The Meaning of
"The Star" Tarot Card
Tarot Quick Info
What is the inverted meaning of
"The Star" card?
The Meaning of
The Symbolism of the Star Tarot Card:
On the Star tarot card a blazing yellow star with eight rays shines down on an idyllic scene. The larger star is surrounded by seven smaller, white stars.
A beautiful, golden-haired nymph stands with one foot on land, and her other foot resting on the surface of a pool of water. She pours water — representing sustenance and life — from two earthen jars.
One jar replenishes the pool, which represents spirituality and the subconscious. The other jar nourishes the land, which represents physical health and fertility. Some of the water poured onto the land flows back into the pool, representing the link between physical health and spiritual sustenance.
... the use of the yellow color in the star and woman's hair sets up a symbolic mirroring — suggesting that the nymph is the personification of the star itself
As with the Temperance card, the duplication of the bright yellow color in the star overhead and in nymph's hair sets up a symbolic mirroring — suggesting that she is the personification of the star itself.
Perching in a small tree in the background, an ibis bird overlooks the scene. The ancient Egyptians revered the ibis as a representation of the deity Thoth — who was master over all branches of knowledge. The Egyptians also beleived that Thoth determined the positions of the stars in the sky.
There is a strong numerological connection to the number 8 in the Star card. As well as the 8 stars in the sky, each with 8 points or rays, the number XVII at the top of the card, converts to the number 8 when reduced numerologically.
In numerology, the number 8 represents a balance of the physical and spiritual — a balance which is reflected in the card imagery. The pool of water represents the spiritual. The land represents the physical. The Star replenishes both equally.
NOTE: 8-pointed stars are highly symbolic in multiple cultures and belief systems. For Buddhists the Eightfold Path leading to rebirth is represented by an 8-pointed star. In Islamic religions the 8-pointed star represents regeneration. The Wiccan Wheel of the Year is often represented by an 8-pointed star, symbolizing the cycle and rebirth of the year. In Judeo-Christian religions, the number 8 is often associated with resurrection, rebirth, and the beginning of another week. While not all cultures and beliefs assign the same meaning to 8-pointed stars, there is a notable shared thread through the concepts of repeating cycles, life and rebirth.
NOTE: Observant tarot readers will notice the many similarities between the Star card and the Temperance card. In both cards a golden haired figure stands with one foot on land and one foot on water. In each hand she holds a container for water, and in both cards the figure is actively pouring water. The mirroring is intentional, and helps to illustrate the difference between the two cards: Where Temperance preserves the water carefully in an act of measured control, the figure in The Star represents an endless, inexhaustible wellspring. The sustenance from the star is infinitely refreshing and replenishing. Or said another way: While moderation is a virtue, hope springs eternal.
How to Interpret the Star Tarot Card
The Star card carries a dual meaning of hope and renewal — or a period of rebirth driven by the nourishment of body and spirit.
The Star, in both her heavenly and human forms, represents the eternal wellsprings of hope and positivity.
Just as the woman pictured in The Star — who is herself the personification of the star above — pours her spirit onto both land and into the pool at her feet, The Star replenishes both the physical and the spiritual. It is a wellspring of hope and positivity, which pour forth endlessly.
When the Star makes an appearance in a tarot reading, it can carry several different meanings, all of which revolve around the ideas of hope and body and spirit.
The first message is the most basic: Keep faith and do not lose hope. The universe has all the answers we seek — as represented by the other stars in the sky. The card may herald support and assistance from an unexpected source, or it may point to a change in circumstances leading to a positive outcome.
The Star card also reminds us that hope and dreams are an essential part of both our spiritual and physical health. When dreams fade, it's easy for our spirit and our health to follow. The appearance of the Star reminds us that hope springs eternal, and we need it to survive.
The card also reminds us to treat our bodies and our spirit equally. We are often reminded to take care of our bodies with proper diet and exercise, but we are far less often reminded to take care of our spirit. The appearance of the Star points to a balance and reminds us of the importance of both.
