The World


"What is rooted is easy to nourish.
What is recent is easy to correct.
What is brittle is easy to break.
What is small is easy to scatter.

Prevent trouble before it arises.
Put things in order before they exist.
The giant pine tree grows from a tiny sprout.
The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet.

Rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
you ruin what was almost ripe.

Therefore the Master takes action by letting things take their course.
He remains as calm at the end as at the beginning.
He has nothing, thus has nothing to lose.
What he desires is non-desire; what he learns is to unlearn.
He simply reminds people of who they have always been.
He cares about nothing but the Tao.
Thus he can care for all things."

- Tao Te Ching, Chapter 64

The World - Waite Smith
The World - Thoth

Associations / Attributions

Alternate Card Titles
The Universe
Hermetic Title
The Great One of the Night of Time
Hebrew Letter
Tau (Mark/Seal)
Sephirotic Path
Yesod (Foundation) to Malkut (Kingdom)
Potential Uses
To complete a project

Card Meanings / Keywords

Golden Dawn

The matter/subject itself, world, kingdom.


Assured success, voyage, recompense, change of place. Reversed: Inertia, stagnation, permanence.


The matter of the question itself, delay, opposition, obstinancy, patience, perseverance, the crystallization of the matter.


The matter come to fruition, boundaries, completeness.


The World brings about manifestation and completion; it is the order and discipline of the expanse of time and space into which physical bodies are formed. The World is the authority which all of manifest creation must obey. There is little choice in this matter as the choice was already made when a being is born into this realm…when you were born into this realm.

Related to the astrological Saturn, it is both the outermost and innermost reaches of creation. It is the pole and pillar on which creation turns. The serpent of wisdom coils, climbs, and protects this axis around which the manifest dances a brilliant and hypnotizing display. All of the joys and passions as well as the sorrows and tragedies of life in this embodied world are here to be experienced. In the sphere of the World one stands at the outward and inward boundaries as they cycle into each other. All that passes through here is never lost but may be transformed. While the World is the greatest treasure of this realm—it is the realm itself—it is not the only one. Other realms may come to bring gifts, gifts of novelty not yet seen in this world. Yet these realms must pass through the gateway and guardian of this goddess to do so. If you seek to bring through something truly not of this world—something not yet seen by the eyes, heard by the ears, tasted by the tongue—it would be wise to build a compassionate and respectful relationship with the Mother of All.


Deep in the earth she sleeps
Past the river of dreams
Through the sanctuary of bears and beasts
Upon a throne under a canopy of stars
Still waters stir with a sound
Heaven comes not from above
But from within the womb
To be born from the inside out
We must wear the mantle of all who have come before
In the flesh, in the blood, in the memories
Held by the mother of all magicians

What are the outer and inner boundaries of my life in this world? What is my relationship to the goddess who sleeps in the earth and dreams of creation? Where is the axis of the world?