This is the twenty-first 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 MOON: Here is the "classic" Rider-Waite-Smith image:
"They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon."
Next we will view how CELESTE BESSETTE has interpreted the card on her tarot rug, but before we do that, let's think about the images above and about what this card might signify.
Looking at the image on this card, you may find yourself thinking, "What in the world...??!" and indeed, that more or less captures one of the inner meanings of the card. For all the stories, songs, poems, and sayings about the moon, it's hard to see anything clearly under its light--especially when there IS no light (the dark phase) or very little light (waxing or waning). Even under a full moon it can be hard to determine what you are actually seeing, if you are walking outside with that as your only light source. Colors are dimmed or reduced to white, gray, and black. Our experience when using the moon as our only light is radically different from that of using the sun. The moon's light can be confusing, and we may mistake things for what they are in reality.
And of course, that also encourages our imagination to run wild--which can be a gift or a curse, depending on the direction it takes. Imagination can be seen in all those stories, songs, poems, and saying have been created ABOUT the moon. It encourages us to develop our imagination and alternative ways of thinking. It has long been a source of wonder and mystery to humans. We may have walked on its surface, but we still know little about it.
It is strongly associated with intuition, dreams, and our subconscious selves--the area of ourselves that we cannot directly access. Subconsciousness has no voice, no words, but when and if it wants to communicate, it does so in pictures. (And what is the tarot but a series of pictures? Which is one reason I think it is so effective in helping us to communicate with our own subconsciousness.)
In the Rider Waite Smith image above, we have the pool (subconsciousness) at the bottom of the card with a crayfish emerging (sometimes things emerging from the subconscious can look very strange and we don't know what they mean at first). We have the wolf (the wild self) and the dog (the tame self) under the influence of the moon. A path leads past twin towers and into the distant mountains. The moon herself is pictured in three phases.
Although the moon acts as a mirror for the light of the sun, it has a dramatic and visible pull on our oceanic tides. Water has long been a symbol for our emotional life. Since our bodies are up to 60% water, I'll let your draw the inference of how much influence the moon has over each of us. And that's another key word for one of the meanings of this card: Influence.
Now let's take a look at what Celeste Bessette has done with all of this in her tarot rug. Here it is:
Celeste Bessette is a talented, well-known, certified rug hooking teacher. She has appeared in Celebrations at least once (the highly-respected annual magazine that showcases rigorously judged, high-quality rug art). Celeste doesn't have a webpage and I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting her (which I hope to remedy soon) but I see on her LinkedIn page that she has been a textile artist for over 20 years and I can see many references to her work online, especially emphasizing her current passion for and teaching classes on hooking stained glass rugs.
Clearly, her interpretation of The Moon card is built on her stained glass explorations. Isn't it gorgeous--I especially love how the colors and hooking in the moon completely mirror the colors and hooking in the pond beneath it. The wolf and the dog, the crayfish, the path, the mountains, the twin towers, and the sky are all deliciously watery/lunar/dreamlike. I love the use of color here and the directional hooking. It is all enticingly mysterious and a wonderfully accurate interpretation of the original card. Can't you just picture this as a stained glass window in a gothic structure, with moonlight pouring through it?
WHAT DOES THE CARD MEAN?
Mystery. Illusion. Imagination. Possibly deceit or misinterpretation. Possibly confusion or inability to see clearly. This card also reminds us that the moon has phases--predictable cycles; things wax and wane, and if we can determine what phase we are in now, then we can make an intelligent guess as to what phase is coming next. We also know that if we wait, things will change. The moon is "perfectly stable in its instability." We know it has a regular cycle, just as women have their regular menstrual cycles on earth.
And we know that it can INFLUENCE us, because that is its job. Remember its influence on the sea-tides, and the fact that we are up to 60% water?
Joanna Powell Colbert says: "The moon is constantly changing, and is utterly faithful in her changes."
When you get this card, ask yourself:
“Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly...”
― William Shakespeare
“The moon will guide you through the night with her brightness, but she will always dwell in the darkness, in order to be seen.”
― Shannon L. Alder
"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and the stars mirrored in your own being."
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 (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), 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