This is the ninth 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 LOVERS: Here is the "classic" Rider-Waite-Smith image below:
All choices are blessed.
Now let's have a look at what Liz Marino has done with her rug based on this card.
"...Banish Air from Air
Divide Light if you dare..."
- Emily Dickinson
“I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.”
― Veronica Roth
“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, 'I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,' that person cannot say, 'I choose otherwise.'"
― Stephen R. Covey
Check out a bio of Liz Marino HERE, including the story of her work at Ivory Pond Farm. Do not miss her portfolio of rugs on the site. There's also a tab with an excellent brief history of rug hooking.
As is the case with most of the other artists in the show, Liz is a long-time rug designer and renowned teacher. She particularly loves to use photographs as an inspiration for her rugs. Although clearly she did not use a photograph for this one. (Sorry, Liz...I couldn't resist!) But you can see the influence of photography and realism in the limited palette she chose and the strongly realistic technique.
Liz's interpretation of The Lovers card focuses most on its relationship symbolism.
Or, does it...?
In the Rider-Waite-Smith image, we see an angel (Archangel Raphael) seemingly blessing both Adam and Eve, after they have made the choice to eat of the Apple of Knowledge and leave Eden. The Solar Logos dominates the upper part of the card, shining its blessing on the earth, and behind the two figures are trees--the apple tree behind Eve and a tree with flames behind Adam. Between them is a path that leads toward a high mountain. Since mountains often represent places of spiritual power, they seem to have left Eden and are about to set out on that path, a spiritual path involving much hardship and effort. They are sure to acquire and apply knowledge along the way. They have made their choice--to be with each other. To seek Wholeness.
In Liz's rug, we see that the two lovers are now organically growing up from the deepest roots of a stunningly beautiful tree. In fact, in their union they actually become the trunk of that tree, the tree of life. They are grounded. They are on the path; they have left Eden behind. They have made a choice to come together, and from that choice arises this tree of life and knowledge. Another, more fragile-looking tree grows nearby, perhaps much younger, almost as though it hopes for the same kind of experience with them--to be blessed in that way.
And just look at what arises from Adam and Eve's choice--has there ever been a more lovely flowering than we see at the top of the trunk of this tree? The richness and shelter of those opulent branches?
If you know Liz, you know her connection with the natural world, her deep connection to the earth. It's obvious on her website. I've known her since we met in the late, great Maggie McLea's rug hooking classes in Hartford CT a thousand years ago. Liz and Maggie were good friends and Liz never fails to acknowledge Maggie's influence, but I'm guessing it's Liz's experience on her farm that really infuses this rug with its power.
WHAT DOES THE CARD MEAN?
This card is related to the sign Gemini, and sure enough, we see two people and two trees here (on the original image). There is a sense of polarity. Since I can only talk briefly about this complex symbolism in a short blog piece, I'll just say that the card is about relationship, and about choice. Wait--how are those two things related? The need for choice is constant when we are in relationship with another person. In relationships, we are often making choices moment-to-moment.
In many ways, I think that the card is far more about choice than it is about relationships. When people ask about significant relationships in their lives, this card comes up with amazing frequency...and then asks them to think about their choices in that relationship. Note that Raphael, who is an angel in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, has a name that means, "God heals." I believe that this means that all choices are blessed, as Raphael is blessing the couple in this card. Even if we choose badly. A bad choice would be painful; it could be awful. But in the end, a bad choice will bring major lessons for everyone involved. It depends on one's perspective, and Raphael is "above it all" on the card--so has a different perspective from those of us on earth. This does not excuse us from the need to make thoughtful, heart-full choices.
When you get this card, ask yourself:
In the last post I included a link to one of my favorite practitioner's websites on tarot. Here are two other such links, the first links to the wonderful Rachel Pollack's site; and here is a link to Mary K. Greer's tarot website. I have been fortunate enough to know and study with them both; I hope you will check the sites out for additional information if you are interested.
To learn more about the Tarot Rug Project, including how to help get 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