Monday, January 01, 2007


The World Tree from The Sacred Circle Tarot, one of my favorite versions of The World (XXI) card, given my love of trees.

The World from The Gothic Tarot of Vampires; I'll be reviewing this LoScarabeo deck here very soon.

The World from The Afro-Brazilian Tarot; I'll also be reviewing this LoScarabeo deck here in the future.

The Virgin from The New Tarot for the Aquarian Age (a/k/a The Reverse Tarot).

The World from The Manga Tarot (LoScarabeo).

The World from The Tarot of the Cat People.

Unity from The Terrestrial Tarot; I'll do a mini-review of this unusual deck very soon, and post some other images from it.

The World from The Gipsy Tarot.

I'll address The World (XXI) in my usual way in a future post. I'm just using all these versions of it today as my New Year's best wishes to you all, as it is (among so much more) a card of beginnings and endings.

[All cards are scanned in from my personal collection of decks.]

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Resource: A Tarot Origin Myth, a wonderful story which as stories often do, enlightens its subject.

Please see the top of the sidebar for my background with the Tarot and a recommendation to beginners.

‘til next time, may the New Year bring peace to our world; health, happiness, and prosperity to us all; and more Tarots to enjoy!


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for some articles about Tarot.****


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, my friend!

Interesting in your post how so many artists have to use human figures in portraying The World. 'Interesting' in a somewhat critical way.

Then again, as I tried to explain to a believer in 'Gaia,' humans are the world's brain cells. We are the way for the world to understand itself, if it is a being in its own right.

But I still on the whole agree with your preference for the trees and sunshine portrayal of The World.


8:25 PM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Happiness right back at you, dear friend, from this sugar-hungover Tarotologist. LOL!

Yes, The World is most often portrayed as a human figure. But the earliest and some very modern versions use other symbols. Recently, photos and/or paintings of the earth Herself in space have been used. In the Rider/ Waite/ Smith version (and those versions adhering to the same underlying "meanings") the figure is actually said to be hermaphroditic. The breasts are obviously female, and a scarf around the lower body is said to cover the male, um, apparatus.:-) (I've also heard it said that the scarf is in the shape of a particular Hebrew letter, which escapes my foggy memory at the moment.)

One of the best books I've seen on Tarot symbols is Robert M. Place's THE TAROT: History, Symbolism, and Divination (which I reviewed here). Here's just a tiny bit of what he says about the evolution of The World card symbols:

P. 162: "...some of the oldest World cards bear a representation of the New Jerusalem, the eternal city of light and the final reward described at the end of Revelation. ...there are three fifteenth-century Italian which the World is depicted as the Arthurian Grail...In the Cary-Yale Viscont Tarot, one of the oldest Milanese decks, the World card combines images of the New Jerusalem with mystical chivalry..."

P. 163: "In the fifteenth-century Gringonneur deck, the figure on the World card is also the Anima Mundi. A woman with a long dress holds the regal orb and mace...In European alchemy and mysticism we likewise find that the Anima Mundi may be symbolized as a beautiful woman, as Christ, or as Hermes."

P. 164: "Alchemists believed that the Anima Mundi was a fifth element that permeated and animated the more physical four [the four element symbols, sometimes said to be Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Oino, usually in the four corners of the World card]. It was called the Fifth Essense, Quinta Essentia....Mircea Eliade has observed that in all religions and cultures there is a place believed to be sacred above all else and that this place is considred to be the center of the world. This is the place where there is a connection with higher and lower worlds and the place where the divine can manifest. [i.e., The World Tree]..."

P. 165: "The most common image of the Anima Mundi in alchemical and mystical art was also a beautiful nude."

P. 168: [re: Anima Mundi] "The nude is simultaneously the individual soul, which is also symbolized as a female nude, joined to the World Soul, and the World Soul is depicted as both Christ, or Sophia his female counterpart, and the pre-Christian Venus."

And all the above doesn't even scratch the surface. However, I did try to address your comments.

As to Gaia, I have mixed feelings about whether our Earth has an actual "beingness." (I love the idea as a guiding myth, though.) But we humans certainly do need to proceed as her brain cells and use them much more wisely, IMHO!

10:28 AM  

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