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At once a voice arose amongThe Darkling Thrush, Thomas Hardy
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
The next card spotlight is for the Seventeenth card in the major arcana, The Star, represented by a mistle thrush.
When thinking about the meaning of the card, The Star, a bird lept out to me immediately. Inspired by the Thomas Hardy poem, The Darkling Thrush I could only put a song thrush on this card, a bird that I associated immediately with hope in the dark.
The card when drawn commonly in its upright position can mean: The star can mean renewed hope and faith, a sense of being blessed by the universe. You are likely to be feeling inspired or might have found a new purpose in life. Allow yourself to feel this hope and aspire to new opportunities.
When drawn in the reverse position, The Star can mean: A loss of faith and hope. This card can mean that your faith might be tested, if so stand firm. It can also mean despair, hopelessness and missed opportunities. Takes some time to reflect on how you feel and indulge in some self care.
Why a song thrush? As I explained earlier my immediate thought when thinking of a bird that inspires hope was the poem ‘The Darkling Thrush’ a poem about the passing of a century, where the future is uncertain and dark. The gloom of the poem is cut through by the song of a thrush, though frail and old, still full of hope and joy while the writer full of dread. The poem ends on a somber note:
So little cause for carolingsThe Darkling Thrush, Thomas Hardy
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
Noting that the bird feels hope that the writer is unaware of. The hope and joy portrayed by the thrush juxtaposed with the dread of the writer made me think strongly of the upright and reversed meanings of The Star, this little bird whose song transformed the darkest evening into one full of hope mixed with the feelings of loss of faith and apathy. As you can gather, a huge part of my choosing of this bird is because the poem, though it isn’t the only reason why I chose it. A nickname for the bird is ‘Stormcock’ because thrush are willing to sing in rain and storm, willing to offer their song in the darkest of times, when talking about song birds thrush instantly come to mind because of their melodic song.
Symbolism in the card: My interpretation of the card differs quite a lot from the Rider Waite design, instead of the woman kneeling with one foot on land and one in water irrigating the land, I have chosen instead to depict a thrush on a branch of berries, using the berries instead to show new life. The pouring of the water in the Rider Waite deck is supposed to represent the pouring of the soul, I have chosen instead to depict this through the thrush pouring it’s soul out through song. The only symbol I have replicated is the 8 pointed star, l’etoile flamboyante which usually is surrounded by 7 lesser stars though is alone on my card. I wanted to depict the same feeling of life being given and renewed hope through the act of the birds song.
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