My card for the current year, up until my birthday in December, is the Star. I thought I would take you on a visual journey of the various interpretations of this card, as well as looking a little more in depth at its meaning. It’s a fairly long post, so make yourself a cuppa and enjoy.
*Note: if you hoover over the images below the deck name will pop up.
Card number 17 in the Major Arcana, the Star brings a welcome vision after the much feared Devil (card number 15), and turmoil of the Tower (card number 16). She is usually shown as a naked woman pouring water from two vessels, one onto the land and one onto a river or lake. Above her we see a star, or rather (more commonly) a pattern of stars.
Once you reach the Star, you can finally rest, take a breather. The journey is far from over, but for now the trials have subsided. Those who make it to know the Star have often been painfully tested by the Devil, and had their world shattered by the Tower. They may feel thrown in a strange new world that bears little resemblance to what they once knew.
This new world may well be a physical space, such as a new country, or a new home. It may also be a drastic change in circumstances pertaining to family or work. In all cases though, the querent’s mindset will have experienced new perspectives and reckoned with some new insights, pleasant or not.
So by the time this card comes up, they are in need of some reassurance, help, a guiding light. And that is what the Star offers: hope, guidance, healing, rest, a positive energy. It is one of the most helpful of cards to receive, in my opinion.
Of course, one does not need to go through such dramatic life experiences to have this card show up. Sometimes it appears in a reading to give the querent hope, to inspire or uplift them, regardless of their history or challenges. For the person may well be in the dark, as signified by the card: stars only shine at night. They have some way to go before they understand the meaning of all they have been through, until the transformation of life’s experience into a positive outcome.
“The water being poured onto land indicates that the energy being freed by the Tower is directed outwards as well as inwards; it links the unconscious with the with the outer reality of the physical world. One way to describe the streams of water is as the archetypes of myth, the images through which the unconscious expresses itself. The unconscious is a whole, without shape or division, but it emerges into awareness through the separate streams of mythology. With the Star we have gone beyond myth to its source as formless energy; as light coming out of darkness. The transformation of darkness into light is the unconscious, the hidden vastness within us, changed into the ecstatic awareness of super-consciousness.” Rachel Pollack, Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom
The Star has often been compared with the sign of Aquarius, the water bearer. In his book Reading the Marseille Tarot, Jean-Michel David looks at similarities between historical images of Aquarius and the Star card, noting that Aquarius is a sign associated with the coldest part of the year in the northern hemisphere, a time of bleak survival at the mercy of the elements. He goes on to note,
“If the time of Aquarius marks the bitterest cold, it also ends in renewed hope for both humanity (given its religious significance) and for the seasonal alterations already beginning to show forth. Aquarius already sees within its time the beginning of the melting of the coldest snows, and, importantly too, signs of renewed life with various late winter flowers delicately making their way through the cold white blankets, and blades of greed shooting through both ground and what is otherwise bare flora.”
One of the earliest images we have of the Star is shown above, in the Jean Noblet Tarot (from Paris, c. 1650). The star pattern above the woman shows one bright star surrounded by 7 smaller ones. Jean-Michel David has also looked at the connections between the Star pattern and known constellations, namely Fomalhaut, Plaeiades, and Sirius. I found it very interesting to read that Fomalhaut, located directly beneath the constellation of Aquarius, is the 17th brightest star in the night sky.
“The Star reveals the channels of energy that flow into your life, bringing inspiration, guidance, and renewed life force. This card generally features a beautiful woman who is portrayed kneeling beside a stream or a pool of water. The lush countryside setting represents fertility and creativity. Her nudity shows her innocence, openness, and essential humanity, and she pours fluid out of two pitchers, nourishing the land and replenishing the water around her…. Among the qualities this card conveys are optimism, enthusiasm, affection, loving kindness, good luck, unexpected opportunities, favours, abundance, health and wholeness, inner peace, freedom and self-expression.” Janina Renee, Tarot for a New Generation
On a personal note, the Star has brought the arrival of my second child, a beautiful daughter, born in April this year. She is indeed a Star, a loving light I feel truly blessed to have in my life.
I think that the Star is also a reminder to myself to seek light and hope in daily life, and not get depressed or feel despair at what is going on in the wider world. The overall trends on a national and global scale are rather grim and personally I feel like our collective civilisation is on a slow, downward move into a new dark age: the relentless desecration of our natural environment, the shredding of the welfare system and social services, cuts to healthcare and so on, lack of investment in key infrastructure while vast sums of money are sucked out for personal gain by corrupt and pernicious leaders across the political spectrum… well, it goes on and on.
The Star is a personal reminder to tend to those tasks that uplift and soothe me and my family, to find inspiration in my home, garden and community, to support those causes that matter to me, even when I feel I am in the dark.
On this note, we have recently resurrected out outdoor fire pit now that winter has arrived, and I am off to enjoy a tea by the fire while gazing at the stars.
Many starry blessings to all,