by Arthur Edward Waite, originally published 1910.
A great, radiant star of eight rays, surrounded by seven lesser stars—also of eight rays. The female figure in the foreground is entirely naked. Her left knee is on the land and her right foot upon the water. She pours Water of Life from two great ewers, irrigating sea and land. Behind her is rising ground and on the right a shrub or tree, whereon a bird alights. The figure expresses eternal youth and beauty. The star is l’étoile flamboyante, which appears in Masonic symbolism, but has been confused therein. That which the figure communicates to the living scene is the substance of the heavens and the elements. It has been said truly that the mottoes of this card are “Waters of Life freely” and “Gifts of the Spirit.”
The summary of several tawdry explanations says that it is a card of hope. On other planes it has been certified as immortality and interior light. For the majority of prepared minds, the figure will appear as the type of Truth unveiled, glorious in undying beauty, pouring on the waters of the soul some part and measure of her priceless possession. But she is in reality the Great Mother in the Kabalistic Sephira Binah, which is supernal Understanding, who communicates to the Sephiroth that are below in the measure that they can receive her influx.
by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, originally published 1888.
Hope, Expectation, Bright promises.
Hopes not fulfilled, Expectations disappointed or fulfilled in a minor degree.
by A. E. Thierens, originally published 1930.
“The figure expresses eternal youth and beauty.” No astrologer will hesitate to recognise Venus. “The Star is the étoile flamboyante, which appears in Masonic symbolism, but has been confused herein.” (W.) And “gifts of the spirit,” which au fond means beauty, are the gifts administered by Venus, who in the solar system hands over the vibrations or ‘gifts’ coming from the Sun, to our Earth. The picture on the card shows it quite clearly: a naked girl, demonstrating undoubtedly the beauty of the human body, symbol of beauty in the nature of man, pouring “the fluids of Life upon the Earth (and the sea: i.e. into soul and body—Th.) from two cups, the one of gold and the other of silver.” (P.) “The genius of the Sun has now descended to Earth under the form of this young girl, the image of eternal Youth.” (P.) Well, then it is the image of this planet of beauty and eternal youth, which has its place between the Sun and Mercury on one side and our Earth on the other, the third personification of the genius of the Sun. The ibis and the butterfly connect the idea ‘of immortality with this figure, in perfect accord with the mystic teaching which says, that love extends beyond the grave.
“The Phe—identified with this card—expresses the same hieroglyphic value as the Beth (second card), but in a more extended sense.” It is said to represent speech. (P.) Now Venus has in so far to do with the second sign, that it rules this sign. The ‘more extended sense’ may perhaps be thought of as this planetary rulership, as “the Word in action in Nature with all its consequences.” (P.) Venus could perhaps be seen in the sense it has in the Gospel of St. John: “The Word which became the Light of men.” Venus indeed is the representative of the ruler of Light on Earth and in Nature: third aspect of the Solar Logos.
“The Word in action in Nature with all its consequences,” we should like to correct in this way: it is Venus, the ruler of the signs Taurus and Libra, houses of riches, art, beauty, and of the organised body. In the latter it represents the Law of Harmony between the Self and the Not-self.
In divination it means of course benefit, well-doing, organisation, co-operation, love, beauty, peace, concord, etc. The reverse of the card of Mars. As the contrary of energy it may mean laziness, indolence, rest, weakness.