Finding Meaning in Images: Sun, Moon, and Stars

People throughout history have been fascinated with the heavenly bodies. They were vast, mysterious, beautiful, and unknown—a cathedral of sparkling and moving lights. Of course the heavens would be places that humans would put our gods—equally mysterious and unknown. Of course the heavens would be places created by our gods—for why wouldn’t the gods create beautiful places filled with light and mystery? Of course the tarot would try to capture the mystery and infatuation and relationship that we humans have with the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars…


Mysteries in the Sun, Moon, and Stars


We are no different in our present day. Our astronomers still study the heavens—they just use bigger tools and different kinds of measurement compasses to observe the mysteries…


View of stellar nebula by Hubble Space Telescope in 2005

View of stellar nebula by Hubble Space Telescope in 2005


Below is a gallery of images from historical artworks, and images of Renaissance-contemporary ideas about the heavens—ideas that were borrowed by the tarot. Many of the images depict people—astronomers and mathematicians—using compasses to meassure distances and movement among the heavenly bodies. In the Renaissance science and magic overlapped one another. The compass or astrolabe, a scientific instrument with a history older than we might have conceived at one time, was also an item of wonder that magically foretold where the stars and planets would appear next or predict where heaven bodies would be in the sky on specific dates of the year. They were machines of prescience that broached the boundary between heaven and earth. As such, they were often depicted iconographically in art as premonitory devices.


Click on any image below to open a larger view. Click on the “i” icon at the bottom of the lightbox panel for more information about each image…


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Posted in Discovering Meaning in Imagery, Reading for Virtue, Tarot Reading and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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