Find Your True North with Inspiration from the North Star
When you hear the phrase “Find your True North,” what do you think of? The phrase not only evokes images of ancient mariners navigating vast oceans using the stars as their guiding light but also today’s searchers looking for their own North Star to navigate their unique life journey. Just what is the North Star? Is it a star at all?
Otherwise known as Polaris, the North Star is one of Earth's pole stars that illuminates the northern sky along the rotational axis of Earth’s north pole. Because of its position near the north celestial pole, the North Star remains relatively fixed while other northern hemisphere stars appear to move in a circular pattern around the celestial pole.
If you look at a time-lapse image of the night sky centered on the North Star, it looks like the eye of a beautiful light wheel marked by countless star arcs. So, while it isn’t the brightest star in the sky as is widely believed, its constant position and visibility has guided and inspired humans throughout history.
History of the North StarA key historical use of the North Star has been navigation. The star’s relatively fixed position has provided a reliable way for navigators and travelers to determine the direction of north. Imagine being in a small vessel in the middle of the ocean with only the stars to lead you. Without the North Star, travel and exploration would have been greatly limited, and the world would look very different today.
The North Star in Astrology
According to Space.com, contrary to popular belief, the North Star is not the brightest star in the sky, but rather the 48th (which is still pretty bright). However, it has become brighter in recent years, which perplexes scientists. Regardless of brightness, the North Star remains anchored at due north while the northern sky rotates around it, making it an easy landmark to determine direction.
North Star meaning also plays a key role in astrology as the term used to refer to an individual’s “north node” or destiny, the path of more fulfillment and purpose. It’s part of two of the most visible constellations in the sky – The Big and Little Dipper. In fact, the North Star marks the last star at the end of the Little Dipper handle. These constellations carry their own history and meaning.
How to Find the North Star
So, how do you find the North Star? Chances are, if you've ever searched for constellations such as the Big and Little Dipper you may have spotted the North Star without realizing it. On a clear night, locate the Big Dipper (there are some excellent astronomy apps, like SkyView that can help), which is made up of seven bright stars – four making up the bowl of the spoon, and three the handle. If you trace the line formed by the two front stars of the bowl and extend it up until you locate the first bright star – that’s Polaris, illuminating the sky with cosmic beauty.
Symbolic Meaning of the North Star
When Jiminy Cricket crooned "When You Wish Upon a Star" in Disney's Pinnochio, it instantly struck a worldwide chord. People of all ages were reminded of the childlike innocence associated with wishes and the importance of making our dreams a reality. Like the sparks of imagination from which dreams are formed, stars represent limitless possibilities and infinite wonder. Over the years, Polaris has come to be associated with direction and purpose, glowing bright to guide our heart's true desires.
Finding Your True North
North Star symbolism runs deep in our world today. Today, we talk of “true north” and “finding your North Star” as a deeper personal journey, one that is equal parts inward exploration and embracing the infinite possibilities and mystery evoked by the stars in the night sky. Just as the ancient explorers were embracing the unknown with navigational support, so too are we testing the limits of how far we can go while staying grounded to our core inner purpose.
Finding your own North Star is not so simple to describe, but it’s a journey we should all undertake. The answer to our True North lies within. We can’t give you a map or a diagram, but we can urge you to listen to your own heart and passions.
Carry the North Star with You
At Alex and Ani, we celebrate the symbolism and meaning of the North Star, our own solar system, the sun, and the constellations with beautiful and elegant jewelry and seasonal finds that make a uniquely personal statement. Explore. You’re sure to find the special piece that inspires you to chart your own True North.
Feeling inspired? Shop our North Star jewelry to help guide your dreams to fruition.