The destruction of The Lightening is followed by the healing experience of Arcanum XVII, The Star. The healing comes from personal insight and not, for example, insight provided by a counselor or some other outside source. The Star teaches us that experiences, both good and evil, are necessary for character development and soul progression. According to the Brotherhood of Light tradition, if the soul assimilates its experiences, it is assured of its immortality. This Arcanum represents that moment after the smoke clears when we might ask, “Why did that happen to me?” After a good deal of soul-searching, we may discover answers to that question. The Star card represents a moment of epiphany that only comes through meditation and a sincere desire to know the truth.
But where is the truth? The Star is ruled by the zodiacal sign of Gemini, symbolized by the twins of duality. Therefore, the message of The Star is that the truth is not found only in one place. This card tells us that part of the truth will be found in the emotions as represented by the water, and part of the truth will be found in the intellect as represented by the land. The Star maiden pours the elixirs of life into both the water and the land because each needs to be nourished.
The maiden’s nudity suggest the “bare naked truth” indicating that the first step to clarity might be to strip oneself of opinions, preconceptions, misconceptions and prejudices, examining each carefully to verify if, indeed, they are true. Often, preconceptions or a misconception are at the root of a problem, e.g. a misconception might be a belief that “I need to be in control of every situation,” or “I can’t be creative unless I’m smoking a cigarette,” or “I do not deserve love.” The nudity also suggests truth in both reality and appearances. Goodness knows, we all look different naked than how we appear with our clothes on!
The butterfly is traditionally a symbol of transformation or transmutation. In The Star, the butterfly implies that the assimilation of the challenging events experienced in The Black Magician and The Lightening will lead to a greater strength of character. What is meant by assimilation? To recognize and understand fully the ramifications of the event or circumstance and to ask ourselves the question, “What part did I play in creating this reality for myself?” Sometimes in life, of course, we are completely blindsided by natural disasters and random acts of evil; but most of our mundane situations are reflections of our own doing. The Star asks us to seek out the truth about ourselves to better understand how we can overcome our weaknesses and frailties, thereby allowing us to more easily fulfill our greatest purpose in life.
As an aside, just as we swear on the Bible in United States courts of law, the Romans often swore “by Gemini” in oaths of truth. Today, in modern English, the oath is still sometimes heard as “By Jimini” (pronounced as in Jimini Cricket.)
The key words and phrases for The Star are: truth, hope, faith, healing, epiphany, reason in combination with intuition, insight from within, truth in many places or at least two places, truth in both reality and appearances, both emotions and intellect needed, transformation or transmutation.
There is a little postscript here: In The Orion Mystery by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert, the stellar religion of the ancient Egyptians is explored in depth. In that book, there is an interesting passage quoted from the Egyptian Book of Two Ways that insists that the road to Rostau (The Great Pyramid), though (represented) in the sky, is (actually) on water and on land.
An image closely resembling The Star is engraved on the western wall of the Temple of Isis on the Egyptian Island of Philea. Unfortunately, that part of the temple is generally not open to the public and, in the wake of recent events, perhaps may not be safely accessible for some time to come.
The spiritual message of The Star is:
Remember, then, son of earth, that hope is the sister of faith. Shed thy passions and thy errors in order to study the mysteries of true science and the key will be given thee; then a ray of divine light will break from the occult sanctuary in order to dissipate the shadows of thy future and show thee the way of happiness. If Arcanum XVII should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, whatever may happen in life, never injure the flower of hope and thou wilt gather the fruits of faith. __C.C. Zain, The Sacred Tarot
For more information about The 21 Lessens of The Brotherhood of Light, visit our website and bookstore at http://www.light.org.