterns that we can in fact change. Justice reminds us of free will.
Part of the balance of Justice is also continuing to acknowledge that which we do not have control over. Take responsibility for what we do control and don’t torture ourselves by trying to control what we can’t.
In addition to being honest with ourselves, Justice reminds us to be fair and honest with others as well. Just can serve as a reminder to right a wrong.
I like some of the questions Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life suggests Justice might ask us: “‘We partner with the Justice archetype whenever we pause for a self check: “What do I need to do to right myself and be kinder to my body?” “Is my behavior in harmony with the loving capacities of my Highest Self?” “How am I ‘off kilter’ right now, and what will bring me into alignment?”‘” (87) All this responsibility might make us feel guilty, but Quinn reminds us that Justice is also about giving ourselves unconditional love, which will help us to be honest and then move forward, rather than be trapped in shame (88).
A shadow of Justice would be judging too harshly or with bad intent. The opposite / reverse of the card could be imbalance, refusal or inability to see the truth, inequality, or failing to take responsibility for one’s actions.
At position eight, Justice could symbolize the honesty and balance needed to journey with the Hermit. Strength at position eleven is another form of balance, but a strength that would come from having moved through the Justice and Hermit cards rather than the strength needed to move on to the Hermit. I’d like to look into this more, but right now I don’t have a great grasp on how their two possible positions might change their meanings. A research post for another day perhaps.
If I were to assign an element to Justice, it would be air since air directly involves issues of truth and justice.
This card isn’t an easy one for me. I’m often honest with myself, sometimes brutally so. It’s Paul Quinn’s reminder about loving myself anyway that I really struggle with. When my life is the most out of whack, when I am a truly hot mess, I am getting better at being both honest and compassionate with myself. But it’s the climb back to equilibrium that is the hardest. When I’ve fallen so far, it takes a little while to get back to a good place, and I am much better at being gentle with myself in this transition period. However, it feels like many times this is exactly when I am scolded from the outside. Which crushes me since I’m rebuilding self-esteem and feeling good about the baby step progress that is happening. This happened tonight, and I am not in a good place right now. When I’m slowly but surely climbing back up the mountain, I really don’t need people pointing at the peak and saying, “Why aren’t you there right now?” I know I am screwing up. But I also know that I did better than yesterday. I can’t snap my fingers and create balance in an instant.
This card its below the High Priestess in the Major Aracana’s three rows of seven, and these two cards are certainly similar. While the High Priestess represents intuition and the unconscious, the Hermit seems to represents a more conscious withdrawal into the unconscious or into one’s self for the purpose of contemplation related to a particular circumstance or issue. The Hermit also represents a wise guide helping us on our journey, which could be our own inner voice, or the voice of a person in our life. In this way, the Hermit is more connected to the outside world than the High Priestess and more focused on the exploration of the self, and she represents a temporary withdrawal from the outer world. If others wish to follow her into introspection or seclusion, she will welcome them and teach them.
The six-pointed star in the Efflorescent Tarot’s Hermit represents the combination of fire and water. The owl in the Animal Wisdom Tarot (“Keeper of the Light”) represents vision in darkness. I’m curious about the headless fish in Huszka’s portrayal, but I don’t have any ideas at this point for what they may represent. I love Joanna’s red panda Hermit!
A shadow of the Hermit could be feelings of isolation or fear of other people. The opposite / reverse of the Hermit could be a refusal to examine oneself, or it could indicate a “coming out of one’s shell” and taking life less seriously.
If I were to assign an element to the Hermit it might be water, air, and fire. Fire for the courage needed to honestly examine oneself; water for the unconscious aspect of the self exploration; and air for the wisdom represented by the Hermit.
I am intensely “Hermit-ing” in my own life right now. And I think I’m doing a pretty decent job of not being completely withdrawn. I retreat from the world to reflect and I go back out and try to put into action what I’ve learned about myself. While there’s still plenty to learn, I think this is the best I’ve done in a long time of being more Hermit-like than High Priestess-like (being trapped in my inner world, even when I need to leave).
I think at this moment in time, I also embody both the shadow and the reverse of the Hermit. Isolation and fear of others and trying to come out of my shell anyway.
When the cards of the Major Arcana (with the Fool set aside) are placed in three rows of seven, the Chariot is the last card of the first row. This first row represents maturation and the development of ourselves as individuals. It represents the ability to control the dualistic parts of ourselves, but this does not mean that our duality is integrated — just willfully controlled. The ego represents the “I” that mediates between the id (primitive impulses) and the super-ego (social and cultural rules), and the Chariot is a symbol of the ego. The Fool on her Fool’S Journey has learned the lessons of the previous cards and has emerged as an individual capable of self-control and of asserting her will. The Chariot can also symbolize victory, forward movement, a journey, or goals.
A shadow of the Chariot is being overly confident or feeling that your only worth comes from your accomplishments. The opposite / reverse of the Chariot is being out of control or lacking purpose.
If I were to assign an element to the Chariot, I think it would be fire and air as elements of willpower.
