The expression ‘follow your star’ feels right, and resonates well. But what does it really mean? While it sounds like a New Age mantra, the idea of a star representing higher guidance runs deep in the psyche, and goes way back into prehistory.
This is because stars are one of our oldest and most powerful symbols. At a deep level, light stands for information and darkness for ignorance. The stars twinkling out their little points of light from the immense darkness of the night sky are like signs of hope that there are answers to the great mysteries of life. Stars are therefore an important archetypal symbol that runs deep within our psyche, representing higher guidance.
From the most ancient times, people knew that the stars were good guides. Hunter-gatherers used them to find their way around at night. Sailors steered their ships by the constellations in the sky. The stars have always helped camel caravans to find their way across the desert.
As the medieval Persian poet Rumi said,
“There are no signposts in the deserts,
Caravans are guided by the stars.
In the darkness of despair, hope is the only light”.
From Babylonian times, centuries of study developed the astrological systems that we know today. Astrology was also important to the ancient Chinese, Indian, Arab, Mayan and Aztec cultures.
“Heaven sends down its good or evil symbols, and wise men act accordingly,” said Confucius.
In Europe as recently as the Middle Ages there was no division between astronomy and astrology. Being scientifically observable didn’t make the stars any less meaningful. Only 500 years ago, a European law decreed that before doing any major surgery, physicians must calculate the position of the moon.
Astrology had to be reliable, because its first use all over the world was to predict the weather for farming. That expanded into foreseeing natural disasters and war. Later on, kings, emperors, and even popes used to consult astrologers about their current dangers and future prospects.
These days, anyone can get their own star chart. If you’re looking for astrological clues about your life purpose, the South Node represents what you’re meant to leave behind this time around, and the North Node what you’re now moving towards.
THE TAROT STAR
In the Tarot cards, the Star is one of the most hopeful and positive of all the major arcana. It represents freedom, safety, abundance and healing. When it appears in readings, it’s to give reassurance that you really are following your star.
With the help of our guides, we decide on our life purpose before reincarnating. Once back here, we seem to forget about it. This is because it’s not always a good thing to know too much too soon about our purpose here. It could feel overwhelming, which may throw us off-course. Or the mind might jump to incorrect conclusions that send us on a wild goose chase, which just sets us back.
However, even if we never consciously know what our mission is, it remains at deep levels of our inner knowing, like a guiding star which leads us ever onward.
TYPES OF PURPOSE
It is possible to figure out at least the general outline of your personal quest. You can look at your life and see what has driven you, made you happy, and excited you the most. These signs are like milestones, saying you’re on the right road.
At least one of these life purposes will probably ring a bell for you:
- Personal growth. This takes as many different forms as there are individuals. It’s likely to be an important part of anyone’s intention for their life.
- Completing unfinished business from a former life.
- Healing an old wound.
- Recovering self-worth.
- Developing an area of study or expertise.
- Helping others in some way.
- Undertaking reforms or initiatives to create a better world.
Most people will have at least one of those as their life mission. Our personal projects then weave their colours through those themes, making up the rich tapestry of our lives.
HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING YOUR STAR
Here are four ways to find out if you’re pursuing your purpose, and to get back on track if you feel that you’re not.
- THE TOUCHSTONES
These are the main signs that all is well:
- When you set off on a path, begin a project, or discover something that is key for you, it feels exciting. It’s what Joseph Campbell meant when he said, “Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors for you.”
- Allowing for life’s ups and downs, your default attitude is generally positive.
- You feel at ease with the many different paths that others may take.
- Your see your way of life as basically good.
- WISH UPON A STAR
To find out if you’re truly following your life purpose, put out that question to the universe. Perhaps wish upon a star, asking for a sign. Signs and synchronicities will then come in all kinds of ways that have special meaning for you.
- ASK FOR A DREAM
Ask for a special dream to show where you are on your life path. Dream messages come in symbolic details. Does your dream show you on a clear path or road, and moving ahead easily? Is the way difficult or confusing? Are you unsure about where to go?
If your dream says that you’re lost or on the wrong road, you can ask for more dreams to help you find the right path. Working at this deep level is hugely effective. We make some of the biggest decisions about our lives in dreamtime.
- VISUALISE THE JOURNEY
This short visualisation will give you more specific information about your path. You can repeat it as often as you wish, learning more every time.
- Ask your greater consciousness to show you where you are on your life path.
- Close your eyes and relax.
- Imagine that you are on a long journey – whatever kind comes easily to mind. For example, you may be on foot, in a boat, on an animal or in a vehicle.
- Allow yourself to drift into semi-drowsiness.
- Wait and see how the images unfold. What is the way ahead like? Are you making progress or staying still? Are there any signs to show which way to go? What are the surroundings and the weather like? These details are like dream symbols, and will give you all kinds of important clues.
- If a person or animal appears, this is often the form in which a spirit guide may choose to visit you. You can ask questions if you wish. Your guide might answer in words, images, actions, coloured light, or by transmitting feelings of peace and love.
- Trust whatever has come up as a real answer from your own inner spirit to the question that you asked.
For many people, the biggest stumbling block is trusting messages from within themselves. Our culture has taught us to turn away from our inner selves. This is sad, because it means losing your greatest ally. Learning to trust it is one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself.
Thousands of years ago, our ancestors learned that they could rely on the stars to show them the way. We are now learning to trust the guiding star within us. I believe this is all part of a huge process in which humanity is moving away from lives based on fear and competition. Together, we can build a new world on a foundation of co-operation and love – which is surely the highest purpose of all. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This article was first published in Kindred Spirit Magazine, in Spring 2018.
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