17. The Star

The eight-pointed star on this tarot card is a symbol of the Sumerian goddess Inanna and her Akkadian counterpart Ishtar. These goddesses were also associated with the planet Venus, which is called the Morning Star because, after the sun and moon, she is the brightest of all celestial bodies and is visible in the east shortly before sunrise. The light of Venus heralds the sun and because of this she is associated with the divine since ancient times.

We also have the word of the prophets as confirmed beyond doubt. And you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
(Bible quote 2 Peter 1:19)

In line with this, the eight-pointed Morning Star represents in various spiritual traditions the divine energy in the pelvis of man: the kundalini. Two examples on the right.

The Morning Star (Venus) is clearly visible just before sunrise.

An Old Babylonian plaque from 2000- 1600 BC. with the Star of Ishtar on the trunk of a palm tree (symbol for the spine).

Clavis Artis, a late 17th / early 18th century alchemical manuscript.

The Star in the 15th century

That the star on this tarot card already from the beginning referred to a kundalini awakening, is confirmed by the other symbolism. Both 15th century cards below include references to the fusion of the masculine and feminine energies. This fusion is part of the kundalini process.

Visconti-Sforza Tarot

Ercole I d’Este Tarot

The alchemist’s Magnum Opus (kundalini awakening): the masculine and feminine energies are fused. An eight-pointed star is depicted above the heads of the Rebis. (Compendium Alchymist, J. M. Faust, 1706)

The woman’s clothing on the Visconti-Sforza card is a combination of the colors blue and red. These are the classic colors for, respectively, the feminine and the masculine energies. To confirm this interpretation she makes the sign of the sacred marriage with her right hand (two fingers together, 2 = 1). This hand gesture is placed exactly where the colors red and blue meet.

The woman’s red cloak is covered with a pattern of eight-pointed stars. Red is a color that can also refer to the kundalini energy: it is the color of fire and also of the first chakra, the residence of the kundalini. The woman is standing between two mountains. These symbolize the polar energy channels ida nadi and pingala nadi, which flow on the left and right side of the spine.

The man and woman on the card of the Ercole I d’Este deck (above) also wear red and blue clothing. With their arms around each other, they point to the eight-pointed star: an obvious reference to the merging of the masculine and feminine energies.

Left: during a kundalini awakening, the polar energy channels ida nadi (blue) and pingala nadi (red) merge, at the level of the forehead (sixth chakra).

The Tarot of Marseille

The woman on the Tarot of Marseille cards stands not only between two hills, but also between two trees. The woman personifies the kundalini energy; the two trees and the two hills represent the ida nadi and pingala nadi. The nakedness of the woman communicates her divine nature.

The union of the masculine and feminine energies is symbolized on the Tarot of Marseille Star by the two vases from which water (energy) flows. One vase flows out onto the land, the other into the pool of water, as a confirmation to us that these are the polar energies.

So both the trees, the hills and the vases represent the polar energies. The woman and the eight-pointed star both represent the divine kundalini energy. We can also deduce this from the woman’s navel. On Jean Noblet’s card it is a six-pointed star (hexagram) and on Jean Dodal’s card a circle with a upward pointing triangle: the symbol of fire.

Another classic metaphor for the awakened kundalini is a tree. Jean Dodal’s card shows a bird on one of the trees. The bird refers to the completion of the kundalini process.

Tarot of Marseille
by Jean Noblet (1659)

Tarot of Marseille
by Jean Dodal (1715)

The seven smaller stars (hexagrams) on the card represent the seven chakras, which are purified and activated (‘shining’ like stars) by the kundalini energy. All elements on this card can also be found in the symbolism used in alchemy to depict a kundalini awakening, see the three examples below.

From: Compendium alchymist,
J. M. Faust, 1706.

The (kundalini) tree enables the soul to ascend to God. The Rosarium Philosophorum, 18th century.

Woodcut from Ritter-Krieg,
Johann Sternhals, 1580.

The theme of a god with two vases of water, to express the fusion of the polar energies, can also be found in Ancient Egypt. In the image on the right we see the androgynous god Hapi depicted in an identical way.

The meaning that Egyptologists give to this image is that the two vases of water represent the White and the Blue Nile, which flow together and form the, for the Egyptians, very important river Nile (see map on right). The god Hapi is a personification of the Nile.

Major rivers are often used in spiritual traditions as a metaphor for kundalini energy; for example, the Ganges in Hinduism, the Jordan in Judaism, and in Ancient Egypt it was the Nile.

The serpent around Hapi confirms us that this relief on a deeper level is also a representation of the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening, similar to the meaning of tarot card The Star.

Jacques Vieville Tarot, circa 1650.

The Tarot of Paris, 17th century.

Some Tarot de Marseille decks have opted for completely different imagery to express the same thing. On the cards of Jacques Vieville and the Tarot of Paris (left) we see a man with a compass in his hand. The compass is a symbol from Freemasonry and refers to the fusion of the polarities. The same meaning as the two vases on the other Tarot de Marseille decks.

