Arcana in Balance: The World

WorldAfter all that agonizing over the Judgment card last week, The World card is almost laughably obvious.

The irony is that the World card makes my personal biases just as obvious as the Judgment card did. The Smith artwork is once again embued with all the “rapture” and Revealations machinations of early 20th century protestant evangelical Christianity, but this time it seems relatively trivial compared to the feeling and meaning underlying the card. In the evangelical world view, “getting to heaven” is considered the ultimate success. As I see it, the World card is almost universally is interpreted as success – however that acheivement may be defined by an individual or by a culture.

Of course, through my Taoistic lens of perception, the view is a bit different.

While we might be able to intellectually understand the sweeping one-ness of the entire multi-verse, our individual, emotional experience of life has a closer focus. Planet Earth, the whole world, is close enough our everything. It’s no wonder we say “suchandsuch is my whole world” when we mean that person or thing is our overwhelming priority. Saying something is our world is saying it is our everything.

There we have possible meanings for the card: success, primacy, a greatest priority – our one thing. Ok, so what about the balance point? We are at the end of the major arcana journey, at the pentultimate balance point. How do we balance everything? How do we balance all that stuff that we’ve seen in the major arcana so far, plus everything else that the real world throws at us?

It all leads to one simple question and answer. Q: How do we successfully balance everything? A: Find your one thing.

I’ve talked about the “one thing lens” here on the blog before and recently on the Menage A Tarot podcast. For me, it was a matter of truth being where you find it – in this case a movie. “City Slickers” written by Lowell Gantz and Babaloo Mandell (via gave me a moment of absolute clarity and epiphany.  Time and time again in the years since,  it’s proven absolutely true.

Curly: “Do you know what the secret of life is?……One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean $h&t.”

Mitch: “That’s great, but what is the one thing?”

Curly: “That’s what you got to figure out”

To balance life you have to find your one thing. Other things aren’t as meaningless as they are to our cowboy…but find your center and other things do tend to fall into place a little easier.

But that’s just a movie you say? Well, then, lets look at Newtonian physics instead. Gravity, for example. More precisely, centers of gravity.

Think about those long poles that tightrope walkers use. No matter how huge and long those poles might be, there is only one place, one point along it’s entire length where it will balance. Try it your self. Balance a pencil lengthwise on the side of your finger. Go ahead. I’ll wait. You can do it, really. You might have to scoot it a little closer to the eraser, but there is a point where you can balance the pencil fairly easily. ONE point.

Just like pencils, tightrope walkers and surprisingly wise movie cowboys, the secret to balancing everything is one point, one thing.

For some people that one thing is religion, for others it is atheism. For some people the one thing is a spiritual philosophy, for others it is sports. That isn’t to say life is an amoral free-for all. Choices, actions, and one-things have consequences. We saw that as part of last week’s Judgement card. So when it comes to choosing your one thing, as another old guy said in a different movie – “Choose Wisely”.

This week, balancing our world successfully comes down to finding our “one thing”, and there are as many ‘one things’ as there are people to live by them – all personal, all valid, all very real. It doesn’t matter what your one thing is. What matters is that you find it and use it, whatever it is. Live your one thing, and you can balance everything.




Now what?

This finishes the “Arcana in Balance series. What would you like to explore next? Use the comments below to let me know. Follow your curiosity!