What Does It Mean To Wish Upon A Star?

At face value, it sounds like something straight out of a fairytale right? Well that’s because it is. Or at least this specific phrasing of this concept is. In fact it’s from Disney’s famous musical, “Pinocchio,” from a song titled, ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’. 

But if this is what it means at face value, then what is revealed when we look beyond just the surface?

Firstly, why a star? And what is meant by the word ‘star’ in this concept? 

A star can mean multiple things, but perhaps the 2 most common uses of the word refer to celestial stars and celebrity stars. In some ways,, these two types of stars are actually very similar, and by understanding those similarities, we can then more profoundly understand the whole concept of what a ‘star’ represents and therefore answer the question, ‘Why a star?’

  • They both inspire awe.

Celestial stars, with their vast distances and unknown realms, evoke wonder and curiosity about the universe’s mysteries. They prompt existential questions and a desire to explore the unknown. Celebrity stars, with their often glamorous and enigmatic lives, captivate public interest and imagination. Their stories, both on and off the screen, offer a glimpse into a world that is both fascinating and mysterious, fueling our curiosity about fame and success and the allure and awe of reaching it.

  • They’re both representative of something beyond yourself

Celestial stars symbolise the vastness of the universe, encouraging contemplation of our place within it. Celebrity stars embody ideals and aspirations, representing success and potential. Both types of stars point beyond the individual, inviting us to consider larger possibilities and greater narratives for our lives.

  • They both represent an opposition to the mundane. 

Celestial stars, with their distant and enigmatic nature, provide a break from the everyday, offering a glimpse into the wonders of the universe. They remind us that there is more to life than our daily routines. Similarly, celebrity stars live lives that often seem removed from the ordinary. Their lifestyles, achievements, and the very nature of their public presence often provide a form of escapism for the general public. This opposition to the mundane makes both celestial and celebrity stars powerful symbols of escape and inspiration.

Thinking of the similarities between these two types of ‘stars’, allows us to see the symbol of a star as more of an ideal, a signal to the transcendent, or the guide to adventure.

The ‘Star’ as Guidance

In the Biblical narrative, stars hold significant meaning, often associated with divine presence and guidance. The most notable example is the Star of Bethlehem, which guided the Magi to the birthplace of Jesus Christ. This star is a symbol of divine intervention and the fulfilment of prophecy, representing hope, salvation, and the manifestation of divine will on earth.

Wishing on a star, when viewed through the framework of biblical symbolism, is more than a simple act of hope; it is a reflection of deep spiritual yearnings. It encompasses seeking divine guidance, expressing faith and hope and orienting yourself toward the transcendent. This practice can thus be seen as a modern, cultural echo of ancient truths and promises, illustrating the timeless nature of humanity’s search for meaning and connection with the divine.

The Star As A Light In The Darkness

Light is a common symbol for hope, clarity, and knowledge, while darkness represents confusion, despair, and ignorance and evil. To focus on the light is to seek out these positive qualities even when surrounded by negativity or uncertainty. The analogy goes even further, when you orient yourself to a star, whatever that may be, you’ve allowed the light from that star to illuminate parts of your life, and therefore the things in the darkness that are holding you back will also be illuminated. And even though at first that may seem daunting to address, at least you can attack it in the light where you can see it, rather than in the darkness of its hold on you where it’s almost inescapable. 

Take Aim, Even Badly

Wishing on a star, also refers to taking aim at something, and striving for it! 

You can’t get to something if you don’t aim at it, and if you’re aiming at something, why not take aim at the best possible thing you can think of, that way even if you were to fall short of your goal, you would still be in a place that is far closer to the stars than the ground. 

Use the act of wishing on a star to cultivate resilience. Just as the stars remain constant and enduring, let your aspirations and efforts be steadfast, learning from each misstep and persevering through challenges

What is Your Star? Is It A Good Star To Follow? And if it is, How Can You Move Towards It?

In some way or the other, we all have a star, or at least some version of it, we’re all aiming at something. Even if you think you’re aiming at nothing and choose to simply let life pass you by, then what you’re aiming at is indifference and a passive lifestyle, that is your star. Whether conscious or subconscious, aiming at something is inescapable, so why not aim for the stars? Why not set your gaze upon something transcendent, something beyond the mundane. Because things that have never happened to you will happen, adventure that you’ve never encountered will fill your life and meaning that is only found in the heavens will characterise your journey, all of this is there for the taking – when you wish upon a star. 


Written by Ben Joshua