The Star is a major arcana tarot card associated with the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, which is one of the most current derivations of the Tarot de Marseilles or Latin Tarot. It is number 17 (XVII) in major arcana and when it appears in a spread, it usually signifies hope.
The star shows a twilight scene of a nude maiden kneeling in a grassy field at a pool's edge with two water-filled jugs. Her right hand holds a jug pouring water into the pool, which creates concentric circles moving outward. Her left hand pours water into a river that forms five tributaries. She is under the light of a bright star with seven smaller stars. In the background is a tree with a bird on it.
The card's location in the deck, numerology, and images and symbols allow you to glean more information about its meaning in a tarot spread.
Major Arcana Position
When a major arcana card appears in a reading, it suggests significant energy relating to the querent or query. Tarot decks were originally created for game play, and the major arcana represents the deck's trump cards. In divination, these cards show psychological or spiritual archetypes. The archetypal energy represented in the Star is hope.
The Star is number 17 of the major arcana cards. It appears immediately after several cards representing deep change (sometimes cataclysmic) including Death, Temperance, The Devil, and The Tower. After the dark and difficult images of these cards, the Star arises like a breath of fresh air, offering light after darkness and a sense of new hope. It is the first in a series of three "celestial cards," which include the Star, the Moon, and the Sun, suggesting a dawning of the light after darkness.
In numerology, the number 17 reduces to 8 (1+7). This number reflects worldly success, such as in work, business, or finances. This number is reinforced by the total number of stars on the card. In the tarot, the number 8 also represents rewards and progress, as well as another major arcana card, Strength. This suggests strength is a quality that can help overcome difficulties to bring hope. The five tributaries represent the five physical senses.
Each of the images on the card further contribute to its meaning.
- The maiden is a water-carrier, which is the symbol of the Aquarian astrological sign. This is a fixed air sign. The element of air in tarot is associated with the mind, and its primary energy is, "I think."
- Her nakedness is a symbol of truth and transparency; she hides nothing.
- The water flowing into a still pool and creating concentric circles shows energy flowing outward from a small point to become larger as it moves away from its initiation point. It is also a representation of the element water.
- The grass field represents the element of earth. The maiden kneels on the earth, suggesting groundedness and rootedness in the physical.
- Stars represent the element of fire, which is active and passionate, and they also serve to light or heal the darkness.
- The bird represents aspiration.
- The tree of life represents being rooted to earth but reaching high.
- All four of the classical elements are represented in this card, suggesting a balance of energies.
Putting It All Together
When the Star appears in a tarot spread, it suggests light dawning after a period of darkness and bringing hope. It also suggests that balanced action, truthfulness and integrity, strength, and groundedness are essential and if the querent practices these qualities, the pinpoint of light that is hope can expand and grow.
Some tarot readers use reversals in their readings. When reversed, the star suggests giving up to easily, creative blockage, or being so attracted to the brightness of light you forget it requires practical action to bring about change.
Card of Hope
When the Star appears in a reading, it brings with it the energy of hope, especially after a period of difficulty or tumult. It also reminds you it is up to you to facilitate this change through right action and thinking.