The Fool is now passing through the outer portal of the House of God, which in the Temple of Solomon lead from the the Court of the Congregation to the Holy Place. They are about to enter the Treasury of Light (as it was called by the Gnostics), also known as the Holy Place, evidenced by the fact that all of the cards from here on are all about light. Both the Christians and Gnostics taught about the varying degrees of glory, the mysteries of the Kingdom of Light.
Clement of Rome (said to be the first pope 88-99 CE) describes the Prayer Circle of the early Christian temples, the ritual that took place at the entrance to the Holy Place. “...Then all give each other (all facing each other in a circle with the Bishop in the middle) the sign of peace. Next, when absolute silence is established the deacon says: “Let your hearts be to Heaven. If anyone has ill feeling towards his neighbour, let him be reconciled (or) let him withdraw...For the Father of Lights is our witness with the Son and visiting angels. Take care lest you have aught against your neighbour.” In other words, you could not possess any ill feeling towards another in order to qualify to enter the inner sanctuary (the Holy Place) of the House of God.
It makes sense that the Star card is associated with the fifth Beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” This card depicts the more full expression of the Works of Mercy that began with the Devil card. If you recall, the Devil card retaliated to the forth Beatitude, which was about social justice (hunger and thirst after righteousness - social justice), thus meeting the corporal needs of others. This is depicted in the Star card with Sophia (the Gnostic equivalent to the Fool) pouring water onto the earth in this card. She is also pouring water from another vessel into the stream, which is symbolic of the spiritual Works of Mercy: pardoning wrong-doers, loving your enemies, praying for those condemn or falsely accuse you, turning the other cheek, going the extra mile and refraining from judging or condemning. These are all aspects of forgiveness, which could see the Star card actually being the forgiveness card.
In the last few paragraphs in the Sermon on the Mount (the Cathars go-to scriptures) Jesus talks about a house built on rock verses a house built on sand. In some of the Marseille Tarot, we see Sophia kneeling on a platform, as depicted here. It is in contrast to the platform that we see the Fool sitting on, on top of the Wheel of Fortune. Of the latter Jesus said, “And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:27) This card depicts what a house built on rock would look like.
Sophia is naked, since just having passed the test of the flaming sword (the House of God card), she has relinquished all of her possessions and ‘special’ relationships, much like St Francis did when he severed his links with his family and all the trappings that came with that. He literally walked away naked in the city square. (A story worth reading.) Sophia (the Fool) has now adopted an approach to life that is fully devoted to the honouring the Works of Mercy. We see that she is pregnant, and the scenery around her is symbolic of the promise of new life, spring! Even the constellation of the stars depicted in the cards could be linked to the Pleiades and Ursa Major, both symbolic of impending new life (spring). It would seem that something significant is about to happen, which one would expect will become evident in the Moon card. A birth/new life of some kind is about to manifest!
Given that the Fool is entering the Holy Place of the temple, it could also be that the seven smaller stars represent the light emanating from the menorah, the Jewish seven-stemmed oil lamp that gave ‘unfailing light to the tabernacle’. The seven lamps symbolised the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, those qualities of enlightenment that were indicative of someone who was pure in heart, or in other words, someone who had become a Fool for Christ. The seven lamps symbolised: knowledge, understanding, wisdom, fortitude, piety, counsel (the still small voice) and awe of God. These became the new values that one would prioritise if they have become committed to being aligned with Christ consciousness. These would displace the basest of human consciousness: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
The Star card is telling the Fool what they will have to do to be able to go on and inherit the degree of glory symbolised by the Moon card. In the Gnostic scripture entitled The Pistis Sophia, it explained, “After one has completed the test, the baptisms, and the anointing and has been conducted to the treasury of light, one ascends up a few steps to the drawing aside of the veil and the entrance into a new purification, when the cycle begins all over again, but at a higher level.”
The Fool has left the world of illusion and has passed through the Dark Night of the Soul and has now entered the Treasury of Light. This was the hope advertised by Hecate, the hope of finding the Crowning Glory of Christ as symbolised by the zig-zag crown depicted on her hat. Albeit, this is the lesser glory. The Cathar made it very clear (as depicted in the balance of the cards) as to what was required of the Fool if they wanted to be aligned with the higher degrees of glory, suffice it to say that in the degree of glory associated with the Star, the Fool will have devoted their life to corporal and spiritual Works of Mercy.
(The image of the Star card included in this article is from the Tarot de Marseille [Edition Millennium] © 2011 FJP Paris)
The photo of the menorah is of the one I use as a part of my morning ritual meditation.