This is the tenth post in a series about the Tarot Rugs. To view the entire series, go HERE (that post will be kept up to date as the photos are published and the show travels).
THE CHARIOT: Here is the "classic" Rider-Waite-Smith image below:
"Out beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field.
I'll meet you there."
And here is Lynne Fowler's interpretation of THE CHARIOT in her tarot rug:
“You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.”
― C.G. Jung
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”
― William James
“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Lynne Fowler is a longtime rug artist who has written many articles for Rug Hooking Magazine, and has had her work accepted into Celebrations several times, including last year's edition.
(For those of you reading this who aren't rug hookers, the Celebrations' annual publication is a gorgeous print edition of the results of a judged competition. It attracts all the best rug artists and is very tough to win. Being included in Celebrations is one of the top awards a rug artist can achieve. Several of this show's participants have been in Celebrations one or more times.)
When I googled Lynne's name and "+ rugs" I did see plenty of her spectacular rugs and suggest you do the same. Like most of our artists, she is a highly experienced and certified teacher of rug hooking, although she is no longer teaching. Via email, she has told me, "I think it is the color and texture of hooking that fascinates me. I like to let the wool do the work and I no longer color plan or use the fixed swatches that I started with. Where I once was afraid to run out of a piece a wool, I now embrace the challenge it gives me." She collects John Nieto's work and was inspired by it in creating this rug, saying, "He uses these simple blocks of color for backgrounds and I decided to use that. For me it emphasized the power of the horses by having this contrast."
In the show catalog, she states that the figure in this Chariot is one of her feminist granddaughters. And that fits right in with the meaning of this card...
As you can see, the original image is elaborate and highly complex. One of the things I've always found most interesting in the original image is that the charioteer has no reins at all. S/he controls the Chariot simply by force of will. It would take me quite a few paragraphs to name and discuss all the symbols in this card, and I don't have room to do so here (and likely you don't have patience to read it either).
Instead, let's contrast the two images. Lynne has wisely pared the design down to its absolute basics. Otherwise, she might have been hooking a look-alike rug for years! As I view the rug, I particularly like the subtle, unexpected-but-perfect colors of the horses' coats, the sense of rushing movement in the horses (but under good control), the confident smile on the charioteer's face, and the loose, barely-held reins. This charioteer is having fun, getting on with her goals, and obviously very competent. The dark and light horses echo the dark and light mythical animals of the card. In both images, the chariot is able to move through different planes of existence--in the card, it can move through water (the river behind it) and on land. In Lynne's image, the various planes are illustrated by the blocks of color she has used. This is a very versatile chariot indeed, and it is in very safe hands.
WHAT DOES THE CARD MEAN?
The Chariot is a card of movement and action. I'll stick to some basic, surface meanings here for the sake of practicality. In the last card (The Lovers), the Fool--whose journey we are tracing--has made a choice. Now, at this stage of the journey, S/he is acting on that choice. This is a person in motion, working towards a goal. And remember how in the previous card we looked at the notion that "all choices are blessed?" In this card there is a sense that the charioteer is likely to successfully follow through with that previous choice.
In addition, this is someone who is controlling her animal nature simply by a skillful use of the Will. In the original image...no reins at all. In Lynne's image, reins held so loosely they aren't even being used, and yet the "wild horses" are clearly focused and going where they should.
When you get this card, ask yourself:
These tarot images are rich and layered, and a short blog post cannot give an indication of all the meanings of each card. If you are looking for deeper knowledge about the tarot, I've been recommending some of my favorite tarot authors and experts in the last few posts. Today I'm going to mention Tarosophy Tarot Town, a site set up by British tarot-ists and authors Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin.
To learn more about the Tarot Rug Project, including how to help send the rugs to additional venues, go HERE. Scroll down to the bottom of that post for the FAQ. And thanks for reading!
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society