Lastly, the card reminds us to seek inspiration. Hope and optimism flow endlessly, but only when we raise our eyes to the stars. We must remember to look to what inspires us and let that inspiration sustain us.
The Star Card Inverted
The reversed Star card often points to a loss of faith, or an imbalance between body and spirit.
Perhaps the daily grind has led to a loss of hope for someone, or perhaps life's challenges have led to a lack of belief in oneself. Whatever the reason, the card points to fading dreams and a rising feeling of discouragement.
... the card points to fading dreams and a rising feeling of discouragement
When the Star card appears inverted it's often a sign that someone is going through a collapse in optimism — hope has faded, and the outlook may appear bleak.
The Star reminds us that inspiration is always there, but it's up to each of us to seek it out. The Star is always shining, but if we don't seek out inspiration and positivity, we may not see it.
Another meaning of the inverted Star card is that blind hope may have carried on for too long. It's easy to cling to hope for day after day, or year after year, but at some point the necessity for action becomes clear.
Hope itself must be balanced with energy and impetus. While hope will always spring eternal, there are times to change direction and actively follow one's inner voice.
Common Symbols Found On the Star Card
Tarot cards often use a a common symbology to illustrate additional information about how the card should be interpreted. The Star contains at least six well-known, repeating Tarot symbols. Each of these common symbols can add greater levels of meaning to the card.
The symbols which appear on the Star card are:
Water symbolism appears on the Star card:
In Tarot illustrations, water comes in multiple forms — ranging from rain, to secluded pools, to meandering rivers and streams, to endless seas and oceans. While each of these types of water may carry a more specific meaning, water in the simplest terms references emotion, nourishment and our intuitive nature. Water is more commonly found in the Minor Arcana cards, and is more often (but not only) found in Cups cards.
Pools of Water
Pools of water symbolism appears on the Star card:
More than streams, oceans or rivers — standing pools of water in classic the Tarot deck imply peaceful wellsprings of spiritual energy. Surrounded by signs of life, or manifestations of heavenly power, pools of water often accompany positive messages of creation, replenishment and sustenance.
NOTE: It's worth noting that the golden-haired nymph on the Star card doesn't actually enter the water. Instead, her foot rests upon on the surface, as if she herself is as ephemeral as starlight.
Birds symbolism appears on the Star card:
Birds shown on Tarot artwork generally fall into two distinct categories: Identifiable birds (like eagles, falcons, etc.) and flocks of tiny, unidentifiable birds shown flying far away in the sky. All the court cards from the Suit of Swords fall into the latter category. These tiny birds are a reminder that the Swords suit is connected to the classical element of Air. Although each of the identifiable birds, has its own unique interpretation, birds in a general sense all represent freedom — both a psychological freedom, and freedom from physical barriers.
Green fields symbolism appears on the Star card:
Green fields in Rider-Waite Tarot symbolism generally indicate prosperity, possibility, health and wholesomeness. Although green fields are generally associated with positivity, they are sometimes included on cards with an overall negative message in order to contrast between negative and positive concepts — as shown in the background and foreground of the card.
Trees symbolism appears on the Star card:
In most cases, trees highlight a connection to natural forces and the natural world. Trees are some of the most widely used symbols in the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck. The precise meaning of any one tree depends on the specific Tarot card on which it appears.
NOTE: The single tree shown in The Star tarot card is notable primarily because of the ibis bird which makes a home on its branches. The ibis is the animal representation of the ancient Egyptian god Thoth, who was the deity associated with learning and wisdom.
Night symbolism appears on the Star card:
In much the same way that visibility is better in the daytime than it is during the night, cards which depict a night scene generally share a some connection to the unknown or mystery. The degree of darkness in "nighttime" Tarot illustrations varies. Some "night" cards depict completely dark scenes, while others depict an evening setting or a setting lit by the light of the Moon.
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