Every reader’s got that “one card”…
You know, that “one card” that just irks the crap out of you and makes you cringe every time you see it. (Come on, there’s 78 cards in the deck. Odds are there’s gonna be at least ONE that’s gonna get under your skin!) To a lot of people, it’s the 10 of Swords, especially for the new readers or The Hanged Man.
Give you three guesses which one’s my “Irk Card”…? That’s right. It’s this bitch!
I have never liked this card, ever. And, oh please, I know, I’m already bracing myself for the hate mail and that’s okay. Trust me, believe me, I’ve heard it all: “But, Ray, how can you possibly hate this card? It’s so beautiful and dreamy! It has light and romance and stars and,” blah bla-dee-blah blah, yes. It’s so pretty, yes. Seriously, I really believe I have heard it all.
“When I see this card, I see HOPE!”
“I see SUCCESS!”
“I see DREAMS!”
“I see ROMANCE!”
Ray sees: “CO-DEPENDENCY ISSUES AND HAVING YOUR HEAD UP YOUR ASS.”
We humans love to judge. It’s a habit of ours, as much as we try to avoid it, we can’t help it. By placing an adjective on a noun, we are exploring our own identity, as well as assessing our desired environment. But, sometimes we tend to judge without having all the facts or skewing our perspective with prejudice as to not bruise our ego or trigger our sensitivities.
Perfect example of this is when new readers love to see “pain and suffering with the 10 of swords.” This cracks me up because…the guy’s dead! I mean, really dead! No question, totally completely dead. And most likely, that first sword would’ve done the trick (hell, a first dagger would’ve done the trick) so, where’s this suffering and pain they’re talking about? The suffering aspect is their personal slant, the empathy they feel when someone is hurt. It’s a beautiful thing. But, in regards to using the Tarot as a tool, in order to keep the effectiveness and balance of the mechanics, we can’t ignore the end story depiction that we see on the card. Yes, background definitely plays a part. But, what you see in front of you is what needs to be read.
I find this bias and back-story fixation to also be common when reading The Star. The reader’s not so much looking at what’s in front of them, but paying more attention to how she got to the pool or what made her get to the pool, which leads to all kinds of notions.
They’re not paying attention to the fact that she’s not doing anything constructive. Half in and half out of this shallow pond, she’s taking two little pottery jugs, filling them sort-of full of water, then pouring one back into the little pond where all it’s doing is splashing and the other by her leg where it’s just running all over the place. She’s not fertilizing anything she’s planted, she’s not looking at what she’s doing, she’s just… “meditating?”
“Lalala! Water pretty!”
They’re not looking at the fact that she’s disturbingly vulnerable to the elements and she is mortal – there’s no lemniscates above her head. She’s completely alone, nude, with nothing to defend herself with. She’s susceptible to illnesses, bug bites, or even being attacked. She doesn’t have the benefit of being covered by the trees, there are no stones or wood around that could be used as a weapon in time of need, or even darkness to hide her. In fact, quite the contrary, she’s completely illuminated by the star light.
And yes, I do in fact mean “Man.” Another depiction in this card that I find readers tend to neglect is that those stars represent the constellation of Pleiades, the 7 Daughters of Atlas or the 7 Nymphs of Artemis. Both myths describe how these young, innocent dependents, who had no determinable destinies, were sexually hunted by Orion and turned into doves by Zeus. Both myths describe how the fates of these girls were determined and executed by men, much to Artemis’ outrage. http://www.pleiade.org/pleiades_02.html
To drive this patriarchal point further, according to David LeMieux’s “The Ancient Tarot and Its Symbolism” (© 1985 Rosemont Publishing) as well as other reliable texts, that little “pooch” she’s got is not baby fat – it’s baby. She’s pregnant.
So, the girl in The Star is pregnant, alone, outside, vulnerable to the elements, playing with water, and daydreaming.
‘Scuse me, but where’s the “romance” and “success” in this? Oh that’s right – it must’ve been the night of conception…of course! Lovely. Well, great, where’s daddy now? Why the hell is she playing outside naked and pregnant? Which brings us to…
Water. Very important with The Star.
Remember, readers? Mothership Waite Symbolism 101: Whenever we see land in the card, it depicts material and mental references. Whenever we see water, it depicts emotional factors. Well, this girl’s got them pretty messed up now, doesn’t she? She’s just making ripples for the sake of making ripples in the water while creating mud and a mess on the land. She’s not paying attention, there’s no rhyme, no reason. Just reacting…
Should you find this card in conjunction with the 9 of Cups, you can make a very safe bet you’re dealing with addiction and escapism. See The Star in conjunction with The Devil or The Emperor, in the right spread, and you just may have yourself a rape case.
Not so romantic and sweet anymore, is it?
The only conclusion that I can kind of agree with the fans of The Star is the element of Hope. But, keep in mind, that possibility is mercifully provided strictly through its gnothology. The Star is number “17.” Seven is the number of Higher Learning. Whenever you see a 7, you’re going to learn a lesson or you are in the process of understanding, usually a life or perspective altering one at that. Sevens in the minor arcana are all cerebral and self-absorbing:
7 of Cups: Dreams, Hopes, Illusions, Fears
7 of Swords: Use of Cunning, Getting away with as little as possible, Stealing, Stealth
7 of Wands: Resistance, Defending the Space, Suspiciousness
7 of Pentacles: Contemplation, Examining the fruits of one’s labors, Self-examination
If one allows themselves to remain in these states too long, one is seriously at risk of getting stuck. The Star is the “mama” of these concepts, but with one advantage: The “1” in front of the “7.” This makes her numerology an “8,” which is the number of Fame, Fortune, and Commerce. It is also the number of Perfected Energetic Exchange, which in this case could even allude directly to Synastry, “which is the concurrence of starry position or influence; hence, similarity of condition, fortune, etc., as prefigured by astrological calculation.” www.thefreedictionary.com/synastry
And yes, that is nice. Problem is, she’s oblivious and isn’t doing anything about it. Her welfare and the welfare of her unborn child are completely reliant on chance.
Hell, The Devil’s less scary than that.