The Star – Major Arcana Tarot Card Meaning, according to Waite, Ouspensky, Crowley and Papus
The Star is the seventeenth Major Arcana of the Tarot. It represents a naked woman, kneeling with one foot in the water and the other on the land and pouring liquid into the water and onto the land. On the sky, there is a great, radiant star of eight rays, surrounded by seven lesser stars, also of eight rays.
It is the first of the three consecutive trumps representing the luminaries: The Star (17th), The Moon (18th) and the Sun (19th).
Waite about the Star: Eternal Youth and Beauty
Reversed, the Star can signify, according to the same author: „arrogance, haughtiness, impotence“.
In the chapter „The Doctrine behind the Veil“, Waite tells us that „the figure expresses eternal youth and beauty. The star is l’étoile flamboyante, which appears in Masonic symbolism, but has been confused therein. That which the figure communicates to the living scene is the substance of the heavens and the elements. It has been said truly that the mottoes of this card are “Waters of Life freely” and “Gifts of the Spirit “.“
In Kabalistic terms, the Star of Tarot is „Sephira Binah, which is supernal Understanding, who communicates to the Sephiroth that are below in the measure that they can receive her influx“.
Ouspensky about the Star: Nature’s Imagination
When he sees the Star, Ouspensky identifies it with „that Heaven of which Plotinus speaks“, offering us the following description:
„ Where . . . all things are diaphanous; and nothing is dark and resisting, but everything is apparent to every one internally and throughout. For light everywhere meets with light, since everything contains all things in itself, and again sees all things in another. So that all things are everywhere, and all is all. Each thing likewise is everything. And the splendour there is infinite. For everything there is great, since even that which is small is great“.
And, after understanding that „ all the radiance here is thought; and the changing colours are emotions“, Osupensky has the ultimate revelation:
„For a moment I understood that I beheld the Soul of Nature. «This is Nature’s Imagination», said the voice gently. «Nature dreams, improvises, creates worlds. Learn to unite your imagination with Her Imagination and nothing will ever be impossible for you. Lose the external world and seek it in yourself. Then you will find Light. But remember, unless you have lost the Earth, you will not find Heaven. It is impossible to see both wrongly and rightly at the same time». “
Crowley about the Star: Nuit, Our Lady of the Stars
The ceremonial magician tells us that „ the picture represents Nuith, our Lady of the Stars. For the full meaning of this sentence it is necessary to understand the first chapter of the Book of the Law“. („The Book of the Law“ or „Liber AL vel Legis“ is a text dictated to Ouspensky by Aiwass, a non-corporeal being, containing the principles of Thelema, the religion inaugurated by Crowley; Nuith is one of the goddesses, in Thelema, named after Nutm the Egyptian sky goddess who leans over her husband and brother, Geb, the Earth God. She is usually depicted as a naked woman who is covered with stars).
Like Waite, Ouspensky also associate this Major Arcana with the Sephiroth Binah from Kabala: „ The left hand, lowered, holds a silver cup, from which also she pours the immortal liquor of her life. (This liquor is the Amrita of the Indian philosophers, the Nepenthe and Ambrosia of the Greeks, the Alkahest and Universal Medicine of the Alchemists, the Blood of the Grail; or, rather, the nectar which is the mother of that blood. She pours it upon the junction of land and water. This water is the water of the great Sea of Binah; in the manifestation of Nuith on a lower plane, she is the Great Mother. For the Great Sea is upon the shore of the fertile earth, as represented by the roses in the right hand corner of the picture. But between sea and land is the “Abyss”, and this is hidden by the clouds, which whirl as a development of her hair: “my hair the trees of Eternity”.“
Papus about the Star: Opposition to Destruction
Papus affirms that „this card exactly balances the evil effects of the preceding one, and from it we derive the following significations:
- Opposition to destruction. No destruction is final. Everything is eternal and immortal in God – IMMORTALITY – creation of the human soul.
- The fall is not irreparable. This is whispered to us by the intuitive sentiment we name HOPE.
- The Visible Universe contains the source of its Divinization in itself. This is THE FORCE WHICH DISPENSES THE ESSENCE OF LIFE, which gives it the means of perpetually renewing its creations after destruction“.