What Do Stars Mean in Dreams?
The beauty and mystery of night's ancient shining lights punching through night's black velvet have inspired heads to crane for a better view of their glowing glory for as long as human eyes began peering past the black of night.
Stars captivate, they entice, they inspire wonder in people the world over every single night.
But do stars have the same allure when they appear as dream symbols?
Inspiration in Star Dreams
Throughout human history, stars have been connected with guidance.
Today, when one looks to the stars for guidance, the direction sought is normally of the spiritual variety.
However, prior to the development of GPS, radar, and other navigational aids, the guidance the stars provided was practical and literal.
Sailors looked up at the heavens, not down into darkened waters, to safely sail through the seas at nighttime.
Even today, the pole star is relied upon as a directional aid, a way of giving guidance in the sun's dark absence, pointing the northern way to all lost or alone in the dark.
Campers and hikers, who prefer an electronics-free nature experience, know that can rely on the current lodestar, Polaris, to guide them just as well as the smart phone packed away in the bedroom bureau.
Similar to their waking life physical counterparts, star dreams can function as a way to light up the depths of the unconscious, shining light on some of its content so the dreamer may be enlightened with more self-awareness in order to come closer to achieving individuation.
In the Nativity narrative, the Magi were guided to the Christ child they were seeking via a celestial event.
The point here is not to debate the merits of the Nativity narrative nor to argue over the likelihood that any celestial event occurred. The point to adding the Nativity narrative and Magi story to an article on star dream symbolism is to reveal how ingrained the story is in the psyche.
When one hears the word "nativity" or "Magi," it is more than highly likely that an image of a mother, a father, and a child basking beneath the warm glow of a supernal star will come to mind for many people. The image is an archetypal snapshot, a symbolic scene of contentment and fulfillment.
There are no hardships in the story of the Magi's Journey, there is nary a fearful moment; nor a single hair is raised the entire trip. A guiding star was promised, a guiding star delivered.
With such a story and image firmly rooted in Western minds, when stars appear in dreams, they may elicit emotions of comfort and joy. They may impart a feeling to the dreamer that he is being guided or led to a place he felt he could not go alone, that he is safe, and that waking life difficulties will some to a peaceful end.
Similarly, if one has been attempting to make a decision regarding a personal matter or if one has already made such a decision, a dream star may encourage the dreamer, appearing as a confirmation in dream time that one is walking right in one's awake time.
Seams of the Universe
Which Culture Produced the First Astronomers?
Perhaps it was the Greeks or Romans, the cultures who gave us the mythologies from which modern star names are derived.
Maybe the first astronomers lived in Chaldean or Babylonian temples, carefully crafting calendars that predicted every eclipse with amazing accuracy.
However remarkable those culture's contributions, history suggest the Land Down Under most likely produced the first ancient astronomers-- the Australian Aborigines.
Hubble's Greatest Hits
The Divine in Star Dreams
As members of the empyrean sphere, stars are often associated with the Divine.
In Greek mythology, those mortals who curried favor with Mount Olympus's VIPs were often placed in the heavens as a reward for work well done--their home in the heavens granted those mortals a sort of divine dispensation allowing them a form of immortality.
The Australian Aborigines tell Dreamtime stories about a heavenly canoe that descends to earth to ferry the dead to their new, celestial digs.
Dreams of starry, starry nights like the one in Vincent Van Gogh's famous painting of the stars over the Rhone, can, therefore, indicate that one feels in touch or in communication with the divine.
One may be experiencing an awareness of life that extends beyond one's self, beyond one's daily activities and interpersonal relationships, life unlimited by boundaries because life is both boundary and boundlessness together existing as a single unit.
Star Dreams as Longing for the Divine
Being aware of life as more than the one which one is living may be giving the dreamer a feeling of comfort, love, and liberation--feelings finding symbolic expression in star light shining in the mind during slumber.
Attempts to fly to the stars can indicate a desire to touch the divine, to experience it first hand.
This need to contact the divine can mean that the dreamer feels she needs divine aid or guidance similar to that provided to the Magi.
Alternatively, attempted star flight can also point toward attempts to run from one's waking life or an urge to engage in escapism.
Communication is a process requiring both action and reception.
One party imparts information meant for reception by the other party involved in the process.
The two parties take on both roles at different times while they communicate--one sends, one receives, they switch and sender becomes receiver and vice versa.
This seems like an obvious point, but all too often the most obvious aspects are also the most overlooked.
This is especially true when communication with the divine is contemplated.
Instead of remembering that communication also involves listening, one simply talks at the divine.
One calls out to the divine, not for actual conversation and communion, but for the purpose of delivering one's wish list or list of demands and complaints.
While stars in a dream may be articulating a desire for divine communication, it may be helpful to consider exactly what it one is longing for.
Does communication mean talking at the divine? Does communication mean using the divine as a cure all or crutch?
While the dreamer may believe that it is she longing for the divine, it may very well be that what the dreamer is actually perceiving is the divine's longing for the dreamer.
Supernova Time Lapse
Wish Upon a Star
The symbolism of stars includes an association with the divine and this in turn would be reason enough for them to have a firm foundation in both the conscious and unconscious as symbols of promise and hope.
With their home in the heavens, next door to the place where the divine's palace is supposedly perched, stars may seem the perfect place to pin one's wishes.
Since stars seem to communicate for the divine at times, they may also have the ability to communicate to the divine at times,
Another reason for wishing upon a star is because while a belief in the stars' connection with the divine itself may be little more than magical thinking, there is no doubt that stars deliver on promises every night all over the world.
As the sun sinks in the sky, eyeing the horizon, it begins greedily gathering its rays to itself with little thought or concern for those left behind without its lustrous light.
But before the dark of night can completely consume both heaven and earth, one light, then two, then countless others answer the dark's challenge with a promise--that some light form will always shine on the earth's face.
It is easy to see why stars are symbols of hope--they never fail to appear after the sun exits the stage. They not only light the night but they prove that the dark's only true power lies in its ability to more readily reveal the light.
Limits to Limitlessness?
More Stellar Exploration
A personal favorite! Stellarium is a planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the stars. It's easy to use, and free.
- Aboriginal Astronomy
Aboriginal Astronomy, especially Australian Aboriginal Astronomy and Indigenous Astronomy
- An Atlas of The Universe
Contains maps of the universe zooming out from the nearest stars to the entire visible universe.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Aisling Ireland