We have arrived at the seventh stage of spiritual unfoldment, the Tarot card called the World, Key 21. Everything that you are is shown in this Key. Your realization
of the message for you in this Key will arrive from within yourself. We will cover the symbols on the card, but how they speak to you will be very personal. There are actually no words that can adequately describe what is going on here, so the following will just be a taste for you to explore further with you own intuition.
This is the last card of the major Tarot Keys. The title is a symbol of cosmic consciousness, or Nirvana. Your entry into this consciousness means that you have first-hand knowledge of your identity with the One Power, the Source of the whole cosmos. The universe is the Dance of Life. The inmost, central Self of you – that is the Eternal Dancer.
The number 21 is the sum of the numbers from 0 to 6. Therefore 21 shows completion of the power of the principles represented by the seven Keys from Key 0 to Key 6. These Keys are The Fool, The Magician, the High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Teacher, and The Lovers.
Saturn is the planet attributed to Key 21. See the symbol in the lower right hand corner. It is the seventh of the planets known to the ancients. According to mythology, Saturn ate his own children. He represents that which absorbs its own expressions back into itself. From the Hebrew name for Saturn Shabbathai, we get the meaning Sabbath, the day of rest or inertia, and the seventh day of the week. In the Tarot Tableau the top row represents Principles, the second row represents Agencies and the third row represents Results. In the seventh column at the top is Key 7 The Chariot, below that is Key 14 Temperance, and below that is The World. Therefore the principle at work in Key 21 is represented by Key 7.
The Hero’s Journey is the quest for the Self. The goal is the Self. The knowledge is Self-knowledge. The power of the infinite and eternal Self is the only Power. The Self is the ONE, working through the mysterious, glamorous power of reflection and duality. This is shown in the number of this Key 21.
Let’s look further at the number 7. In Hebrew the word for seven is spelled with the same letters as a verb signifying “to be full, filled, satisfied”, as a noun meaning “abundance, plenty”, and as an adjective that is translated “satiated, satisfied, full”, and as a verb meaning “to swear”, that is, to vow, to confirm by a solemn oath, to express solemn intention of purpose. Among the meanings of 7 are mastery, conquest, peace, safety, security. Peace and safety are associated with abundance and plenty.
Conquest, another meaning of 7, is the outcome of carrying definite purpose into action. Peace is what follows conquest, and conquest is the establishment of equilibrium between contending forces. Thus in connection to the number 7, we may expect to find a power that can establish harmony, can bring order out of chaos, a power of adaptation and adjustment. That power is Will, as expressed in Key 7 The Chariot. We all have access to a limitless supply of will power. Where we differ is the degree of our ability to express this power through our personalities.
We have the four figures in the corners similar to the Wheel of Fortune Key 10. They correspond to the fixed signs of the zodiac: the bull to Taurus; the lion to Leo; the eagle to Scorpio; the man to Aquarius. The mental activity pictured in Key 10 is one that turns the mind away from form to the consideration of Spirit. The bull, which represents the element of earth, or that which gives form, is turned towards the lion, which is ruled by the Sun. The comprehension of the Law of Cycles in Key 10 is an act of mental abstraction, in which attention is turned away from the form of things and faces their fiery essence – the lion (the Sun), and also faces towards the center of the Key, where the symbol of Spirit is shown at the heart of the wheel.
Here in Key 21 we have the bull turning away from the lion, and away from the center of the design. This indicates that the forces pictured by The World move toward concrete manifestation. With Saturn attributed to Key 21, the emphasis is on the cosmic forces that limit energy in producing form. The goal of the Great Work is not abstraction. It is demonstration, expression, orderly procession of energy into suitable forms. You could say, the adornment of the Life-power with suitable garments!
Also, these 4 creatures represent the Great Name, IHVH, which is found on The Fool’s inner garment. The numbers of these signs in the zodiacal series are 2, 5, 8, and 11, adding to 26, the number of IHVH. Their positions at the corners of the Key suggest that all manifestation is included within the boundaries of that Name and the Reality for which it stands.
Moving on, let’s look at the Hebrew letter Tav attributed to this Key. It means signature or mark, but the mark is the cross. The Egyptian TAU, corresponding to this letter, was a tally for measuring the depth of the Nile, and a square for measuring right angles. In the old Hebrew alphabet it was written as a simple cross of equal arms like on the banner of the angel in Key 20. Thus it is a symbol of salvation from death, and a signature of eternal life.
Dominion and Slavery is the pair of opposites attributed to Tav. Right interpretation of the necessity for limitation in any form of manifested existence is the secret of dominion. Wrong interpretation of the same thing is the cause of our slavery to conditions. The clue to the right understanding is the aphorism, “He who would rule Nature must first obey her laws.”
As a signature, the letter Tav implies security, pledge, guarantee. A signature makes a business instrument valid. Thus Tav indicates the final seal and completion of the Great Work. At the center point of the cross where the two lines meet is represented the inner center at which the One Identity has its abode according to the Book of Formation. This book is a description of how the Cube of Space was created from the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
In the Cube of Space diagram, the abode of God is at the heart of it, in the center. This abode is also termed That-which-is-not, because it has no physical form, and might well be indicated by the zero sign, which is attributed to The Fool. Yet it is by no means a non-entity, for this inner POINT is a positive metaphysical and intellectual reality. Hence, if you grasp the idea that this Place of God , or Holy Temple that stands in the center, is necessarily everywhere, you will see that it must be the center of your own being.
