The Woman shown on The Star is like Yggdrasil itself, and therefore like the Rune ᛇ (Eiwaz). She has one foot in one world (the land) and another foot in the water. There is the clear association with ᛚ (Laguz), the Rune of water, but also a bit of ᛈ (Perthro) in its association with The Well of Mimir. Note that in the background, a bird (possibly the eagle with a hawk on its nose) sits atop a tree: more Yggdrasil imagery.
The number of stars shown is 7, a number important in Hermetic mysteries as the number of the Abrahamic god. If this were painted for Norse cosmology, the pitchers would represent the last two stars to make 9, the number most sacred to Odin. I have also been told by some sources that the 7 stars represent the 7 chakras from Hindu practice.
The Rune most closely associated with the meaning of The Star is ᛞ (Dagaz). While The Star does not represent the dawn (that falls under The Sun, two cards from now), it does represent new beginnings and rebirth.
The Fool’s Journey
As the card of New Beginnings and Rebirth, The Star represents the time after Ragnarok when Baldur awakens as the king of Asgard. This is the time when Magni and Modi jointly inherit Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer). This is the card of Lif and Lifthrasir rebuilding mankind after Ragnarok. Odin’s journey has come to an end. The Star is a card of that liminal time in which people and gods must be poured into the space that Odin has left.
One of the most prominent symbols in The Star is a pitcher which the goddess is using to pour water from one world into another (usually land to sea, sky to sea, or sky to land). The pitcher is associated with ᛈ (Perthro) and Mimir’s Well. In a weird way, this image isn’t that dissimilar from Odin dropping the “mead” of bad poetry from the sky while he was being chased by the giant Suttung in the form of an eagle.
A second symbol common to many renditions of The Star is a beautiful bird, often a heron or a stork. Most of us are familiar with the traditional associations of the stork as the bringer of babies. It is my understanding that this is because storks would often rest on the warm roofs of peoples’ houses in the winter, while people were huddled in their beds for warmth as well, and then women would find themselves pregnant shortly thereafter. This bit of folklore mirrors the Norse creation myth of fire and ice mixing to create the first beings.
The most common birds chosen are water birds, such as ibis, heron, stork, or even flamingo. All are water birds, meaning that they are creatures of land, sea, and sky, creatures that are as content in one world as in another. The Aquarian Tarot (left) does not follow this route, instead showing a peacock. The peacock is a creature of the land, but with hidden dimensions. In the picture, it has its glorious tail pointed down. We all know the beauty when a peacock points its tail up.
People who are new to the craft often think that “walking between the worlds” refers to walking from one world to another, like the bird which is hap on land, on sea, or in the air. The Star is a card of a different meaning for that phrase: having one foot in each world. Night and day, land and sea, sea and sky, even living and dead, The Star represents having one foot in each world, walking through those liminal spaces.