The man on Jacques Viéville’s card points with the compass to a tower. This tower is a metaphor for the spine with the awakened kundalini flowing in it (see also tarot card The Tower). Instead of a clock, we see a (kundalini) star in the top of the tower. We may take this as a confirmation of our interpretation.

The hourglass, which the man is holding in his other hand, is also a symbol for the kundalini energy (see tarot card The Hermit).

The man on the Tarot of Paris card points with the compass at his hat, which is shaped like a pyramid. A pyramid has square base (the number four represents the physical dimensions / earth), with vertical lines that run to one point, the top (symbol for the divine). This symbolic meaning of the pyramid is comparable to that of the compass: the duality of our physical reality that merges into a divine unity.

The compass on this alchemical emblem with the ‘Magnum Opus’ / Rebis represents the fusion of the masculine and feminine. From: Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae, Heinrich Nollius, 1617.

The fusion of the masculine and feminine (the sacred marriage) is symbolized on this engraving by the hand gestures (2 = 1) of the gods Mercury and Minerva, as well as the compass. Mercury’s staff, the caduceus, is the classic symbol for a kundalini awakening. (Crispijn van de Passe (I), circa 1611, Rijksmuseum)

Socrates holds up a compass with one hand and draws a Rebis with the other. Both stand for the fusion of the masculine and feminine. From: Symbolicarum Quaestionum, Achilles Bocchius, 1555.

The Oswald Wirth Tarot

The golden hair of the woman on Oswald Wirth’s card covers her whole back. This, too, is a classic metaphor for the kundalini energy, which flows from the pelvis to the crown.

Instead of a tree with a bird as a transformation symbol, Wirth has opted for a flower with a butterfly. The flower has five petals, which is probably a reference to the “Rose of Venus”. The orbit of Venus around the earth, during an eight-year cycle, has the pattern of a five-petaled flower (see illustration on right). This pattern is called the Rose (or Pentagram) of Venus. The five-petaled rose has been used as a symbol for the divine since ancient times. The butterfly on the flower is a classic symbol of transformation.

Oswald Wirth Tarot (1889)

The ‘Rose of Venus’

Château des Avenières (1917)

On this wooden panel (British Museum) we see a goddess in a (kundalini) tree who gives nourishment (energy) to a woman and her Ba (the bird).

The mosaic at Château des Avenières (above) is derived from the Oswald Wirth Tarot. An Egyptian Ba bird sits on the tree next to the goddess. In Ancient Egypt, the Ba bird represented the essence / soul of man. The two vases on the mosaic have different colors: gold and silver. These are colors associated with the sun and the moon and refer to polarity / duality.

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The RWS Star is rather similar to the Tarot of Marseille and the Oswald Wirth Tarot. Artist Pamela Colman Smith has placed the goddess even more explicitly in the center of the two vases with outflowing water, which gives us even more clearly the image of the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening: the kundalini energy is located between the polar energy channels ida nadi and pingala nadi.

One leg of the goddess rests on water and one leg on land: a reinforcement of the symbolism of the two vases. The goddess represents the unity of the divine.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (1909)

The eight-pointed star has also been used in Christian art to communicate “heretical” spiritual knowledge. Here we see Saint Dominic with an eight-pointed star above his head. With his left hand he makes the (secret) sign of the sacred marriage (2 = 1) and with the other hand he points to his head, the place where this sacred marriage takes place. (Fra Angelico, circa 1440)

Wonder Woman with the eight-pointed Morning star on her forehead.

Conclusion

The eight-pointed star on this tarot card has been a symbol of the kundalini energy since ancient times. The woman on the card is a personification of this divine energy in the human pelvis. She is a goddess with many names and faces, including Ishtar, Inanna, Sophia, Isis, Hera and Shakti.

In the Bible, Jesus promises us the Morning Star – as the eight-pointed star is also called – if we overcome our ego and animal instincts:

And to the one who overcomes and continues in My work until the end … I will give him the morning star.
(Revelation 2:26,28)

Animal Totem Tarot (Eugene Smith, Leeza Robertson, 2016)

An oyster, with a pearl, and a lighthouse are apt symbols for the kundalini energy.

The Tarot of the Golden Serpent (Sebastian Haines, 2009)

The rose, the grail and the phoenix are wonderful additions to the other kundalini symbolism of this card.

D’Morte-Disney Tarot

Snow White is a personification of the kundalini energy. See my article on the deeper meaning of this fairy tale.

The Buddha Tarot (Robert M. Place, 2004)

The Buddha attained enlightenment (nirvana) after a kundalini awakening. Read more about this on this webpage.

This article was written by Anne-Marie Wegh. Copyright August 2020.

Anne-Marie Wegh is the author of the book
John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

Illustrations from the tarot decks, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Foto’s Châteaux de Avenières: http://hermetism.free.fr/Avenieres

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By |2021-01-06T12:22:38+00:00August 30th, 2020|Tarot, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Tarot 17. The Star
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