These creatures start with a deception, they are not fish. Having got that out of the way, there are over 2000 species in all kinds of ocean climates. The 5 armed starfish picture is the most common type but they can have more arms, one species having up to 50! Despite all the limbs, they don’t typically move very fast! Apparently the arms don’t always work together, if one detects food it can become dominant and override the other ones.
They can sense touch, light, temperature, orientation and the status of the water around them. The tips of the arms are sensitive to chemicals and they can use this ability to detect smell and hence food. The ends of the arms also have eyespots which respond to light. Use your senses. I’m probably going to say this a few times in this post but it really does feel like a key message from the starfish.
These arms are clearly important to starfish and this is echoed in their ability to regenerate limbs. They can even reproduce by pulling their own limbs off. This feels quite an intense metaphor which can be about healing, regeneration, going through pain that is necessary for growth. I think this metaphor could be a whole blog post by itself so for now I’m leaving it to you to ponder.
Starfish are meat eaters, living on a diet including mussels, clams, oysters. They are surprisingly strong and can prise open shellfish. They can’t feed out of water but that’s more than made up for by being able to digest food outside their body. Their stomach emerges from their mouth so they can eat prey bigger than they could otherwise.
Most starfish are brightly coloured to flag them up as dangerous to predators. Should a creature ignore this warning, they have calcified bony skin which also protects them and I imagine makes them taste a bit awful… There are times and places that wearing armour is important but don’t lose touch with the softer part of you that hides inside.
Starfish, like stars, have a certain alluring beauty and this has led them to be associated by some with a shallow, superficial nature. The thinking being that they have exquisite beauty and this means they can use their looks to get what they want. This can then lead them to lose touch with their deeper needs, deeper self, deeper dreams. This card may be asking what dreams do you feel you have lost? What part of yourself have you become disconnected from?
Remember the starfish have all those awesome senses and ability to feel the world around them? Well use those to tap into yourself. Take the sensory experience of yourself and find a way to hear your inner voice, to refind your instincts and your intuition.
The symbolism of 5 feels important to me here – we have 5 elements in this deck, we have 5 senses, 5 pointed stars feature in a lot of religions as does the number 5 itself eg 5 pillars of islam, 5 wounds of christ and so on. If you follow a particular religion, you might want to look to see what links there are with the number and how that relates to the starfish.
You’ve probably heard the story about the man who was throwing starfish back into the sea, the moral being that we can all make a difference and little things matter. It’s so easy to get caught up in the massive issues and problems in the world and feel so overwhelmed that you freeze and can’t do anything. But if you think small, think local, think manageable, and manageable for me will be different to manageable for you. You do what you can and if everyone does that, all the starfish will end up back in the sea.
Think of how beautiful the sky is at night – each of those stars is shining and lovely but together? Together they can make such a difference to our lives that we can even navigate by them.