The Star is the 17th archetype of the Tarot’s Major Arcana. It is a multi-layered, multi-faceted card – it beckons with hope, inspiration and a touch of magic when we need it the most, while also warning of the dangers of plummeting our subconscious depths where we risk loosing both faith, hope and our sense of direction.
The Star archetype often relates to shadow work as it talks about recovering faith in ourselves and hope in our futures, healing the emotional wounds of the past and finding renewed joy in creating and discovering our authentic voice and vision in life.
Is the Star the most powerful card in the Tarot?
Objectively speaking, it is impossible to say which Major Arcana card is the most powerful of them all – it all depends on the context of the tarot reading in which the card appears. Nevertheless, the Star card is one of the most potent and powerful in any Tarot deck.
What is certain is that the Star card, when it turns up at the right time and addresses the right issue, can work as a powerful key to help you unlock deeper meaning and reconnect with your true spiritual path.
The Star card may appear when you are feeling lost or are struggling with a lack of faith. The Star card brings you back to yourself, and reminds you that you can always turn within for wisdom and hope. There is always a guiding compass within you, a spiritual compass pointing you in the right direction in life and leading you towards the most positive and fulfilling future possible.
Just like the woman depicted in the Star card, you too can kneel at the inner wellspring of wisdom and inspiration any time you wish to touch base with your internal universe.
Star Tarot card symbology
Like any other Tarot card, depictions of the Star card vary between different decks but will usually contain the same universal set of symbols.
The first thing you will discover when you look at the Star card is the nude, golden-haired woman kneeling in the foreground. She represents the querent or the spiritual seeker.
The woman’s nakedness is a sign that she is calm and confident within herself, and she has complete faith in the spiritual journey she is undertaking.
The seeker has one foot thrust forward and dipped in the water, one on the land behind her. In the Rider-Waite Tarot, it looks as if her foot is supported by the surface of the water, making it seem as though that she could choose to stand up and walk on it like Jesus. This detail adds to the sense of faith and magical possibility inherent in the Star card.
The fact that the seeker has one foot in the water – the element of irrationality, creativity and emotion – while also keeping one foot firmly on the ground suggests a balanced approach to the spiritual journey. The seeker is fearlessly plummeting the depths of the subconscious while keeping one foot firmly on the ground.
The North Star
In the sky, right above the kneeling female’s bowed neck, hangs the North Star. Every single compass in the world is oriented to towards it. It is hardly any wonder why the North Star has become a universal symbol of hope, truth and direction.
The North Star signifies spiritual essence and truth. When we tune in and turn inwards, our guiding star is always there, ready to guide us. Often, we look for the answers everywhere else, before we turn to our internal compass.
The Star card is a reminder that our internal compass, our essential truth, our intuition, is never wrong. It will never abandon us or go quiet on us. Our internal North Star is as securely fixed in our souls as the external North Star is on the night sky above us.
The seven smaller stars
Seven smaller stars surround the large North Star.
The smaller stars represent the seven chakras, the energetic centers that regulate our ethereal bodies. The smaller stars dancing around the larger one suggest than when all aspects of ourselves are in harmony, we discover and experience true harmony in life.
The seven smaller stars dotted around the North Star suggest a harmonious relationship between the internal essence and the outer self.
The woman in the Star Tarot card holds a jug in each hand. At first glance, we may assume that she is filling her jugs from the body of water at her feet, in order to take power and inspiration from it, but in fact, she is giving.
The spiritual seeker understands this. She knows that we must give before we can receive. From one of her jugs she pours a mysterious liquid into the water, and from the other she pours this same mysterious liquid onto the land.
The relationship between the spiritual seeker and the landscape is symbiotic – she is feeding it and nurturing it, as well as gaining strength and comfort from it.
The body of water where the woman in the Star card kneels is a symbol of the subconscious, of creativity, and of deep feelings and hidden potential.
Often, people either ignore or try to flee and hide from their subconscious. Most of us fear a confrontation with the pain of the past, or with the dark and difficult emotions and the inconvenient impulses that live deep within it.
But not the spiritual seeker in the Star card. Rather than turning her back on its mysterious waters, she kneels at them, naked, vulnerable and free, because she is not afraid of her own reflection or shadow. She even feeds her own essence into the water- an exchange of energy takes place. Facing your subconscious in this way is a powerful expression of self love as well as a direct path to emotional healing.
The darkness of the Star card is symbolic of the darkness of the subconscious and implies both potential challenges and dangers, and also mystery and hidden potential.
The darkness of the night could suggest uncertainty or fear of the future. Worries and doubts about money or about career, education or overall direction in life may leave you feeling disconnected from your internal power center.
Universal Star Major Arcana Tarot card meanings
The Star is a complex Tarot card with many layers of meaning that shift and morph depending on the context and subject of the Tarot reading it appears in. Here are some of the most common meanings and interpretations.
Intuition and inner guidance
The Star Tarot card always speaks of intuition and internal guidance.
The Star Tarot card is a potent reminder that the highest authority resides deep within us and that the answers to our the mysteries of our lives already exist in the depths of our minds.
Shadow work is another prominent meaning of the Star cards shadow work.
In shadow work, the disowned aspects of ourselves are faced, explored, acknowledged and reintegrated into our lives rather than suppressed. The wounds of the past are acknowledged and healed, rather than left to fester.
Dark night of the soul
Shadow work can often lead to a dark night of the soul.
In the dark night of the soul it is always darkest just before the dawn, and the Star Tarot card is the moment when dawn breaks, or is just about to break.
Inspiration and creativity
The Star Tarot card reminds us that true creativity resides in the subconscious mind. Truly inspired forms of art and self expression come from deep within. They’re powerful because they are charged with the raw, irrational emotion that lives in the depths of our subconscious. The intellect can only edit, not create.
Faith, hope and bright prospects
Yet another meaning of the Star card is hope and positive prospects for the future.
The landscape in the Star card may be dark and shadowy, but the light of the guiding star is guaranteed to lead you in the right direction.
The Star Tarot card reversed
The upright Star is already rather dark and poses potential challenges in readings where it appears. The Star reversed brings out and underscores the dark aspects inherent in this powerful card.
Loss of self, loss of direction
In the reversed Star, the light of the North Star in the sky becomes obscured and difficult to see. Whereas in the upright Star we discover the key to our authenticity and are able to pick out a positive path to our future by starlight, now we are thrust into darkness and confusion. There is a sense of being unable to connect with our true feelings, an inability to access our own internal universe and all of its resources.
Lack of inspiration
If the upright Star is a sign of creative potential uncovered, the Star reversed is a sign of creative potential lost.
In the upright Star card, we see the seeker kneeling at the internal wellspring of inspired ideas. In the reversed Star card, the waters become threatening, dark and murky, threatening to suck us down rather than nourish us.
When we are out of touch with our creative soul, we miss out on the healing power and deeper satisfaction that come from creative expression.
Loss and abandonment
The reversed Star card can be a sign of loneliness and even of abandonment.
In the upright Star Tarot card the seeker doesn’t need anyone and is completely free and at ease in her own company. In the reversed Star card, there is a sense of despair and loneliness, perhaps of unrequited feelings or an unfulfilling relationship.
Arrogance and emotional distance
When reversed, another aspect of the Star card meaning comes forward. The humility and sincerity of the upright card turns into arrogance and aloofness, deliberately blocking out feelings, relationships and any aspect of life that requires depth, intimacy and self reflection.