I’m most aware that we can see this Star in all her beauty through her garment. She’s not at all concerned with her visibility.
It’s very much like that when we become comfortable with our true calling. People can see us for who we are. We’re not wearing a social mask. What we do no longer hides us.
This Star pours from a pitcher and a cup. We know Cups as the suit of relationships, emotions and creativity, the suit of the heart. Our mission is never in isolation; there’s always service and connection to others involved. And there’s certainly creativity: no one else has our mission. We’re making it up as we go.
Quite often I’ve heard from clients who think they’ve found their mission when they’re doing what they “should be” doing, even though they hate it. Our missions satisfy us, even emotionally. If you’re not in love with what you’re doing, you’re still earthbound. Aim higher.
In this deck, XVII The Stars is a multiple. Our detailed Star is just one of many glowing in the firmament. Her halo glows brightly, and so do those of all the stars that surround her. We are one of many with a personal mission. Other stars shining brightly don’t dim our light. When we see others being a light in the dark, we can welcome their success, knowing that we’re doing the same, that we’re also being recognized for our inspiration by those we serve.
Take your place amoung the stars!
If you’re not feeling very star-ish, tarot provides an excellent tool to help you connect with your calling. You know where I can be found.
No, you’re not seeing things. That is indeed the Nativity Scene on a Tarot card.
Sadly, Tarot is often misunderstood as a “heathen” construct. It’s better looked at as a tool that transcends religions and dogmas.
The Golden Tarot of the Tsar uses images based on the rich tradition of iconography in the Russian Orthodox Church. These deeply spiritual works of art are meant, like the tarot, for meditation in service of enlightenment and connection with the Divine.
As you know from Tarot . . . It’s Easier Than You Think, XVII The Star is about your calling. We talked about the sense of personal mission last time we looked at the card.
What always strikes me about the Star in the Christmas story is how unlikely the elements of the situation are to the rational mind. Here we have the newborn child of travelling parents from one of the least-well-thought-of areas of their world. And we have Magi travelling with gifts of great worth, following a star that ends up . . . right over the straw laid down for livestock, where the parents and their newborn are resting post-delivery. How did we see that coming? And is it likely the Wise Men were expecting that kind of picture when they set off to follow the star that promised the King of Kings?
What about once they were there? Did they ever have a moment when they doubted their mission? If they did, it didn’t affect their actions: they still gave their precious gifts to the low-born parents and child. Imagine the hope, the faith, the perseverance involved to follow through on what was begun despite the probable difference between what the Magi imagined and what the star brought them to.
Let’s take this down to your life. Your mission can have the most unlikely beginnings. The elements don’t have to make sense. You don’t have to know where the journey will end. You just have to follow your star. Keep the faith, don’t lose hope, listen to your inspiration no matter what you see around you.
Your humble beginnings will have a lasting impact, the same as the lasting impact of the outcast child born on the floor of a cave used for livestock.
Celebrate your star!
For those of you celebrating the Christmas season, may it deepen your faith to enrich your life and the lives of those around you.
Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere . . . that darkest time of the year, when the sun “stands still” for 3 days. In that stillness, if we choose, is an opportunity to pause and explore our depths, to go within our own deepest darkness. We’ll need those resources in the cold time before us. There is no more harvest to be had; we’ll have to draw on what we already possess to make it through till the bounty begins again in the spring.
How to explore? Our earth, our bodies, are slow with cold, buried under snow – and parkas. Our water is frozen, immobilized. All the better to examine our emotions! Our fire’s been tamed, brought indoors to keep us warm. The spirit’s close to the hearth. The air is crisp and clear, as quick and vivacious as ever. Our minds and thoughts have additional clarity now, seeing anew, reflecting on what we see of ourselves in the stillness, keeping our passions close to home.
It’s not a journey for the faint of heart, so tarot can be our guide into the depths and back out again. For this solar landmark, our Winter Solstice spread puts the now into the context of the full lunar year (there are 13 cards in this big spread, honouring each of the lunar months of the year). Let’s look at a spread that takes us into our collective depths. Throw your own personal spread the day of the Solstice, or the day before or after. We’ll use Barbara Moore & Franco Rivolli’s Silver Witchcraft Tarot.
What’s at our depths? IV The Emperor
Whew! Right at the beginning of our journey we’re discovering that what’s at the bottom isn’t so bad. The Emperor gives us sovereignty over our lives while we retain our connection to others. As the lambs and ram attest, he corresponds to Aries, the beginning of Spring. Here at the Solstice, we’re already hearkening to revivification. As a society, we’ll be confronting our rigid and ineffectual systems, with opportunities to give them new life and make them more inclusive.