Tav is also assigned the Administrative Intelligence. “It is so called because it directs all the operations of the seven planets, associates their activities, and guides them all in their proper courses.” The occult planets are the same as the interior stars mentioned in Key 17 The Star. Also, each of these planets corresponds to a Hebrew double letter. Thus Tav represents the point of control, at the Center, or at the heart. Not in the physical sense, but the sense of the midst, inmost, core. To get at the heart of your personal existence is to enter the Palace of the King. There the One Self is enthroned. There is the central point of authority and rulership, extending its boundless influence throughout the cosmos. There, when the Great Work is accomplished, and the Father and the Son are One, the New kingdom is established.
The wreath is an ellipsoid figure, its long axis exactly eight units and its shorter one exactly five units. A rectangle which would enclose it would be 5 x 8. The area of this rectangle is 40 square units, and 40 is the number of the Mother letter Mem corresponding to Key 12 the Hanged Man. The total length of the four sides is 26, the number of the Tetragrammaton, IHVH. Thus the wreath represents the name IHVH as a Fundamental Principle of Form, of which the entire cosmos is the representation or manifestation.
The wreath has 22 triads of leaves. Every triad corresponds to a Hebrew letter, to one of the 22 aspects of conscious energy represented by those letters, and to one of the 22 Tarot Keys. Every mode of the Life-power has three kinds of expression: integrative, disintegrative and equilibrating. The third balances the other two. Note that the wreath is a work of man. Nature provides the leaves. Man weaves them into a garland for the victor. Thus the wreath is a symbol of human adaption of the forces of nature. It also suggests that cosmic consciousness is not spontaneously provided by natural evolution. Rather it is the completion of the Great Work, and man is the workman.
The wreath is fastened with bands similar to the figure 8 over the head of The Magician and the woman in Key 8. All we see is the portion that makes the form of a letter X. They have the same meanings. Here they are red, to suggest that the law symbolized by Keys 1 and 8 has been carried into action.This is also an ancient form of the letter Tav. Therefore the power represented by Tav is what man uses to bind the forces of nature into a wreath of victory. It also hints that the X form is more accurately the horizontal 8, the figure of mathematical infinity, and symbol of the truth that opposite effects are produced by identical causes. Also, the Dancer wears a crown of 7 red flowers, indicating that the forces of organic life are at full fruition, and also that the power of Will from The Chariot Key 7 is made fully manifest.
The wreath rests on the bull and the lion, because man’s power of giving form (the bull) to the formless, fiery essential energy (the lion) is what enables him to weave together the 22 modes of force derived from that one energy. The outline of the wreath is a zero symbol. The ellipse of manifestation is a No-Thing. It has just as much power over him as he gives it. It does not really bind him, when he understands what it is. The “world” of a Master of life is a wreath of victory.
The dancer appears to be feminine, but is a Celestial Androgyne. Her purple veil is in the form of the Hebrew letter Kaph. Kaph is Key 10, so what is meant here is that the mechanistic appearance assumed by natural phenomena, The Wheel of Fortune, veils their true character. The cosmos seems to be a system of wheels within wheels. It presents itself to our intellectual consciousness as a vast machine. Cause and effect seem to be rigidly and unalterably connected. This is only relatively true. The Life-power is the author, and therefore the master, of the Law of Cause and Consequence. All “laws” are part of manifestation, but no law binds the Self. The World Dancer is perfectly free, and that state of freedom is NOW. Hence the dancer stands on nothing. She is Self-supported. She herself is in perfect equilibrium.
Each spiral in her hands has 11 loops. Together they are 22, symbolizing the modes of consciousness of the 22 Hebrew letters and Tarot Keys. That in her right hand turns clockwise. That in her left turns counter-clockwise. The wands represent the spiral force of the Life-power. That in the right hand symbolizes Involution, the other represents Evolution. When you enter cosmic consciousness you experience directly what is symbolized in this Key. You will perceive directly that whatever is being disintegrated is exactly balanced by that which is simultaneously being integrated. Evolution is balanced by devolution, association by disassociation, integration by disintegration. And it is at this point that you will know that through you the governing and directing power of the universe flows out into manifestation.
When the Self is known, it is known as the Master of the Show of Illusion, named the World. The name of that Master in Hebrew is Eheyeh, AHIH, or I AM, and this is the supreme Divine Name attributed to Kether, the Crown of Primal Will on the Tree of Life. This name is connected with this final Tarot Key because its number, like that of the Key, is 21.
We are at the end of the Keys. The goal of the Great Work is to know the Self. But not merely as a witness, not to be aware as something external. Here you identify with the Central Reality of the universe, and such knowledge is really the acme of practical power. In alchemical books this knowledge is symbolized by the Philosophers’ Stone – the mineral kingdom as the truly wise perceive it. Here is a representation of what you really are, and of what the cosmos really is. The universe is the Dance of Life. It is the immortal, central Self of you that is the Eternal Dancer!
I would suggest now that you begin again at The Fool Key and work your way through the cards one more time. You may find now that when rereading them that more is revealed to you than was on your first go ’round. This time spend 5 minutes first just looking at the card before starting to read. Allow the card to speak to you. Have a notebook ready to write down any thoughts that may come to you. This is your Journey. Just by going this far, you are already well along The Way to your personal transformation.