Arcana In Balance: The Star


StarRWtarotAfter reading a number of interpretations for The Star, one thread seems to run through all of them: Hope. All the various meanings for the Star seem very esoteric, celestial, and ethereal. How do you hold one abstract thing above another to even get out of balance in the first place? Isn’t all hope good and all hopelessness bad and that’s that? The balance point for The Star isn’t very obvious to me.

Wiccans, astrologers and others often say “as above so below”. I think that is our key to understanding the Star’s balance point. The balance isn’t so much hope vs hopelessness as it is celestial vs terrestrial, esoteric vs practical – with one caveat. The balance point in this card is a step removed from the reading. Somewhat like we talked about with the Tower card, the pivot point is more about our response than it is about the card’s meaning within a given reading.

My parent’s home was destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Juan back in the 1980s….as was half of the tiny town where they lived and where I grew up. I remember the first night driving past the changed landscape toward their new apartment in an adjacent town. It felt like being dropped onto another planet to have such familiar places so profoundly changed. Then above the treeline I saw a recognizable constellation … and knew it would all be OK in the end. The feeling was a balance of both hope in what will be, plus being comforted by what was familiar. Hopefulness is an esoteric thing. Feeling comforted by a familiar pattern of stars is a very earthy thing.

We all go through times of change and loss. Fear and uncertainty are universal emotions. There are millions across the globe who have genuine cause to fear for their literal survival and have every reason to abandon hope. Loss and grief are experiences that shouldn’t be denied or minimized by sing-song-y talk about “hope”. Superficial platitudes filled with nothing  but rosy glasses and starry eyes does exactly that. Too much celestial, ethereal, ‘airy-fairy’ does its own kind of damage. Saying “have hope” isn’t much help without a down-to-earth plan about just exactly how to go get it. Hope comes from the beauty and constancy of stars…but it also comes from having a road to drive on and a new place to live. Taking comfort from the predictability of stars feels very visceral, very bone-marrow-deep to me. Stars give hope and comfort whether you are wondering about your next date or wondering if the wolves will stay away from the campfire. On one hand the stars have been our friends for a long, long time. On the other hand, it is easier to get to know the stars when you aren’t huddled around a small fire living in fear of being eaten. And there you have the balance of the star card…hope, and how to get it.

Too much “pie in the sky” hope, and you have problems. By the same token, too much “earthy” and you can just get covered in mud. Run out of esoteric or spiritual and you can run out of hope pretty quickly. I often use my favorite example of this with the Tower card. Stars are higher in the sky than towers by a long shot…to the example is even more apropos here. If you have a problem, look at it from the perspective of the stars. When you shift perspective to that magnitude, most day to day dilemmas slip right into perspective.

Stars give us hope. They can symbolize the esoteric, the emotional and the spiritual realms of life. Which begs the question of how do we get to the stars? How do we find that hope when days get dark? Sometimes the Way to the stars is by touching the Earth. Having stars in your eyes and being blissed out amid the wreckage isn’t helpful when hungry people need food and houses need rebuilt. A real solution, a real plan, and real action is a tangible, close-up way to touch the constancy and comfort of those familiar star patterns.

Other times the way to the stars is a spiritual journey begun with a shift in perspective. Look from as high up as you can mentally muster. Let go. Douglas Adams wrote that all you have to do to fly is throw yourself on the ground and miss. Look up. The Stars and all the magic of the Universe is looking back at you.

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