Steampunk tarot (Moore) - The World


I want to start by just pointing out an interesting fact from the accompanying book to this deck. Barbara reminds us there are a few cards that hint or refer to completion. For example, all of the ten's, Tower & Death. This is also a card indicating completion, but the energy around this indicates success as being part and parcel of that ending. Nice eh :)

However, it is also one of those cards that does link strongly symbolically, and very few decks actually depict this card otherwise. The deck can be as down to earth and as modern as you like, but rarely does the World card actually have that vibe going on. You can encounter lots of interesting scenes which are immediately recognisable. Yet when you get to the World card, it is different. It is as if this idea of an end of a cycle cannot be easily demonstrated without falling back on either symbolism or the traditional RWS image. Hope that isn't coming across as a whinge because it isn't. More of an observation of mine, and I am more than happy to be proved wrong.

Anways, in this deck simplicity and symbolism seem to be the two over riding factors. We have a female dancing in the sky, clad in what could be described as belly-dancing attire. She has the brass looking cog behind her, with the symbols of the 4 elements placed 90 degrees apart from her, around the outside of the cog. Here we are reminded of Earth, Air, Water & Fire.

I guess this card is most definitely asking us to think of the keywords whe individually associate with the World card. I am sure they will be different, yet the same if that makes sense.

For me, the only thing I would perhaps use over and above is the presence of the cog. As it turns, it would have a knock on effect on the neighbouring cog, causing it to turn in the opposite direction. Therefore the issue of cause and effect could perhaps be bought into play in some way. If it turns the cog preceding, would it mean wanting to change the past so as to effect the future? If it were to change a cog to the right, could this show a knock on effect of what is to come? Just thoughts here. The other cogs are not present.

Nicely illustrated image, but I do hanker for a deck to just step outside the box a little with this card. I guess the danger of that is, it would be seen to no longer be RWS, and may take some out of a comfort zone they grown up with?


The female character, whom Moore refers to as the "World Dancer" (Manual p. 111), is the beautiful centerpiece of the card. She holds a wand, pointing down, in each of her hands. The act of magick she was performing is presumably done. She wears a sure, rather serine expression, almost in wonderment. She is viewing all that she has accomplished and overcome.

The largest of the cogs is centered around the female World's torso. It looks as if it's meant to be a holy glow or divine presence. Upon this cog is the symbol for infinity (look closely at the top spoke), symbolizing the cyclical nature of the Universe. While the World is full of cycles, each cycle has definitive points known as "beginning" and "end". While The World is a card of completion, and as Moore states; "she is ready to move onto the next cycle" (p. 111). While this act of magick is done, this woman will find new projects to begin.

The four smaller cogs represent the Elements: Air (TL), Water (TR), Earth (BL), and Fire (BR). The fact that female character is surrounded by the Elements suggests to me the mastery of completion and balance.

The only other thing I would like to note is about the position of the cogs collectively: The largest divine/glowing cog frames the female character; the 4 Elemental cogs are placed equidistant from each other (also placed around the female character); yet the cogs do not act as a unit. The 'points' of the Elemental cogs will not fit into the points of the central/divine cog simply due to the factor of size. Not only will these cogs not be able to act in unison despite their relative closeness and centralization of the female character, but the top cogs (Air & Water) are touching the central cog, while the bottom cogs (Earth & Fire) are a bit away from this central cog. I can see why Fell would position the cogs as such: if he brought the bottom cogs up, Fire would be hidden beneath the female character's flowing cloak; if he moved the central cog down, he would be blocking the symbol of infinity with the female character's headdress. -But why not put the infinity symbol elsewhere on the central cog?

Any thoughts/opinions/insights on the cogs issue?


I think you have given food for thought regarding the placement of the symbols in relation to the main cog. You are right - if the bottom most symbols had touched the main cog, we would not have been able to see them. And if the entire scene had been moved from behind the dancer, other aspects would have been hidden. I think this card is not one I can really get a good hook on. :(