When a sailor uses a star to navigate by, it's called a lodestar. The most commonly used lodestar is the bright and easily spotted Polaris, also known as the North Star.

Navigating on a clear night at sea, you'll need a lodestar to guide you so you always know what direction you're going. Something that similarly guides you through life and its tricky decisions can also be called a lodestar. This might be a mentor or some other person who helps you figure out which direction to go, or a guiding principle. Lodestar, "star that leads the way," uses the "way or course" meaning of lode.

Definitions of lodestar

n guiding star; a star that is used as a reference point in navigation or astronomy

North Star
the brightest star in Ursa Minor; at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper; the northern axis of the earth points toward it
Type of:
(astronomy) a celestial body of hot gases that radiates energy derived from thermonuclear reactions in the interior

n something that serves as a model or guide

Type of:
example, model
a representative form or pattern

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