- English: The Star
- French: L’Etoile
- Italian: Le Stelle
- Letter: Peh פ (double)
- Astro: Venus (Thierens), Mercury (Papus)
- Sephira: Binah (Waite), Chesed (most the rest of the damn world)
The Star, Dog-Star, or Sirius, also called fantastically the Star of the Magi. Grouped about it are seven minor luminaries, and beneath it is a naked female figure, with her left knee upon the earth and her right foot upon the water. She is in the act of pouring fluids from two vessels. A bird is perched on a tree near her; for this a butterfly on a rose has been substituted in some later cards. So also the Star has been called that of Hope. This is one of the cards which Court de Gebelin describes as wholly Egyptian—that is to say, in his own reverie.
Behind the Veil¶
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.
Loss, theft, privation, abandonment; another reading says-hope and bright prospects.
Arrogance, haughtiness, impotence.
A strange emotion seized me. A fiery trembling ran in waves through all my body. My heart quickened its beating, tumult agitated my mind.
I felt that I was surrounded by portentous mysteries. And presently shafts of Light penetrated my being and illuminated many things before in darkness, whose existence even I had never suspected. Veils vanished of which I had been before unaware. Voices spoke to me. And suddenly all my former knowledge took a new and different meaning.
I discovered unexpected correlations in things which hitherto I had thought foreign to each other. Objects distant and different from one another appeared near and similar. The facts of the world arranged themselves before my eyes according to a new pattern.
In the sky there appeared an enormous star surrounded by seven smaller stars. Their rays intermingled, filling space with immeasurable radiance and splendour. Then I knew I saw that Heaven of which Plotinus speaks:
“Where … all things are diaphanous; and nothing is dark and resisting, but everything is apparent to every one internally and throughout. For light everywhere meets with light, since everything contains all things in itself, and again sees all things in another. So that all things are everywhere, and all is all. Each thing likewise is everything. And the splendour there is infinite. For everything there is great, since even that which is small is great.”
“The sun too, which is there, is all the stars; and again each star is the sun and all the stars. In each however, a different property predominates, but at the same time all things are visible in each. Motion likewise there is pure; for motion is not confounded by a mover different from it. Permanency also suffers no change of its nature, because it is not mingled with the unstable. And the beautiful there is beautiful, because it does not subsist in beauty. Each thing, too, is there established, not as in a foreign land, but the seat of each thing is that which each thing is. … Nor is the thing itself different from the place in which it subsists. For the subject of it is intellect, and it is itself intellect. … In this sensible region, therefore, one part is not produced by another, but each part is alone a part. But there each part always proceeds from the whole, and is at the same each time part and the whole. For it appears indeed as a part; but by him whose sight is acute, it will be seen as a whole.”
“Where … is likewise no weariness of the vision which Is there, not any plenitude of perception which can bring intuition to an end.”
“For neither was there any vacuity which when filled might cause the visible energy to cease; nor is this one thing, but that another, so as to occasion a part of one thing not to be amicable with that of another.”
“Where … the life is wisdom; a wisdom not obtained by a reasoning process, because the whole of it always was, and is not in any respect deficient, so as to be in want of investigation. But it is the first wisdom, and is not derived from another“.
I understood that all the radiance here is thought; and the changing colours are emotions. And each ray, if we look into it, turns into images, symbols, voices and moods. And I saw that there is nothing inanimate, but all is soul, all is life, all is emotion and imagination.
And beneath the radiant stars beside the blue river I saw a naked maiden, young and beautiful. She stooped on one knee and poured water from two vessels, one of gold and one of silver. A little bird in a near by bush lifted its wings and was poised ready to fly away.
For a moment I understood that I beheld the Soul of Nature.
“This is Nature’s Imagination,” said the voice gently. “Nature dreams, improvises, creates worlds. Learn to unite your imagination with Her Imagination and nothing will ever be impossible for you. Lose the external world and seek it in yourself. Then you will find Light. But remember, unless you have lost the Earth, you will not find Heaven. It is impossible to see both wrongly and rightly at the same time.”
“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.
A nude female figure pours water upon the earth from two vases. In the heavens above her shines the Blazing Star of the Magi (surrounded by seven others), trees and plants grow beneath her magic influence (and on one the butterfly of Psyche alights). She is the star of Hope.
Hope, Expectation, Bright promises.
Hopes not fulfilled, Expectations disappointed or fulfilled in a minor degree.
17th Hebrew letter (Phe פ)
The Phe expresses the same hieroglyphic meaning as the Beth (2nd card), but in a more extended sense. For, whilst the Beth signifies the mouth of man as the organ of speech, the Phe represents the produce of that organ: Speech.
It is the sign of speech and of all connected with it. The Word in action in nature with all its consequences.
Astronomically this letter responds to Mercury the God of Speech and of scientific or commercial diffusion, the God of Universal exchange between all beings and all worlds.
Phe is a double letter.
The ideas expressed by this symbol are those—
- Of the expansion of fluids.
- Of their eternal renewal.
A nude female figure pours the Water of Universal Life from two cups.
- The genius of the Sun (14th arcanum) has now descended to earth under the form of this young girl, the image of eternal Youth. The fluids, which she formerly poured from one vase to the other, she now throws upon the ground (first idea).
This young girl is crowned with seven stars; in the midst of them shines a very large and brilliant one. Near her an ibis (or sometimes a butterfly) rests upon a flower.
- Here we find the symbol of immortality. The soul (ibis or butterfly) will survive the body, which is only a place of trial (the ephemeral flower). The courage to bear these trials will come from above (the stars).
The fall of the Divine and of the Human into the Material has scarcely taken place, when a mysterious voice whispers, courage to the Sinner, by showing him future re-instatement through trial.
This card exactly balances the evil effects of the preceding one, and from it we derive the following significations—
- Opposition to destruction. No destruction is final. Everything is eternal and immortal in God—IMMORTALITY—Creation of the human soul.
- The fall is not irreparable. This is whispered to us by the intuitive sentiment we name—HOPE
- The Visible Universe contains the source of its Divinization in itself. This is—THE FORCE WHICH DISPENSES THE ESSENCE OF LIFE—which gives it the means of perpetually renewing its creations after destruction.