How can we reach them? 4 of Chalices
It’s always good to know the vehicle that will take us where we want to go . . . no sense getting on the wrong bus. Our dreams will be a help this winter. Guided meditations that relax the body to let the mind travel are excellent carriers. Following your areas of boredom and dissatisfaction (looking toward a traditional meaning of the card) can also be fertile roads to explore. Even falling asleep on the job will lead us down to the bottom. In the bigger picture, that says we’re part of systems that are failing; if we do nothing, we’ll be looking at the foundations. Since we’re being pointed to Spring again, we can expect our journey to be a long-term process.
What do we want to bring out with us? XV The Devil
Here’s the first intimation that there’s some scary stuff down there in the deeps. We’ll encounter some of our own dead zones this winter, as individuals and as a society. What have we let die through neglect? What have we killed and buried, thinking we were done with it? We’ll actually benefit from unearthing our self-destructive side. Notice when you hear yourself, or someone else, saying things like “I’d like to kill that guy” or “They deserve to just be blown away.” It’s a difficult thing to hear, especially from ourselves or the ones we love. Consciousness of those moments is bringing the Devil out of the depths.
How can we use it? 5 of Pentacles
And here we have what to do with our own killing energies when we bring them up: we let them go. As the maiden and crone are doing, we shed our robes, the actions and habits that have brought us to where we are now, in preparation for immersing ourselves in the flowing waters of Spring. Our connection to the Tree of Life and the rabbit of endless fertility and creativity is strong. We don’t need our self-destructive habits, as individuals, or as a society.
The side of using self-destruction that we all fear speaks to war, environmental degradation, ethnic cleansing – the global traumas that are all too commonplace in our lives. How does the technological availability of reports on these issues serve the call to bring XV The Devil out of the depths?
What will be brought to light? XVIII
XVIII The Moon keeps secrets, creating illusions and confusion. The Moon brought to light will show our illusions in the harsh light of day. Remember, sometimes that’s a good thing: what we thought was a threatening monster was just a duffle bag with a hockey stick propped against it. Other times it’s a little more terrifying: we find the plans we’ve counted on don’t have the foundations we thought they did. Or someone finds the key to our closely guarded secrets and shares them out in the open. Come Spring (XVIII The Moon’s association with Pisces is another reference to spring), much less will be hidden and much more will be clear. Apparently, Wikileaks will be having a field day.
Look back to XV The Devil. How often do the destructive impulses you’ve encountered follow fear, confusion, or misunderstanding? How often do we think the solution to our problems is to kill something or someone?
What has been brought into balance? XVII The Star
In XVII The Star we have the masculine and feminine aspects of the Divine truly connected, with the spark of creation the product of that connection. The Star is a welcome beacon in the dark of night. We can find our way home from the light and position of the Star. I can’t help but think of the portion of Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where God and Adam touch fingers. The Star awakens our individual and collective Divine sparks, calling us as co-creators. If we’ve been stampeding ahead into inappropriate action without listening to our inner calling, we’ve been out of balance. If we’re in touch with our purpose but haven’t found the energy to act on what we feel, we’ve been out of balance. It’s very good news that we’ll individually be feeling and acting on our personal missions here on our shared planet. What might our community or national or global missions be as a group? It will be beautiful to see the results as our sense of purpose is restored to the people of Earth.
What will be left behind? 8 of Swords
Traditionally, 8 of Swords is the card of being stuck. Those days will be over for us. How amazing will it be to have long term problems finally moving toward solution?
What I’m aware of in Franco Rivolli’s image is the threads that have already been cut, but are still attached to the tree. Earlier, in the 5 of Pentacles, we saw those strong threads attaching our women to the Tree of Life in the midst of change and letting go. Here the impending storm is so frightening that geese are moving on rather than hunkering down, and people have been cutting their threads to escape.
If we’re no longer cutting our ties to life, we’re staying to engage and deal with the storm. Could we see a more proactive attitude from greater numbers in the coming year? Could we see the literal suicide numbers decline? What a beautiful thing that would be, especially for the families of those in the Armed Services, where the numbers are astonishingly high.
What choices and decisions are now possible? Knight of Chalices
How many people do you know who would love to follow their hearts, but feel unable to for a multitude of reasons? Are you one of them? The Knight of Chalices has connected his mind to his heart. He’s following his heart as he makes choices and decisions. What will be possible as we bring compassion and emotional connection back into our lives? I’ll join the Knight of Chalices in a toast to a world where we’re individually and collectively making choices from the depths of our hearts.
What do we welcome into our lives? XI Justice
Your reaction to XI Justice is dependent on your perception of your “guilt” level. XI Justice is all about accountability and truth. It will help us deal effectively with the confusion and deception of XVIII The Moon. If there’s an accountability price tag to XI Justice in your life, what it purchases will be considered a bargain (remember, we’re welcoming Justice, not dreading it). Who doesn’t hunger for justice? Who hasn’t said “that’s just not fair!”?
