RWS-World.jpg The card was painted by Adepts Pamela Colman Smith under the instructions of Arthur Edward Waite, but he also got inspired by the card of the Tarot de Marseilles. Waited added the second wand but he didn’t want to be black, in order to keep some secrets.

The oval shape is drawn upon medieval symbolism of the Christ, who was surrounded by almond shapes with leaves. The four creatures around are those from the vision of Ezekiel and Revelation. So the picture was inspired by Christ and the Apocalypse.

Let’s see the card esoterically. The four Kerubim are Taurus-bull, Leo-lion, Scorpio-eagle, Aquarius-man/angel. Those signs belong to the second quadruplicity, the kerubic signs. They are fixed signs which govern the middle of the month of each season. They represent the main energy of each season. Also we see earth-bull, fire-lion, water-eagle, air-man. Again, body, desire, emotion, intellect. Waite writes In The Pictorial Key of Tarot that this card represents the complete and the end of the world. Why? Because elements combined bring the ultimate balance, thus the perfect man (though we have an hermaphrodite, another symbolism of the combination or just Pamela’s painting didn’t evolved well). The infinity we see in red represents the unification of the elements and the color, the divine light. At least according to the coloring of the Golden Dawn, the Order of Waite and Pamela.

The woman in the centre is Isis/Hekate/Nature. She is is the Bride of Binah. Now if we see Hekate as the Cosmic Soul, she is connected with Binah (that’s what I firmly believe) this card shows Her. And it is too normal to see Her here, between Yesod (Moon) and the Malkuth (Earth) or Yetzirah and Assiah, either as Psychopompos or as having as symbol the cave.

The woman holds two wands, one for the positive and one for the negative. Both of them are polarities. She is naked, thus She is the Truth. She forms a cross with Her feet. This is a sign for the Hebrew letter Tau which is attributed with the card. It is also the last letter, thus it is the last Triumph. Another interesting thing is that the Tau represents all cosmic existence. Again we see the link with the world/universe. The Tau also represents perfection, which is also confirms the unification of the elements. As the Binah which I refered has energies of Saturn, a planet which represents binding, security, teaching, structure, limitations, wisdom and age. This card may act as a vehicle to the astral plane not because of her position in the Tree of Life, but also because of her energies of teaching and structure, though progress will be slow, as the energies of Saturn are “heavy”. The energies of the moon are combined with the energies of Saturn, thus both aspects of Hekate, as Mistress of the Moon and as Cosmic Soul, the Mother Goddess. The influence of Saturn can be seen in our card through the color of the cloth, which is black, but Pamela used gray with shadows of black. She could also use purple. The cyan is also the color of Binah in Atziluth, that’s why we see it in the background. In Golden Dawn Tarot decks we see purple been used as a color of the path in Atziluth.

If we see the number of our sephiroth, we have three in Binah, which is associated with Hekate and ten in Malkuth the final result of Her action. Adding them both we have 13 which is the number of the Moon, thus could be associated with Yesod. By this we have another connection with the positioning of the card and Binah. Connecting the card with the 32nd path of Tau we see the meaning of the card as a medium to the underworld, to the yetziratic world, the sphere of dreams and visions, the change of consciousness. The underworld here is the subconscious mind we have and it contains our personal fears. Those fears should be confronted before going any further in magical work. A practice done inside the magical order of the Golden Dawn and that is encouraged in the initiation of the second degree in Wicca.Those things bring to mind Witchcraft. Again, Hekate as the Goddess of Witchcraft is connected with the path. The path is also connected with the journey to the Underworld which is not under the earth. With Saturn here, this journey seems ok and normal as the energies of Saturn work well on the journey.

The Golden Dawn decks provide better coloring, according to the symbolism, especially of Saturn, the figure is clearly a lady and She wears a crescent moon which provides a better symbolism. Let’s assume She wears the moon. In Wicca, she is the High Priestess, thus the representative of the Moon Goddess. In Golden Dawn, She is Isis. We can certainly see Her as Hekate again. As She is the Bride of Binah, (at least for me), She rules all planets, thus creation, she is Cosmic Soul towards manifestation in a complete balance. She is dancing as She is moving to create well. The 32nd path it directs the motions of the seven planets. It directs everything in the universe, thus She is the Universe. If She is the Cosmic Soul and we have Her inside, then Her energies should be direct-guide our soul too. The seven planets could easily be our seven Sephiroth, so our body is created by Her. I am not sure about my last sentence from my philosophical ideas, but it is a thought.