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Tarot of Prague Café Club - The Star

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Tarot of Prague Café Club - The Star


This card has very much been a focus in my life the last few days so I thought I'd post on her.

She has a classical look in this card. She pours from two urns, a small one and a larger one so the quantity of water that she pours out differs. The smaller one is a steady flow but the larger one is more gushing and forceful. Its almost like a waterfall. She controls both though. The idea, we are told, is that the water cycles back to the fountain in the background, it represents the well of hope, which never runs dry. Thats a really good comparison.

Although she appears serene, tranquil, peaceful and calm, she still maintains some composure, some focus, some control. Does she have her eyes shut or is she just looking downwards or inwards? There is this stillness about her which forces us to stop and think.

The water flowing from the large urn has five stars. Why five? Five senses?

I like the Tower in the background, its a reminder that we have had to experience it to arrive at the Star. Also, she sits on a little wall of bricks, which hint at the rebuilding that has taken place after the tower experience.

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Calm is coming out of this card. A sense of serinity also.
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This week's card - The Star


I thought I'd bump the original thread rather than start a new one, as there is already very good stuff here. Maybe better than anything I can contribute as I think I have a slightly odd relationship to this card.

I was asked to say more about what it means to me than about the background, so here goes (although I may slip into a few comments on the sources etc).

Firstly, I also find this card a little severe as well as serene. I don't think the Star gives her gifts lightly, she expects something in return - faith, hope, charity and prudence all come to mind for me when I look at this card. She pours a torrent of water from one jar and a trickle from another - why? Well, perhaps sometimes the Star's blessings come flooding into your life, but at other times they come in a much more subtle way - just a small, steady stream of goodness rather than anything more spectacular. Both ways are wonderful - neither is better or worse.

The background of this card would almost have been the foreground for me, if that had fitted into our style, which it didn't (I'll say no more or this will all be about the sources again). I'm very fond of this background. It shows a young woman taking water from a lion's head fountain - a gentle-looking lion, nothing fierce or even physically strong. The lion represents another sort of strength, quiet, gentle, reliable. The water is freely given - as hope and love are best given freely. If you look at the pillar on the right, you will see that around its top is the magic palindrome that appears on the back of the cards. It's in fact from one of the Charles Bridge towers, and was put there to protect the tower from demons. It mentions a star - which made it seem particularly fitting to this card. To me, it makes the Star actively about protection - from ill-health, from despair, from depression. It says that this card can block all those demons - both physical and mental - that may threaten you. It gives the card a special magic - warm and safe, an easy kind of magic to feel familiar with and to take as your own.
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You find her severe, Baba-prague? strange...I have been thinking she is a little pensive and concentrated. She is performing her lone ritual with her head looking down at the small urn, but her thoughts seem very much elsewhere -above, if above is where our thoughts go when they are not on mundane things. I think she loves what she does: it is absorbing her entirely.

I love the colours - gold and blue for the urns and the water and the girl's headdress, a pale ochre background, and the silver grey of the girl. They are restful - a healing in themselves.

The background scene: the girl there seems more matter-of-fact, though still gentle, reminding us this is also a card of action, not only a sweet dreamy rest. These girls are both busy, but they go about their business without haste or busy-ness.

I love the spitting lion A kind of joke - don't take life so seriously! - it seems to remind us. But the girls don't pay attention to him. Should they?

I counted 6 stars - am I missing any? Why are there 2 less than normal? did you go for the 6 planets and left sun and moon for other cards? This card is also a cosmology. It reminds us of our place in the universe. Not large, perhaps, but we have a place, and sometimes we'll use it to pour large floods, and sometimes, small trickles. What is the use of large floods if trickles are needed? You don't water plants the same way in Prague and in Morocco.

I'll post my card mid-week, when we've had time to do some more star-gazing...
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We didn't add the stars, they were in fact in the original statue that we photographed, so in this case we simply left them as they were. Sometimes we did change this type of thing, and sometimes not - just a matter of feeling I suppose, and to be honest often not rational or purposeful. Sometimes I just think we wanted the original pieces to be let be.

