NAMES: World, Universe, Unity

BASIC DESCRIPTION: In the center of the card is the Woman of the World, who floats as if in the sky. She is naked except for a purple (royalty) banner draped spirally around the length of her body. The banner, as well as her long multi-colored hair, are blowing in the breeze. Her legs are crossed in the same manner as the Hanged Man. She holds double-tipped wands in each of her partially-outstretched hands. Both the wands are white, but the one in her left hand seems to have a shadow on it. I'm wondering about the shadowing on this card now. . .
The Woman is encircled in a wreath, which looks to me like a certain pine or fir that grows here in Switzerland. It's very soft to the touch. The wreath forms an oval, which is bound or decorated with red ribbons top and bottom in sideways figure-eights. In the four corners are the four dudes that I see everywhere and can't really get any solid info on. I would appreciate any contributions. Interesting that in these creatures' two appearances in this deck, they are surrounded by clouds.
FIRST THING THAT STRUCK ME: The wreath encircles and protects the woman, while the four creatures guard her from the four perimeter stations.
TIME: eternity

TRADITIONAL MEANINGS UPRIGHT: Assured success, recompense, voyage, route, emigration, flight, change of place.
Connection, harmony, accomplishment, "On top of the world," triumph, rewards, reaching a goal. Cosmic consciousness, eternal life, peace and joy in a new home, travel, joyous return home, completion, ideal place to be, live or work - Paradise.

TRADITIONAL MEANINGS REVERSED: Inertia, fixity, stagnation, permanence.
Failures, plans dashed, unrewarded efforts, trouble in the home, strong attachment to the physical/material.

BIBLICAL: Four Evangelists: Matthew - Man; Mark - Lion; Luke - Bull; John - Eagle
Also Creation, Wheel of Ezekiel, Revelations, . . .
Four Creatures.html
MYTHOLOGICAL: . . . Arthurian legend, Four Sons of Horus(?)
ASTROLOGICAL: (1) Moon. The Light IS the Veil. (2) Jupiter--luck, expansion; (GD) Saturn

ANIMAL/INSECT: eagle, lion, bull, man; turtle, tetramorph; daddy-longlegs
PLANTS/TREES: evergreen for eternal life, or bay laurel for victory
OILS: Vetivert (Vetiveria zizanoides), Oakmoss (Evernia prunastri), Myrtle (Myrtus communis) 

MUSIC: Bob and Ziggy Marley; Music of the Spheres. Not that I know what that sounds like, but my intuition tells me it's appropriate.
BOOK: Everville by Clive Barker. When Phoebe is in the dream sea of Quiddity:
"She felt the limits of her body dissolving, as though she and the waters and the weeds were no longer quite distinct. There was nothing unpleasant or distressing about this. Quite the reverse. The more she spread, the more of her there was to feel pleasure, her sensations flowing out into the stems and the pods and the swaying element in which she floated, then returning in waves to the soft vessel of her body, which in turn spread wider to accommodate the feelings, so that body and feelings kept on growing, each feeding off the other's advancement.
"Tomorrow maybe, or the day after, she'd let *Phoebe* go, and be unmade into everything. But before that happened - before her body slipped from her and went into the world - she wanted to enjoy its particulars a little longer . . ."
OCCUPATIONS: (topless) dancer, model, tour guide, circus performer, photographer; cartographer, geologist, geographer

PEOPLE OR SITUATIONS IN MY LIFE: Reminds me of when I "lose myself."
PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Unity at the end of the Cycle. Or as Waite says, "the perfection and end of the Cosmos, the secret which is within it, the rapture of the universe when it understands itself in God.
I agree fairly wholeheartedly with Waite's description. I also think that when one comprehends, not just in their head, but with their heart, this concept Unity and the connectedness it gives to all things, then you have found the Philosophers' Stone, because you see the gold in everything.
I read somewhere that the World represents the result of the Hanged Man's sacrifice. To achieve 'at-one-ment,' you must surrender "self"-consciousness. Unity is increased proportionally to decrease in Ego. For example, the Unity of marriage requires the "sacrifice" of all other lovers.


Do not weep for me,
This is not my country,
I have lived banish'd
from my true country,
I now go back there, I return
to the celestial sphere
where every one goes
in his turn.

Walt Whitman

OTHER DECKS (PICS): Of my five decks, the Native American differs the most. This card features a woman riding on a giant turtle, who is also carrying a large, vine-laden tree.
My other decks all feature a woman floating in the center, with legs crossed. But they vary from the Waite in the following ways:
Golden Dawn: woman has a star under her foot and moon over her head, blue drape around her, left hand is raised, two wands have something like a string hanging from the top, she is draped with a blue banner. The wreath around her is made up of twelve circles, coloring based on the spectrum - from red to violet clockwise, and linked by a ring of 72 "pearls," celestial background, four creatures seem to be more zodiacal.
Palladini: woman also has left are raised, draped in rose-colored banner, wands are tipped with green crystals, wreath has roses and four crossed ribbons of blue, four corners show birds' heads.
Thoth: woman draped with green/yellow snake, no wands, hook in right hand, celestial wreath with 72 divisions, four creatures have wings and their breath is shown (rather than clouds, as in Waite) This card is featured on the cover the The Book of Thoth.

OTHER: Quoting from shadow's lecture on the Wheel: "In each corner of the card we again have the four elements represented: Upper left is Angel/man (air); lower left is the bull (earth); lower right is the Lion (fire) and upper right is the eagle (water). This is also interpreted as the archangels: Ariel (Taurus), Michael (Leo) Gabriel (Scorpio) and Raphael (Aquarius)." A succinct and accurate description matching the attribution of these elements to the suits in the GD deck. But what do these creatures represent?

TaRoma: For successfully dancing on your limitations, and finding freedom from fears.

The Voice 

One and All

 The Vision

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This page is excerpted from my original contributions to an online Tarot course discussion of this card graciously sponsored by Pandora's Bookstore.