When we look at the archetype of the Star, associated with Aquarius and this sign’s ruling planets of Uranus and Saturn, we find an energy of restoration, healing, awareness, and control. After the shifts from Death and the adjustments with Temperance, after the heightened awareness in the Devil and the chaotic freedom created by the Tower, the Star helps us make sense of the new world that we find in the aftermath. As the dust settles, as our heart rate comes back to normal, as we assess all that we have endured and consider what our next steps should be, the Star gives us permission to heal in the ways that we need, to leave behind the broken bits of our past and step into a new, more hopeful kind of future.
It’s not easy, this transition. We often talk about healing like it comes naturally, like it’s effortless, like it’s something that we always welcome with open arms and anticipate with uncomplicated joy. Yet grieving and acknowledging loss, walking away from the wreckage, believing in a better future — these are not simple, straightforward calls. Healing rarely happens without work and intention, and is not something that can be rushed through or glossed over. Sometimes we don’t want to heal, not right away, instead preferring to cling to our hurts and suffering. It can take time to recognize all that we need to release, to be willing to say goodbye to those things that have already been lost. When we finally get to the place where we can unfurl ourselves, release the tension in our bodies, stand up and begin slowly moving towards a new kind of future: well, the effort is nearly always worth the cost. But that doesn’t mean that the cost is always low.
The process of doing this can be framed in many ways, but to me, this shift from the Tower to the Star requires a massive change in perspective. It’s a slow, incremental adjustment from looking backwards or feeling trapped in the present to gazing forwards; the transition from analyzing a concrete past to dreaming of a flexible future. Again, this is rarely easy, and can require us to engage with a different part of ourselves, to amend the ways that we approach and analyze problems. But opening ourselves up to a new kind of perspective can change everything, and giving ourselves permission to leave old ways behind can help us become the kinds of people that we have always dreamed of being.
This new spread hones in on this idea of perspective, giving us space to explore where we might be feeling stuck or trapped, locked into a path that no longer feels quite right. This is an opportunity to try to look at things a bit more impartially, to be honest with ourselves about what is working, and to thoughtfully consider what we may want to pursue instead. As you prepare to read with this spread, remember that there can be a necessary coldness to the energy of Aquarius, as the strength required to pull back and assess things objectively can often only be done if we sharpen our mind and protect our hearts. But that doesn’t mean that while channeling it, we can’t still show ourselves grace and kindness, that we have to be harsh and ruthless, picking apart every single flaw or failure in our existing systems. We can recognize where growth is required, where change is needed, without abandoning the good bits. We can honor where we are still evolving, without disparaging mistakes that we may have made in our past.
My new spread can be used in a more general way, or you can tweak the language slightly if needed to suit a more specific question or challenge that you’ve been working through. To help you see how this spread can function in your own rituals and personal work, the brilliant Rachel has generously allowed me to share some pieces of a reading that I did for her using it. She chose the Next World Deck by Cristy C. Road for this reading.
Where have you felt foggy or unclear?
The king of wands is a fiery ruler, one who trusts their instincts and creative vision, who is always juggling a wide variety of projects and helping people collaborate in new and exciting ways. Yet in this position, this card indicates that you may feel burned out, uninspired, lacking ideas or inspiration or joy in what you’re building. Have you been feeling discouraged, irritable, unfocused? Are you blaming yourself for a lack of productivity or inspiration? When you aren’t creating new things, do you worry that your creativity has somehow been lost?
What system or structure have you felt trapped in?
Mirroring some of the insights from the first card in this spread, the Fool is an archetype of trusting the self and taking a leap of faith, beginning down a new path even if there isn’t a clear plan in place for how to achieve all of the dreams within your mind. And while this is generally representative of a new beginning, here it speaks to you feeling the need to constantly take chances, generate new pathways, open doors and explore new avenues for creativity, collaboration, and potential. Have you been worrying about the details of how you will achieve something? Have specifics on what you are working towards been hard to grasp or define?
What is ready to be broken and rebuilt?
Called the Emperor in more traditional decks, the Teacher represents structure and foundations, plans and organization. This card often speaks to rules and boundaries, to the things that can help us focus our energy and intentions — but it also speaks to mastery, to being an authority, to being able to make hard decisions and clarify our intentions around our work and dreams. This card may feel like an obvious answer, especially in this position — breaking down restrictive, traditional structures can feel really good, especially when they’re ones that feel deliberately harmful or clearly bring negative results. But the Emperor often represents rules or limits that we ourselves have created, speaking to a plan that we’ve made with the intention to follow. What old structures have you been working within, and how might they be limiting your growth? Where have you been afraid to challenge your old assumptions or rules, and how could shifting or even breaking them down completely give you space to evolve in new directions?
What is a first step you can take towards evolution?
The ten of swords is a card of victimhood, of giving up, of being so locked into one way of thinking that we have fully surrendered to the despair in our minds. It’s so dramatic as to be laughable, generally — when this card arrives it’s often a wakeup call to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and instead make an effort to get ourselves out of the situation we’ve surrendered to. But this can be a painful experience, and if you’re feeling this low, the cards are asking for you to be gentle with yourself, even as you work to escape your own mental limits. What assumptions are you working under? Where have you boxed yourself in? How might you be able to allow yourself freedom, and what old stories do you need to discard in order to do that?
With two cards of expansive movement and joyful freedom followed by two cards of boundaries, mental traps, and deliberate inaction, this reading is powerful but clear. Often we put limits or rules in place to protect ourselves, to give us a clear path to follow and a deliberate target to shoot for. But whatever old structures that you are still working within need to be adjusted, or perhaps even broken. Where do you feel restricted, suffocated, frustrated? Where have you let yourself get stuck, and how can you grant yourself permission to seek freedom? How are internal or external limits holding you back from new, exciting growth?
I hope that this spread and reading help you expand your own perspectives, prioritize healing, and find new ways to evolve. What old limits are you breaking? How can you move towards a new kind of future? If you use this spread, let me know how your reading goes in the comments!
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