XVII. Colleen

The Star, based on the song Colleen

Will you come down there with me?
Down where our bodies start to seem like
artifacts of some strange dream

Joanna Newsom, “Colleen” (Joanna Newsom & the Ys Street Band, 2007)

Image Description

A nude woman slips into a whale skin as she steps out of her shoes and into the ocean. She pours out a watering can in her left hand. In the sky above here there is a large white seven-pointed star. There are eleven more smaller stars around it. A narwhal horn peek above the rough gray waves on the left-hand side of the card. A church and town are faintly visible in the distance on the right-hand side of the card.


After the volcanic throes of the previous card, Colleen slips quietly away into the waves. This card is typically called The Star(s). This image is specifically inspired by the Leber-Rouen tarot’s Inclitum Sydus, a personification of a guiding star for sailors (see Selected References).

We began this cycle with XI. Bear shedding her skin, recalled in the eleven small stars above. As we wind to the end, the Selkie finds her own skin. She throws away the false name of Colleen, leaving behind the convent and her confining shoes. She moves Westward, returning to her interrupted past life. The watering-can, which over-watered plants on land, helps her flow back to her aquatic home.

Both VII. Waltz of the 101st Lightborne and XVII go to extremes, the former high into the air and into the undiscovered, the latter deep into the sea and into memory. This card is an emblem of healing and restoration, casting off what is artificial and confining. “Colleen” was told she was “blessed among all women to have forgotten everything,” but the Selkie is blessed to finally remember.

Selected Meanings

Healing, restoration, one’s own element, sanctuary, confinement, remembrance, forgetting, instinct, inheritance.