It was a silent, windless night far north, beyond the harsh lights of city and suburb. I was lying belly down on a dock, staring into utterly still water. The diamond splash of stars above was reflected perfectly beneath me.


I was rapt, drawn out of myself by the strangeness of finding stars above and below. With a slight shift in perception, suddenly all was space and points of light. I was falling, floating in this wondrous, mesmerizingly unfamiliar space. I was suspended, lost in an ocean of stars. 


At that moment, it seemed to me that to live amongst the stars must be the ultimate desire of every being— to lose oneself in the mystery and beauty of the cosmos.


To the ancients, the stars were the souls of the honoured dead, heroes and maidens of legend. Transformed after trouble and tragedy, they ascended to become radiant, eternal. And the brightest stars, the wanderers, were the gods themselves, alive and shining. Yet even they had to sink below the horizon and travel under the earth before they could rise again, reborn. Death and immortality rode side by side in the sky, gods and spirits treading their dark paths.


As I lay on the dock between black sky and black water, I felt caught up in this stream of souls, swept up into the celestial river that moved so majestically across the void and beyond earthly pain. Carried along, surrendering to the fate that lies “in our stars,” for the moment I felt free: free of responsibility, guilt, and fear.


However no god had translated me into a constellation for my pains, nor had I escaped my mortal life. Getting up from the dock, tipping my head back, I was once again earthbound. Looking up at the stars, I saw them across the vast distance that separated us. If they were weaving my fate— even as they heralded the seasons and epochs of the larger world—I still had to choose how to meet it. But as I looked up, once again they captured my soul. This time they offered me hope.


In Tarot, the Star is the card of rescue and uplift. A shining, naked goddess pours the water of spirit upon the earth. Bending down to nourish us, she is both guide and object of desire, Pole star and Venus. She speaks of the hope that the stars offer: that the world they watch over will continue as they do, blessed by their light. That beyond and behind the mess of mundane life, there is a beauty and order which we are privileged to see… and can even be part of.


Set against the blackness of space, the stars represent reality at its most unknowable and daunting. Yet they also call us to inspiration and aspiration. The very word “desire” is from the Latin “de sidere”: “to await from the stars.” We know somehow they have the power to awaken our deepest longings, and that in itself is enough to enlarge our spirits, to let us believe we are more than we thought.


Let us believe then, that we have always lived among the stars. For our planet floats in an infinite universe, stars above and stars below. The stuff of life to make us was forged long ago in their fiery hearts. Their light in our eyes wakes the light within our hearts. Then we are what we long for. We are stars.