The Gentlest Lady and the Evening Star
Daily Draw May 24th, 2009
From The Lord of the Rings Tarot:
XVII – THE STAR – The light of the Evening Star shines through Galadriel’s Ring
Oooh lovely, my first draw with this deck.
Galadriel’s ring is called Nenya and was one of the three rings of power given to the Elves. It is also called the Ring of Water; Nenya is derived from the Elvish word “nen” meaning “water.” Here is the direct reference for the card from the chapter The Mirror of Galadriel from the first book in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring:
“She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand.”
Eärendil the Mariner, is a great seafarer in mythology who carried the morning star across the sky. His story is found in The Silmarillion, and he is referred to throughout The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien took the name Eärendil from Anglo Saxon, although there are also Germanic variations of the name.
The planet Venus is called the Evening Star when in the west and the Morning Star when in the east. Except for the moon, it is the brightest object in the night sky and reaches its brightest point just before sunrise or shortly after sunset.
I couldn’t find a direct reference to the Evening Star in the Edda, which doesn’t mean there isn’t one. In the Icelandic language it is called “aptan-stjarna” and is mentioned in Alexander’s Saga (about Alexander the Great), which is a piece of medieval Icelandic literature.
Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow both wrote poems about the evening star. Poe refers to the distant fire of the evening star which he admires more than the cold light of the moon. And dear old Longfellow, rhapsodizes:
Lo! in the painted oriel of the West,
Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines,
Like a fair lady at her casement, shines
The evening star, the star of love and rest!
And then anon she doth herself divest
Of all her radiant garments, and reclines
Behind the sombre screen of yonder pines,
With slumber and soft dreams of love oppressed.
O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus!
My morning and my evening star of love!
My best and gentlest lady! even thus,
As that fair planet in the sky above,
Dost thou retire unto thy rest at night,
And from thy darkened window fades the light.
“Oriel” is an archaic word for a bay window. Trust Longfellow, I once tried to read his translation of Dante. Never again. However, the lovely and poetic “Hesperus” is a classic name for the evening star.
“My best and gentlest lady” could describe Galadriel too. Like Galadriel and her mirror, the star shines and illuminates. She guides with her soft, peaceful light and brings us Hesperus renewal and healing.