For some reason I never expected the world card to show up in two spreads in a row, even though similar things have happened before. At the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011, the fool popped up in four out of five consecutive monthly draws, three of those in the center position.
Some would say that when this happens it's likely the result of sloppy or incomplete shuffling, but in this case that's not possible, since I used two different decks for the last two draws. Others might shrug it off as a random coincidence, and it certainly is that. But I believe, though I can't prove it, that there is something else at work here.
At the time I was getting the fool in my spread every month, I was feeling very rootless, almost homeless, although I had a roof over my head the whole time. Now the reappearance of the world card is signaling with some urgency that my family has an opportunity to write "the end" on the last page of our parents' history. I don't know why that's so important, but it is.
Anchoring the spread this week is the knight of swords (jack of spades), representing a real person who is coming into my life, someone young, charming, and not necessarily trustworthy. When this card appears the seeker needs to be on his or her guard, for readers of playing cards often refer to the jack of spades as "the card of the thief."
A standard interpretation for the empress -- plans successfully completed, fertility and abundance -- would make a logical outcome card and key to the reading. But that sounds a little too pat, and I strongly suspect this empress is a second portent, related to the queen of hearts who took the same spot three weeks ago. At the time it looked like a lame predictor of romance, but I see now it's not going to be that kind of relationship, as I'm now expecting some sort of teacher, guide, or mentor to show up unannounced.
What convinces me of this is the way the empress's gaze is focused on something outside and beyond the cards, but we don't know what it is.
I'm fascinated by the crudely-rendered images on these old cards, especially the world with its strange, hermaphroditic dancer in the center oval, surrounded by the four heads of the tetramorph, those four-headed winged creatures who play such a large and lively part in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation. This version is badly worn by the demands of gaming, as the world is the highest trump (XXI) and the most desirable of all cards.