This is the twentieth post in a series on the Tarot Rug Project (also known as "Exploring the Tarot: 23 Artists Hook the Major Arcana"). To view other rugs in the series, go HERE (that post will be kept up to date as new photos are published and the show travels).
THE STAR: Here is the "classic" Rider-Waite-Smith image:
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."
Julian of Norwich
There is something about this card, especially since it comes directly after The Tower card, that makes us want to let out a big sigh, and relax. All of its symbols are inherently peaceful, and that is one of its themes.
The card is packed with symbols--we'll focus on just a few. The lovely naked woman has nothing to fear and is perfectly calm. She is pouring water both into the pool and also on the earth; water is plentiful in the card. She has an inexhaustible source of it. It circles, centers, flows. In tarot, one of the things that water represents is intuition. It also represents our emotions. Both intuition and emotion are in good supply, in a balanced and centered way. The earth on which she is pouring the water is fertile and flowering as a result. Behind her is an ibis (a bird associated with the Egyptian god Thoth) on a tree, representing wisdom, and above her are seven small stars, reminding us of the Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters) and one large, 8-pointed star, a symbol of the Sumerian goddess Inanna.
Armed with this partial list of symbols and a start on their common meanings, let's look at what Cyndy Duade has done with her interpretation of this card:
Ok, go ahead--say it.
Cyndy Duade is another in our long line of distinguished and well-known rug artists who contributed to this show. She is a certified rug hooking teacher, a colorist and dyer, and holds many classes in the Northeastern USA and elsewhere. She doesn't have a website, but there is a charming and thorough introduction to her HERE. Well worth reading. I look forward to meeting her some day.
This rug is clearly a reflection of her many travels. One of the most intriguing aspects of the rug is that she has used an endanged bird native to Hawai'i as a substitute for the ibis; it is named the 'I'iwi. (That's not a typo--it's really spelled that way, and you can find out more about it HERE. ) It's gorgeous and she's captured it perfectly in the rug.
There is a definite story behind this interpretation with its Polynesian theme. Every single one of the objects and symbols in her rug has personal meaning to her. Some of that story is revealed by Cyndy in the show's catalog. (To get the information on how to order the catalog--the proceeds from which help the rug to travel--see the FAQ at the very bottom of this post.) Even the design in the white border was carefully selected by her to reflect and honor the culture she portrays in the card. The gourds from which the water is being poured, the flora and fauna portrayed...all reflect that lovely culture.
If anything, I think Cyndy's rug makes me feel even more like giving a relaxed sigh as I look at all the elements she has combined, than the original card does! And I love the reversals--there's just a little bit of clothing on the woman; she is facing in the opposite direction from the card, the tree and bird are on the other side also. In this way, the rug mirrors the card perfectly; and there are so many similarities and echoes of the original. But all is done with a Polynesian twist, with this lovely and grace-filled result.
“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”
― Carl Sagan
“Caddy got the box and set it on the floor and opened it. It was full of stars. When I was still, they were still. When I moved, they glinted and sparkled. I hushed.”
― William Faulkner
“Each star is a mirror reflecting the truth inside you.”
SO WHAT DOES THE CARD MEAN?
The Star is the ultimate card of hope and healing. The main figure is calm, collected, and has all that she needs to fertilize or bless the earth around her. She has an inexhaustible source of what she needs - the waters of hope. Notice that she draws not on her own personal power to bless the earth, which could eventually drain her energy; instead she uses the waters of the pool, a deep, round mandala of compassion and healing.
And while she pours water onto the earth around her, so she also returns water to the pool to ensure that it will never run dry. This card tells us that even in darkness (stars, after all, are visible only at night, dawn, and dusk), we can look up and see those lovely lights hanging above us, encouraging our spirits. The Star is like our compass, guiding us in hope towards our next step to healing...guiding us toward beauty and balance. It is a card of nourishment and replenishing.
I also think this card has a lot to tell us about the importance of Nature in healing our spirits, and how we must not only draw hope and energy from Nature, but also give back to Her.
In that way, it is a about stewardship and kindness.
When you get this card, ask yourself:
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you are enjoying the show. Frequently asked questions are below, including information on the catalog.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SHOW:
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