Tyldwick - World


What I notice in the World card:

fixed sign symbols in crown molding
dancing Shiva
dogwood flowers
three geometric solids : tetrahedron, sphere, cube

The fixed astrological symbols (Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius and Taurus) in the crown molding represent grounding qualities of stabilization, determination, depth and persistence. They remind me even though things are constantly changing in the physical world, there is a center within where there is peace.

In Hinduism, the Supreme Being is seen as having three tasks: creation, preservation and dissolution and recreation. Shiva (seen in this card) represents the destruction and regeneration stage. In this particular form, he is known as Nataraja, the "Lord of Dancers." This ecstatic dance is called the Dance of Bliss (anandatandava), and though his movements produce the continuous creation-destruction of the universe, inwardly he is calm and absorbed in the void of the Absolute. What outwardly may appear as a duality (life and death) is actually a continuous circle. When we stand on the rim of that circle, we experience a certain view from a certain point (duality). It is only from within the center of the circle that we can understand the wholeness. Shiva indicates we should (as Joseph Campbell stated) "follow our bliss." Not the pleasure-seeking kind, but the kind that brings deep tranquility and allows us to see change as natural. Shiva's dissolution and recreation role indicates that although we may see the complete picture, there is more to learn. We will become the Fool once again as we move through the lessons of life.

I am very familiar with the flowering dogwood as they are plentiful where I live. According to myflowermeanings.com, these blooms symbolize endurance and durability through all the seasons. Indeed, their leaves are changing colors now, then they will produce bright red berries and bare limbs, followed by showy white flowers, and finally a crown of green leaves. For some people, the dogwood flower represents the crucifixion - not just death, but resurrection as well. Here again is the continuous loop that looks like change but is actually part of a whole. The sacrifice it represents is the replacement my ego with my higher self as CEO.

On the table are three geometric solids: a tetrahedron, a sphere and a cube. In Hinduism, there are three types of space: "Bhutakash," the physical body (cube); "Chittakash," thoughts and emotions (tetrahedron); and "Chidakash," the vast, Supreme Consciousness (sphere). In the World card, we have found Chidakash (even if only briefly); the veil of illusion has been removed and we experience the vast infinite inner space without being tied to thoughts, emotions, or the physical. Think of a tiny point that expands outward in all directions, creating a sphere - there are no limitations. But if you try to do this with the tetrahedron or cube, you don't have that freedom.



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I am still learning about tarot symbology so I wasn't aware of the astrological significance assigned to these creatures. To me the figures in the moulding immediately brought to mind the four "living creatures" from the book of Revelation. I was stunned to find this image from a 1220 German manuscript and realize the similarity between it and Le Monde! https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/Codex_Bruchsal_1_01v_cropped.jpg

Full disclosure: I am not a research genius, the picture comes from the Wikipedia entry on the card (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_(Tarot_card)). Off topic perhaps, but I wanted to share as it's the first time I've seen such a direct correlation between tarot card designs and prior art.

Relating back to Tyldwick these creatures were typically found above the portals of medieval churches, and usually depicted in a straight line in older Roman churches, which corresponds to the predominant Greco-Roman influence of the deck.

The primary shapes on the table are open to all kinds of interpretation. "Squaring the circle" (a symbol incorporating all three shapes) is an alchemical glyph relating to the creation of the philosopher's stone. They are also used to illustrate principles of Aikido:

“The body should be triangular, the mind circular. The triangle represents the generation of energy and is the most stable physical posture. The circle symbolises serenity and perfection, the source of unlimited techniques. The square stands for solidity, the basis of applied control.”
-O Sensei