Shown also Inverted as it is part of the symbolism of the Arcana.
Here we have The Six Starred Crown, penultimate card of the House of Paths (aka Counts for their heavy association with numbers.) A card associated with wealth and command, but also with responsibility and challenges.
Inverted it can often imply the desire, or act of casting off the gilded cage of the blessings handed to you. The shirking of responsibility, or the loss of control.
As with the other cards of the house it explicitly has a number core to it’s iconography. Six. The imperfect number. It is often understood that wealth and title are but approximations of true power. Some argue that it is intrinsic to the corruption of power that lends it this position.
It is notable that the Paths are numbered most traditionally from highest to lowest, the inverse of convention for other houses. Such it is by convention that the first and last cards The Seven Rivers and The Coin of this house are both considered the Doom, or Bane of the house. As in boundless choice lies the shackles of indecision, and in the fickle hand of chance, lies responsibility only for dealing with what lies before you.
By this token then The Six Starred Crown represents both the limitations that come with prominence, and the many choices offered by power and wealth.
Notable along with the numbering of the house, while most bear a symbol indicative of their ace as the Pinnacle Card, the Paths have a seven forked branch, or river, symbolic of The Seven Rivers (Styx.) It is a mater of historic curiosity that the proper term of the symbol is “The Branch“, not any allusion to rivers. Some historians infer that this is related to the traditional depiction of The Tree of Autumn, as a near inversion of the Seven Rivers. Some ambiguity though does arise that river branch is a proper term, but this is almost certainly derived from tree branch, and if anything can be said of seers and mystics, they are not the biggest fans of coincidence. They choose vague meanings precisely to ask deeper questions. Dualistic interpretation is stock and trade.
Commentary: I’ve been toying for some time with the idea of going through and making the 49 cards of the Thaean Arcana. This tarot inspired aspect of the world forgoes lesser arcana, and the entire deck is effectively trumps. Over time I will cover many little aspects of the practices that arise around this method of divination, and perhaps drop clues as to how they might be more than meaning ascribed and drawn from random occurrence. As things go this aspect of the story was added in more for fun than function, but that does not mean I have not thought through many ramifications, and how functional forces defined in the world may be in play. Going quite the other way over the course of Book III we will hear a quite contrary view that their primary function is not intrinsic divination, but rather perspective. Offering unexpected angles, and lenses for seers to peer through.
I’ve always been fascinated with mystical symbolism, not the specifics of any given one, but trends, patterns, cultural underpinnings. One of my absolute favorites comes from my upbringing and forgive me sighting my sources:
“a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1)
It is interesting that I’ve gone half here, but then, perhaps there are another six out of view. Let me be clear I’m not trying to draw any meaning here, just saying I love the imagery of a crown of stars. It’s shown up in more than one story.
Stars are just in general a weakness for me. An aspect of the near boundless expanse of the universe. Stars, are so very important, and powerful. They fill the cosmos with their light. A good flashlight can maybe do what, a mile before it disappears? There are over 24,000 of those around the Earth, maybe one less around Thaea? I’m undecided.† About seven circuits of that at the speed of light, in one second. Most of the stars you see up there are hundreds of light years away. Gonna need a better flash light. Seriously, yes, if one wants to crown a god, or a sufficiently arrogant mortal, then the diadem of choice, has to be a star.
† I’ve long imagined Thaea is just a bit lighter than Earth with a much thicker atmosphere, to help dragon flight be less fantastical.