The Star as the Tarot’s Omphalos

(Based on the representations found on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.)

If you haven’t had your fill of astrological correspondences yet, brace yourself for this post. And, if you haven’t had your fill of me waxing on about the Delphic Oracle, then you’re in for a treat!

The imagery on The Star card is unequivocally astrological: a combination of Aquarian water-bearer and seven brightly shining stars. But is that really Ganymede? Personally, I maintain that the card depicts the seven wandering stars — the orbs that we now know as the planets — and that the figure, despite its water-pouring jugs, is not the mythological Greek water-bearer, but rather, Gaia, or another maternal guardian of the life-giving waters.

Whenever I pull this card, I think of deeply centred, cosmic potentiality; of the intersection between timing and destiny; of celestially aligned hopes and dreams; and where we search for the meaning of omphalos in our lives. Pulling this card suggests a readiness to descend into the depths of our psyche, purge and purify what haunted us in the Tower, and emerge reborn on the path to fulfilling the promises in our natal charts.

Over the years, several correspondences I’ve seen equate the seven stars with the seven chakras. In these and other interpretations, many posit that this card urges grounding and recalibration after the tumult that the Tower brought. Ultimately, The Star is a positive card — the calm after the storm, a period of renewal and rebirth, and a sign of new undertakings going well. Sometimes it can very literally indicate the querent’s own “star power” — bright and dazzling…but take care! Trusting in our individual gifts and talents allows us to take metaphorical centre stage. At the same time, we must avoid getting swept up by our own hubris. It’s not about boastfulness; it’s about knowing our own potency, stepping into our own power, and owning our personal truth.

Reversed, the querent may be doubting themselves, failing to honour their talents, or falling short of meeting their exacting standards. Alternatively, they may be projecting these standards onto others, potentially unfairly. To me, however, The Star represents the quintessence of divine possibility; it holds infinite potentiality and the star in the metaphorical spotlight speaks to a special connection between us and the Earth’s divine centre.

Bernadette Brady writes that, “Before time was conceived by the human mind, all was considered perfect. The world was seen as hanging by a thread from the great, immortal, never-setting point, the North Pole Star…The polestar, with the heavens rotating around it every night, was seen as a great mill churning out gold and wealth, the source of all life and all order, the point of stillness around which all other things moved” (Bernadette Brady, Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars, 3). While the Greeks termed this point Omphaloessa, in Latin it translates into umbilicus, which is familiar to us as the connection point between unborn babies and their mothers — a connection point which nurtures, nourishes, and sustains creation before we are birthed into the world.

The Delphic Oracle was similarly said to possess an omphalic centre. According to mythology, Delphi was established at the central point where two eagles that Zeus had sent in opposing directions met. In other accounts, Zeus allegedly launched a stone in the air to see where it would fall and when it tumbled to earth, it landed at Delphi. Still other accounts suggest that the omphalic centre — and even omphalic stone which graced the temple itself— were nods to the Earth-Mother, Gaia, reminding us of our larger connection to the Earth and its divine rhythms.

In my experience, The Star card can appear when we are on the path to fulfilling our cosmic destiny. Perhaps this makes me a little fatalistic? After all, I haven’t fully reconciled my position on fate versus free will in the natal chart. I know what the Platonists thought, I know what Carl Jung said, but how much of our life is wrapped up in thinking that things are “meant to be” sometimes?

When I pull The Star, I think of it as a wink from the Universe as well: a note that you’re being guided in a specific direction. It also suggests to me that the time is ripe for wishes. If we’re starting afresh in a post-Tower world, what do we want for ourselves and for our highest good?

Astrologically, The Star corresponds to the sign of Aquarius, which, as Steven Forrest has pointed out, is intimately connected to the acquisition of knowledge and the pursuit of truth. In The Inner Sky, Forrest writes that the Water-Bearer “must say what she sees, regardless of consequences. She must stand firm when her freedom is challenged…And she must willingly accept her destiny: that of exile, forever ordained to be out of sync with the values and motivations of her community” (Steven Forrest, The Inner Sky, 97). Even so, the water-bearer is never fully out of sync with the rhythms of the universe. All of us — Aquarians included — are connected to the cosmos through some invisible or metaphorical omphalos. We may try to access it through meditation or prayer, but we know this connection point exists long after we’ve been born.

I’d like to think that omphalos as The Star, which shows up in a reading to remind us that, when we hitch our wagon to it — fully embracing our gifts and the divine path we may be on — the sky’s the limit.

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Eclectic Occultista

Certified Hellenistic astrologer & Tarot lover. Writing weekly astrology forecasts and occasional Tarot thoughts. IG / YouTube: @theeclecticoccultista