Severe? Yes, it's odd as in fact the woman whose face we transposed on to this statue was far from a severe person, but yet, when I looked as objectively as I could at this card over the weekend "severe" and "serene" both came to mind. Are these mutually exclusive? Perhaps not. But I agree, it's not the most obvious way to see The Star, but I decided (partly taking up what Gardener suggested) just to do a rather free-flow of how the card made me respond when I pulled it.
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Ah Karen, I was DELIGHTED with your free-flow answer, I had a feeling I was really going to appreciate your thoughts on how you relate to the card now, and I was RIGHT! And then Helvetica asked you about designing the card, so you got to answer that too, all bases covered. I chuckled.

But now it's my turn. This is why despite my love of study groups, my participation is so spotty. I never know what to say about a card in the abstract. Give me a reading, a client, a problem, and I see a connection between a card and the other, and I can babble on and on. But just the card? I'm stumped. The ONLY think I can think to say about the Star is that my ex-boyfriend thought she was sexy. Uh oh, that was Temperance! Now I got nuthin'.

Well, I can start with the background, which I never noticed before. Usually I'm captivated by the hidden scenes, but this one is almost too hidden. The "spitting lion" looks like a wave of water to me. I'm not very good at this, I'm sorry. I like the stars in the water of the foreground image, they are beautiful. But the Star as a card rarely makes me feel blessed, which is I think the feeling we're supposed to get. I like knowing that the words on the column are demon-defense, I think that will help me with the concept. I also like the stones she is resting on, they are warm and make me think of Utah's national parks, which are great fun to climp around on. I find the main figure rather frightening, actually, she is so very muscular. Look at that forearm!

I don't know why I find this so difficult. I will go see if I can do more with the Ten of Pentacles...
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I sometimes find it difficult to describe what a card means to me outside the context of a reading. Okay, I can happily write the companion book pages for a card, because that's more objective in a way - one is putting down the "understood" meanings, interpreting them in the light of particular imagery, and doing a bit of what I recently heard someone (was it Rachel Pollack) call "jazz improvisation" around that particular card and the elements/image used. But when someone says "but what does that card personally mean to YOU?" then I find it hard to answer satisfactorily except in a reading. For me, Tarot of Prague lives mostly through readings, when it can be eloquent and surprising - and even rather demanding. Somehow that's when I really begin to see layers of possibility in the pictures.

Having said that, right now I am not reading a lot, and have had to turn down some recent reading requests. When I'm really very absorbed in making a deck I find it hard to read clearly, as the pictures from one kind of cross over into the other. Mind-you, Prague as a deck usually manages to reassert itself!
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Thanks for the insights, Karen. Personally, I think you are quite superb at all these kinds of reflecting on the cards, the book writing (of course), "jazzing" on the cards, telling us about the artistic construction process, and your personal thoughts too. Can I borrow just one talent? I've spent a little more time staring at Lady Star, and she still intimidates me and puts me off. I hope you don't mind my saying that, you know I passionately adore most of the cards in this deck. It might be more my personal psychology. She's supposed to be a gently upbeat card, yes? Gently upbeat isn't really part of my inner vocabulary, so maybe that's my problem.

I'll cheat here and throw in a lovely insight from Dan. He looked at the card and said, Oh, yes, wonderful, see the two urns, one with a torrent and one with a trickle, just like the subconscious and the conscious. That was rather brilliant, wasn't it? I love how the stars tumble forth from the flow of the subconscious - I think I'll take that image away with me and add it to my efforts to understand this card.
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This card is so quiet. I can hear the water running, but that's it. The images and the colors and the general atmosphere reminds me of a Roman bath. The woman pouring water is strong but quiet and thoughtful. The card is about giving and taking to me. The woman in the front is calmly but purposefully pouring out water, while the woman in the mural in the back is getting water from the spitting lion fountain.

What does the writing on the pillar mean?
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