NOTE: Skip to the bottom of this post for answers to basic questions about the show--where to see it, how long it will be at each venue, how to bring it to your town, and more. To view the rest of the series of posts, go HERE.
Once again I am posting the classic image from a "clone" of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (the Universal Waite deck, which uses the exact same drawings but has recolored them slightly).
What is magic, anyway?
Art is a form of magic.
Hard work is a form of magic.
Loving kindness is a form of magic.
Prayer is a form of magic.
Meditation is a form of magic.
Right speech is a form of magic.
Deep listening is a form of magic.
Learning something new is a form of magic.
The Ten Thousand Things...
Magic is far more common than we acknowledge. “It's all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.” ― Charles de Lint
However--hold onto your hats, folks. Here is Mariah Krauss’s rug, her version of The Magician tarot card...
Well. Ok, then! Where to begin with this one? !!!
First, Mariah Krauss’s artistic biography can be found HERE.
I urge you to follow that link. In addition to her bio, you will see two of her previous rugs, both of which have caused a sensation. Mariah is definitely a genre-bending designer and artist.
She is a Rug Magician.
Without spoiling the story behind this rug, which she tells in the show catalog* (and it is a fascinating and moving story to hear), I can say that the above photograph is superbly done. It is very challenging to photograph a piece with so much black and so much dimension. Anne-Marie Littenberg, a textile artist herself, photographed the entire show and made all our pieces look wonderful. I will include more information on A-M in the next post.
But to see this rug in person adds a whole other layer which cannot be contained in any kind of two-dimensional flat image. Mariah used a proddy technique on the black background and the depth of its texture contrasts with the tight, very low traditionally-hooked loops she used in the high-chroma sections (and the black sleeves and cap). It is unbelievably effective.
Her Magician appears to be sunken into the darkest part of the night, and generating his own Light--he is the a portrait of absolute clarity, focus, and radiance, surrounded by a thick fog. The intense coloration of his face, hands, and sphere draws our eyes into the action with him.
When I had dinner after the Show Opening with some of the organizers, artists, and their families, one group reported that they had shut off the lights in the gallery for a few moments and that the figure actually glowed in the dark.
I bet you can believe that, looking at this photograph.
[*To read the story behind Mariah's design, consult the show catalog—see details of how to obtain the catalog in the FAQ at the end of this post.]
WHAT DOES THE CARD MEAN?
The word “magic” has so many definitions. We hear it overused in advertisements. We long for it when all else fails. And some people only think of magic as the work of the devil.
But I believe the only true magic is based on love.
Love in its highest form is always magical. Is there anyone among us who has not seen genuine love work magic? (I include “tough love” here, when that is appropriate.)
Because of the richness of the symbols in all tarot cards, there are many layers of meaning for each card and therefore, much depends on where the card falls in relation to other cards when they are used together. However, if you go back and look at the Universal Waite Deck image I’ve shown above, you can see that the Magician stands before a table on which are placed the four elements—fire (the wand), water (the cup), air (the sword), and earth (the pentacle or disk). The Magician’s hands are in a position indicating that Wisdom (a.k.a. Love) is being drawn from above and directed down to earth. The Magician has all the tools needed to achieve the goal behind the focused intention.
This card calls us to look at how we use our free will in daily life. What is our focus? What exactly are we grounding? One of the meanings the card brings to us is to ask us to examine our motivations. What is the actual motivation behind our goals? A true Magician is guiding the most powerful universal force—love—and grounding it in the earth. Magic motivated by love will always succeed. Even in the most troubling, broken-hearted times.
Does that mean we will get what we want? Not necessarily. As we all know, what we want is often not what we need. Magic often works itself out in strange ways, through what appears to be coincidence. And the results can be very unexpected.
And magic has its own timing; results may not come "on schedule". Love exists outside of time.
Does that this mean that people never try to use magic for perverse ends? No, alas. Some certainly do, imposing their will on others inappropriately. Lying, misdirection, narcissistic, cruel words or deeds may appear to succeed, but evil (defined as the absence of love as a motivation for action) boomerangs, and will eventually destroy the perpetrator. Small wonder that some people view magicians as professional con artists and tricksters. This card can have that meaning, depending on context.
And yet, true magic is everywhere. “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ― W.B. Yeats
So when considering this card, ask yourself, “What is my goal, and what is the motivation behind it? Where is my focus, and why? What tools do I have available to me?”
If you are acting from love, then go ahead. If not: think twice.
[As usual, there are many other related meanings to this card, but space constraints mean I must leave it here.]
What do you think about Mariah’s rug? Please leave your comments on the blog for her to read.
NEXT INSTALLMENT will contain:
Additional Frequently Asked Questions and Answers. For example, who took these fabulous photographs? Why are there 23 rugs in this exhibit? Why do we keep showing images from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, and who are those guys anyway (Rider, Waite, and Smith) ?
ANSWERS TO THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SHOW ARE BELOW:
HOW DO I GET A CATALOG?
IF I WANT TO BRING THE SHOW TO MY TOWN, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
WHERE WILL THE SHOW GO NEXT?
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm always open to hearing about a good venue in the Cambridge-Somerville area). I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society
Skillful Meditation Project