This particular XI Justice image turns its attention to the dark pillar, appropriate for our quest into unknown depths. The butterflies indicate new life and transformation out of the darkness. Collectively, we could welcome steps toward economic justice or climate justice.
What do we release? XII The Hanged Man
Releasing is different from leaving behind. We leave behind what’s outmoded, we release what’s caged. XII The Hanged Man is the Philosopher, trapped by no particular dogma or world view, able to see and accept – and be comfortable with – a variety of perspectives. This can add to our growing store of tools to dispel misconceptions that lead to destructive actions. Knight of Chalices allows us to connect with each other via the heart, XII The Hanged Man brings us connection via the enlightened mind.
Can we understand and accept the varieties of perspectives that make up our complex individual characters? Can we learn about the perspectives of tribes other than our own? The release of XII The Hanged Man says “yes”.
There’s an interesting connection here to the 8 of Swords. The 8 of Swords is tethered with criticism, the mindset that we’re leaving behind. It is also a card of inactivity, stuckness. XII The Hanged Man is also tethered and inactive, but with a very different attitude. He has the patience to wait for understanding of a new perspective with an open mind. If we’re releasing him, has he now reached a level of understanding that allows for enlightened action?
What do we celebrate in the Winter season? VIII Strength
VIII Strength celebrates our own strength and stamina, our fiery Leonine wild side. The mask we wear is that of the Green Man, our nature archetype. We can celebrate our health, our vitality, our abilities as instinctual beings. Those of us with furry companions can celebrate the additional warm that cozying with them brings us.
There’s another function of companion animals – and of our instinctual selves: to keep guard, to defend our safety, our territory. A barking dog sets boundaries. As we’re developing understanding for those with other belief systems, other world views, we can still define ourselves as separate, without losing our sense of connection. We can celebrate a better sense of ourselves as individuals within the greater world.
The shadow side of these celebrations would be the martial displays that celebrate victory through dominance. Rather than engage with those, celebrate the true strength that is displayed when we are living our mission, our purpose. Celebrate the stamina required to continue living that purpose, even against opposition. Celebrate the instincts that tell us “this direction is my meaningful path, that path holds meaning for someone else”. Celebrate the victory of vitality over the self-destructive XV Devil.
What mysteries will we contemplate? 2 of Wands
2 of Wands is the card of Winter Solstice. The mysteries of the season itself, as well as the mysteries that are revealed by living this spread are indicated. We’ve got another companion animal in the Silver Witchcraft 2 of Wands. This cat is asleep, relaxed in safety. We’re safe here, free to reflect, to contemplate all that we’ve laid out in our Depths of Stillness spread. What are the possibilities for expansion in the coming year? Which goals will bring us a warm glow? Which values will light our way? Who can we partner with in our cherished projects? How do our beliefs help create the world around us?
Who will we become? 7 of Chalices
7 of Chalices lays our choices before us, as coloured by our hopes and fears. Will we waste our Knight of Chalices potential to follow our hearts on the passing desires that are little more than temptations set up by external advertising? Will we recognize when we’re choosing out of fear? Will we meet the testing aspect of 7 of Chalices with the knowledge of our own sacred mission, to make choices that support that mission? Will we recognize that our purpose is just one individual purpose amoung a world of individuals, each with her own mission?
An exploration into the depths this Winter Solstice brings us to a crisis point. We can be lost in delusion, endlessly looking for the next thing to make us happy. Not the outcome I wish for any of us. Or, we can become someone with a sacred heart, a heart dedicated to our personal purpose in this lifetime, harvesting our most meaningful dreams.
I wish you all the warmth and beauty of a sacred Winter Solstice.
We’ve seen the Sun and the Moon . . . . it’s about time we got around to the Star(s).
We’ve got lots of cultural imagery around stars: we wish on them, we steer by them, we’d give them to others if we could (along with the sun and moon), we sing and marvel at their twinkle . . . .
And any and all of those images can factor into how you interpret XVII The Star.
The Wildwood Tarot Pole Star focuses our attention to guidance for our personal journey. Whether or not we have a personal star in the universe, we do each have a unique purpose or guiding light in our lives. XVII The Star reminds us of that mission.
One of my favourite questions to ask when helping people find their destiny is “what would you do even if you were never rewarded, recognized or appreciated?” That wonderful thing you do no matter what is a key to your most fulfilling life. The Rider-Waite-Smith image displays that beautifully: our blonde beauty pours endlessly from 2 jugs, never needing to be replenished.
It’s wonderful that we’re all literally made of star stuff (and so is much of our dust bunnies!). Our pole star is actually internal, part of us.
XVII lets us know that we’re being rejuvenated, restored to our most authentic selves. We can expect opportunities to revel in our natural gifts.
Shine brightly, beautiful star!
If you’re looking for personal help with your tarot learning or for phone, email, or in-person tarot counseling, here‘s where to find me.
We’ve had another look at XVII The Star here. And a third look here.