So far this has been a tough card for me to really connect with. I’m looking forward to doing the reading for the Chariot later today so that I can explore it on a deeper, more personal level. I do like the symbolism of the Chariot as the “victory” at the end of the first row of seven Major Arcana cards. The accomplishment of maturing and balancing outer demands with inner impulses is an important step in our journeys, even if there are many steps to go 🙂
The Lovers can represent relationships, love, connection, and choice. In the Fool’s Journey, it can be representative of adolescence: the Magician and High Priestess are archetypes of “feminine” and “masculine” energies; the Empress and Emperor represent parents; and the Emperor and Hierophant represent larger social structures. From this perspective, the Lovers indicate a time of making choices based on one’s own desires, such as when a teenager begins to question the authority of those around them and to experience romantic / sexual feelings.
While the Lovers in the traditional RWS deck and here in the Efflorescent deck are presented as male and female, this doesn’t inherently have to be heteronormative in regards to the sexual/romantic element of the card. Male and female are used as archetypes, but really we each contain a mix of so-called “male” and “female” characteristics. The Lovers represent the “wholeness” that comes when we connect with others. The characteristics I have are complemented / completed by the characteristics of my sweetheart. This creation of wholeness is not limited to a romantic couple. Romantic partnerships come in many numbers and formations. The lovers represent connection in a broader sense as well, so our families and friends are essential relationships / connections. Together, we are more than pieces of archetypes; we come together to create a wholeness that does not exist when we are alone. Human are social creatures.
I said in my first exploration of the Lovers:
I like the way that Paul Quinn explains love and connection within this card. “Sifted down to its essence, the Lovers Trump is not only an exclusive representation of the union of sweethearts and sexual partners (eros), it embraces the deep connections between soul mates and friends (philia). And at the other, less personal, end of the spectrum, the Lovers encompasses the unconditional, universal love for all beings (agape)” (66).
He also frames the cards as union or integration between “head and heart, conscious and unconscious, light and dark” (65). This again speaks to a balance of duality within our own selves. Reason constrains, so alone it would not facilitate advancement on our spiritual journeys. Passions frees, but without direction who knows where we’d end up. Joined together reason and passion are powerful.
I think the Animal Wisdom Tarot’s honeybee is a beautiful representation of not only partnership, but with a wider, universal connection / love. Bees work together for the good of the hive and are communally connected in ways that humans are not.
The shadow of this card could indicate codependency, possessiveness, and over-reliance on others. The opposite / reverse of the Lovers could be a lack of connection, unwillingness to connect to others through a lack of trust or fear of intimacy, or antagonism or lack of cooperation.
If I were to assign an element the Lovers, it would be water and earth since they speak to a meaningful (emotional, water) connection with others (outside ourselves, earth). It could probably just as easily be fire and air when it speaks to the balance between passion and intellect. At this moment in time, the water/earth assignment speaks most to me, but that could change with time! So depending on the context of this card, really it could be any of the four elements.
For such a long time, I kept myself at an arm’s distance from others because getting any closer seemed like a guaranteed way to get hurt. And really, it still feels that way, but I can’t be so lonely anymore. I do crave connection, and I desire it enough to travel into “unsafe” territory to try and make those connections. By unsafe territory, I don’t mean actually dangerous situations: I am allowing myself to get closer to the people I already love, which feels “unsafe” because of my background. Sometimes I make good steps, and sometimes I retreat pretty quickly when I feel I may be rejected.
Within myself, I am certainly a combination of “masculine” and “feminine” traits. I can go back and forth between periods of intense activity and deep introspection. I am very reason-oriented, but I am also passionate. Those two overlap quite a bit. My sweetheart is more silly and mellow, and I’ve learned many good lessons from him.
This is the first of my New Moon Wellspring posts. I plan to write each new moon about the opportunities that lay before me. This will help me to be aware of these opportunities and to plan how I will take advantage of them rather than let them pass me by.
I need to be more active! I have the time and the means to move my body: lift weights, do yoga, go for more walks, Sweat to the Oldies, hula hoop.
Action plan: I will work out at least 3 times per week.
I need to eat more! I’ve gotten out of the habit of making sure I eat three meals a day that aren’t some combination of ice cream, granola bars, cereal, or oatmeal.
Action plan: Create a weekly menu, including easy lunches.
I have several unfinished craft projects and creative hobbies I’ve been neglecting. Sewing, crocheting, piano, writing.
Action plan: Pick one of these and work on it for at least an hour a week. (Baby steps!)
Tarot is a continuing opportunity to grow spiritually.
Action plan: Continue studying tarot daily, and keep practicing meditation (even if I’m not too good at it so far).
Emotionally, I have the opportunity to grow closer with my family of choice.
Action plan: Don’t clam up when I get nervous. Make a conscious effort to open up and share my thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Put myself out there.
Finishing my class this semester is an opportunity to grow intellectually.
Action plan: Do a better job of reading every day so that I don’t have to rush through the books the day before class. Then I can enjoy them more and absorb more of the information.