The Star (Tarot card)

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The Star (XVII) from the Rider-Waite deck

The Star (XVII) is the seventeenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.


A naked woman kneels by the water; one foot is in the water, one foot is on the land. Above her head a star shines out. In each hand she holds a jug. From one jug she pours a liquid into the water. From the other jug she pours a liquid onto the land. In other, older decks, a woman (or sometimes even a man) is simply looking and sometimes gesturing at a large star in the sky.


Some frequent keywords include:[1][unreliable source?]

  • Calmness — Free-flowing love — Trust
  • Tranquility — Peace of mind — Pure essence
  • Hope — Serenity — Inspiration — Generosity
  • Optimism — Joy — Faith — Regeneration
  • Good will — Optimism — Harmony — Renewal of forces

Rider-Waite symbolism[edit]

A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot interpretations;[2] however, not all interpretations follow his philosophy.

  • The bird nested on the tree bears resemblance to the Ibis, a bird which was venerated by the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of the god Thoth.
  • There are altogether 8 stars which account for the 8 minor astrological planets (excluding the sun and moon which have their own respective cards). This is inclusive of Pluto - at the time of the deck's illustration an unknown planet X (Pluto was officially discovered in 1930). According to Waite the main star is l'Etoile Flamboyante of the Masonic tradition.[3]
  • She pours the waters of life equally into the pool of universal consciousness, and upon the ground, representing physical matter. The water flows freely, a sign of perpetual creation.[4]

Divination usage[edit]


The pool of water refers to the subconscious or the universal. The land refers to the material world. The natural woman or goddess of Nature renews both. The two pitchers represent integration of the two opposite sides of our nature.[5] Usually divined as hope for the future, it may indicate good things to come in the things represented by cards that may be close to the star in a reading layout.

The Star represents a moment of renewed hope, inspiration and discovery. The turmoil of escape from the Devil depicted on the previous trump in the series (The Tower) is over, indicating calm after the storm. It is a breakthrough, a new opportunity to rise to higher state of consciousness.[6] It is the first of 3 cards of increasing light, indicating we may be receiving greater clarity.[7] A higher pathway is becoming visible. We may solve a mystery, discover secrets, or gain ideas in meditation.[8]

The ladder of planets by which we climb the mystical journey is visible in the sky. In the Fool's or Hero's Journey, the Star indicates that we are approaching the goal of enlightenment.[7]

The appearance of this card while divining is a sign of hope and inspiration. Because of the continual flow of water from the maiden's vessels, it can signify that there is no final end. This card can represent good health and balance, and unselfish aid. If the card appears upside down in a spread, however, it can mean pessimism and stubbornness.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In The House of the Dead 4, part of Sega's House of the Dead series, The Star appears as a levitating humanoid able to control projectiles of light and serves as the penultimate boss of the game. All bosses in the House of the Dead series are named after the Major Arcana.
  • The main character of the third series of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Jotaro Kujo, is the wielder of Star Platinum, a powerful Stand that gives him super-strength and super-speed, and later enables him to stop time. It was named after this tarot card.
  • The Star card is a major theme in Tom Robbins' "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas." An altered version of the card appears in "Part One" and is discussed throughout the book.
  • In the SNES video game Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, the Star Tarot card depicts a woman in a white dress standing on clouds and pouring two jugs of water from the starry sky onto the world. On drawing the card after liberation of one of the towns, it increases characters' agility by 1 point, and also increases their agility more when used in battle than when drawn on liberation, but only until the battle ends.[9]


  1. ^ "The Star". Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  2. ^ Wood, 1998
  3. ^ The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by Arthur Waite
  4. ^ a b Gray, E. (1960). The tarot revealed: A modern guide to reading the tarot cards. New York, N.Y.: Bell Publishing Company.
  5. ^ Robert Place, The Tarot, Tarcher-Penguin, 2005, p.157
  6. ^ Robert Place, The Tarot, Tarcher-Penguin, 2005, p. 208
  7. ^ a b Robert Place, The Tarot, Tarcher-Penguin, 2005, p. 156.
  8. ^ Paul Foster Case, The Tarot, BOTA, 1947, p.175
  9. ^ "Ogre Battle - Tarot Cards". Retrieved 2011-12-19. 

External links[edit]