This is the twenty-fourth 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 WORLD: Here is the "classic" Rider-Waite-Smith image:
"We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us."
Neil deGrasse Tyson
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
"To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders."
This is the last of the Major Arcana, and I am the artist who created the interpretation of the card in the following rug. (This isn't the last rug, though--we still have one more rug to go!)
Are you thinking I went off-road with this interpretation? You'd be absolutely right; I did. There is nothing left from the original card in this design.
Or is there?
In fact, if you look closely, you will see that every single Major Arcana card is represented on this rug, in the form of the Tiny Tarot, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., of Stamford CT (USA). I'd like to thank them for allowing me to use their copyrighted images directly on my rug and also for allowing me to copy their Universal Waite Tarot for use in this blog throughout my posts on the tarot project.
If you are having trouble seeing what I mean, here's a closer look:
This rug is--if I'm right--the only punched rug in the entire project. There are a few traditionally hooked loops in there, but 98% of the rug was punched with yarn and an Oxford punch needle.
(Thank you, Amy Oxford and Heidi Whipple of The Oxford Rug Hooking School)
What's the design about? It's a diagram of The Universe (another name for The World card) called the Qabala. [There are various spellings of that word: "Kabbalah" and others, but I'm going with the Q-one.]
Below is the story of this rug, and I'm sticking to it...it begins with my love for the tarot and ends with my love for both tarot and rug hooking:
I began working with the tarot in the 1970s, using it not for fortune-telling but rather as a reflection of the psyche, and I have been learning from its wisdom ever since. Because The World is usually regarded as the final card in the Major Arcana, I wanted to create an image for this rug that would integrate all of the rugs that preceded it—thereby tying the exhibit together.
The Tree of Life (also called the Qabala) portrayed on this rug is an esoteric diagram of The World—not just this world, but all the visible and invisible worlds in existence. The esoteric Qabala/Tree of Life is a many-layered framework and has, since the 19th century, been associated with tarot. The twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana have been matched to the twenty-two paths between the spheres on the Tree. In the rug, I have placed the cards on the Tree in their commonly accepted positions, as a way of summarizing and integrating the Arcana for this exhibit.
I hand-dyed all of the blue background yarns for the rug, and used bits and pieces of other leftover hand-dyed yarns to duplicate the traditional colors of the spheres on the Tree. As I mentioned above, I used an Oxford Company punch needle for the punching process. A few loops on the rug were also pulled using the traditional rug hooking method.
In a post I wrote last year--before I was given permission to publicly speak about this project (it was still in the hush-hush phase), I described the fun I had at Amy's school in a class with Heidi, learning to dye the variegated background for the rug. You can read that post here (it is cryptic because it was pre-publicity for the project, but you'll get the idea).
Here are two of the stops I made along the way to creating the rug. In the first, you can see my initial drawing of the outline on monk's cloth (I ended up re-doing the font on the title at the bottom), and then on the right you can see the color-planning in progress.
One of the many reasons I love making textile art is that the process is so often entirely meditative. Forming loop after loop is rhythmic and calming—a type of moving meditation. I have had a committed meditation practice for many years and appreciate this opportunity to maintain a mindful state while creating art.
WHAT DOES THE CARD MEAN?
This card shows the World Dancer, inside a double circle of protection--the four animals at the outside edges represent the 4 archangels, the 4 elements, and all the other symbology of "four-ness." We have seen these four in another card--card ten, the Wheel of Fortune. Just outside of the Dancer is a green, vital, bursting-with-life wreath, a type of ouroboros, with its red sash in the form of an infinity symbol. She holds two wands, and her legs are in similar position to the Hanged Man, but she is facing up, as he was facing down. The position of her legs also suggests that she is dancing.
This is the Fool, come full circle. S/he has completed the journey, and it has been very successful. It's time to stop and dance--to pause awhile and look back, as she seems to be doing, to assess where you have been. Only then can you assess where you are going next, as the journey never ends. Synthesis a good keyword for this card. Another message of this card might be that you have all the resources you need to move forward; just open your eyes to the many options that surround you.
When you get this card:
As with each of the other cards, if you choose The World card in response to a topic you are pondering, it will have many meanings that all share a similar theme. Ask yourself the following questions if you get this card. One of them will apply to your topic—a little message from your subconscious to your conscious self.
Only one more rug is left in our tarot rug project series, the rug that is the design for the back of the deck we have created together. That's coming up in the next post.
Curious about the rest of the rugs in the exhibit? You can see all the posts by clicking on the link at the very top of this post. There is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section here (NOTE: scroll down to the bottom of that post to get to the FAQ).
Thanks for reading. Your comments are always welcome.
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