You can read an introduction to the light & shadow series and find links to its other installments >> here! If you aren’t yet familiar with my interpretation of the card in discussion you might want to read up on its meanings before you continue with this article.
The Ring is one of the more neutral cards in the Lenormand deck. Although some people seem to see it as an auspicious card (probably because in combination with the Heart it is often interpreted as “marriage”, and what better thing could happen to a lady? /endsarcasm) in my book all of the Ring’s meanings are by themselves neutral.
The Ring can stand for many productive, positive, issues and goings-on. Relationships, links, and affiliations can be good and productive – if their nature is of a healthy kind. As human beings we need to interrelate with others in order to thrive. If the relationship the Ring points to is with a good and honest person, and a person we want to interrelate with, the Ring is likely to point at something positive, productive, too. If the Ring stands for non-personal links/connections this will feel positive (and/or be productive) if the reading helps us make or understand a connection, or if the link is between two things that are linked in a good and healthy way (e.g. “There’s a causal connection between speaking up and gaining self-confidence.”). A bond we’ll experience as something positive if it was made willingly and puts us under no undue pressure, and it will be productive if it enables the participants to thrive in a way they wouldn’t have without it. Affiliations, liaisons, coalitions can be very productive if they help us achieve things that couldn’t be achieved alone – the Ring can sometimes be taken as the advice to stop trying to do something by oneself and start looking for allies.
Furthermore, the Ring can stand for emotional attachment to something or someone. Emotional attachment can be a good thing – if we weren’t emotionally attached to certain things or people, we wouldn’t have much intrinsic motivation to stick with them as soon as things became a bit difficult. Emotional attachment can be good and healthy, as long as it isn’t absolute – as long as the person concerned would be able to disengage in principle but chooses not to. Social cohesion and solidarity are probably in most cases experienced as positive things; they are necessary for the long-term survival of a group and thus productive for the group. As long as the social dynamics in this group are healthy, social cohesion and solidarity should also be beneficial for each individual member.
Commitment, agreements, promises, contracts are productive if they were made voluntarily, and in full knowledge of the consequences. In general, the ability to commit to something or someone is important for us to form lasting relationships, or to become truly good at something, or to reach our goals. A person who commits to something will be quite reliable, predictable to a certain degree in their behaviour, and it’s the same with promises: we usually ask someone to promise us something (or even sign a contract) if we think we need to be sure that a certain thing will really happen. Often, at least a certain degree of reliability, and predictability, are not only appropriate but necessary for something to work. In such cases, the Ring is a very positive card.
Finally, if the Ring represents something which is shared, a commonality, this will be positive if that which is shared is something good, something healthy. For example, a couple might be “united in love”; or a friendship thrives because there are strong common interests.
The Ring can stand for quite a few unproductive, negative, issues and goings-on, too. Relationships, links, and affiliations can be experienced as something very negative and can even be highly unproductive if their nature is of an unhealthy kind. If the relationship the Ring points to is with a manipulative or abusive or dishonest person, for example, or simply a person we’d rather not engage with at all, the Ring is likely to point at something negative and possibly very unproductive, unhealthy. If the Ring stands for non-personal links/connections this will feel negative (and/or be unproductive) if the reading alerts us to the fact that we do not understand a connection, or if the link is between two things that are linked in an unhealthy way (e.g. “There’s a causal connection between not speaking up and losing self-respect.”). A bond we’ll experience as something negative if it was not made willingly, or if it puts us under more pressure than we are ready to handle, and it will be unproductive if it hinders the participants to thrive, if it makes them less effective, act unreasonably etc.
Affiliations, liaisons, coalitions can be very unproductive (at least in the long run) if they encourage the participants to act immorally or unreasonably. While we might at first (seemingly) profit from such alliances, in the long run, immoral, selfish behaviour will damage us, too.
If the Ring stands for emotional attachment to something or someone, this can be a bad thing if the person who is showing the attachment also has a very dependent personality; if they tend to become attached too quickly, and too much, or to people or things which aren’t healthy for them. In such cases, the Ring is probably not a “good” card at all but points to something deeply problematic!
While social cohesion and solidarity are necessary for the long-term survival of a group and thus productive for the existence of the group, they are not necessarily healthy for an individual member of that group. If the social dynamics in the group are unhealthy, social cohesion and solidarity to the group are likely to be harmful to at least some of its members. The Ring can represent not just solidarity in the morally good sense, but also the misplaced, unhealthy solidarity with (a group of) people who are harming us.
Commitment, agreements, promises, contracts can be experienced as something deeply negative if they were made involuntarily, or without full knowledge of the consequences, or with or under unfair conditions. Yes, the general ability to commit to something or someone is important for us to form lasting relationships, or to become truly good at something, or to reach our goals. But if the person the Ring relates to tends to shoulder too many responsibilities, or commit too easily, or is prone to making rash promises they won’t be able to keep (or will regret making), drawing the Ring is likely not a good sign.
Finally, if the Ring represents something which is shared, a commonality, this will be negative if that which is shared is something unhealthy. For example, a couple might be “united in hatred”; or keeping up a friendship becomes unproductive because both participants have an addictive personality and always end up drinking too much when together.