Relationship, affiliation, link, cohesion, commitment, reliability

About the meaning: Many readers see circles/cycles and repetition in the Ring - probably, because usually rings are circular. I don't. I personally allocate repetitions and cycles to the Stork for reasons I write about in the interpretation of that card. But apart from this detail and some elaborations my general slant on the Ring stays pretty close to the common one, I believe.

Relationship / link / association / union: First and foremost, the Ring represents relationships of all kinds, not necessarily interpersonal ones. It can represent all types of links, connections, ties, even causal relations. And because bridges link two river banks which otherwise would be completely separate, the Ring represents figurative bridges, too. It can for example stand for the bridging of gaps. In regard to interpersonal relationships it is important to keep in mind that the Ring represents relationships per se. Yes, one way people can be connected with each other is through mutual romantic love. But by itself, the Ring only says that there is a relationship of some sort. Just as well as a romantic relationship it could for example represent a business relationship, a purely genetic relation (with no emotional ties), or a relationship based on some practical necessity. Basically, the Ring "just" says there is something which binds two people together - or, in fact, several people, groups of people, even countries. Sometimes the Ring addresses connections in the form of affiliations, liaisons, alliances, or associations. Legally as well as emotionally speaking, the Ring can represent a union, or fusion.

Cohesion / coherence / emotional attachment: A specific angle to look at a link is from the perspective of its cohesiveness. While the Ring doesn't necessarily also say that it is strong, it very often says that some kind of adhesion, cohesion, or coherence, is present and somehow significant for the question asked. For example, in social contexts, the Ring can signify social cohesion, group cohesion. Group cohesion means that a group is in unity. The reasons for this unity can be manifold. Group cohesion could for example exist because of a mutual goal or task, because the group's members satisfy each other's emotional needs, because of strong in-group/out-group dynamics (group pride), or because of simple solidarity. A specific type of adhesion or cohesion is emotional attachment. In many readings the Ring represents mutual attachment, but depending on context and surrounding cards the attachment could be one-sided, too.

Commonality / something which is shared: Following from the last paragraph, when there is a connection between two or more people this is usually because they have something in common or share something. From a slightly different angle, when you discover that you have something in common with someone you will probably also start to feel some sort of connection with them, just because of that fact. This is why I often interpret the Ring as an indication that there is something which is shared, something we have in common with someone else. The card can for example represent a common interest, a common goal, a shared adventure, a shared love for something, but also shared hatred. And it could even stand for strong mutual dislike which keeps both parties linked because they can't help taking digs at each other, thus keeping the unhealthy connection alive.

Commitment / promise / agreement / contract: One of the most intense ways a person can be connected with someone or something is through (emotional) commitment. The Ring can represent the commitment to another person, but also to anything else - a job, an idea, a way of life etc. Furthermore, the Ring can stand for agreements we make, for promises we give, for pledges, even for legal contracts - with the most prominent and traditionally often used example being engagement and marriage. In short, the Ring represents anything which is morally or even legally binding.

Reliability / predictability: One reason why we make contracts, ask people to promise us something, or value commitment, is, that they make interpersonal behaviour more predictable, more reliable. Of course there is always the possibility that someone will breach a contract or break a promise, or will let us down in the future even when they have shown a lot of commitment to us in the past. But contracts, promises, and explicit commitment, make these events much more unlikely, on the whole. So while the Ring of course is never a guarantee, it often suggests that something or someone is reliable, dependable - or at least that we think they are. It can stand for occurrences, or acts, which are highly predictable.

See also the annakblogs article >> So, is the Ring a positive or a negative card?

About the Image: As I wrote above, the Lenormand Ring doesn't represent romantic relationships specifically - it represents any type of relationship, and even non-personal connections, links of any kind. So it was important to me to stay away as far as possible from overtly romantic symbolism while not precluding romance. I chose a setting which clearly visualises that something or someone is "bound together" with something or someone else: my Ring connects two pieces of fabric (possibly tarpaulin), holding them together. I made the Ring golden, as many artists choose to do. For one thing, this was my concession to the often used interpretation of the Ring as "marriage". But mostly, I did it to highlight the Ring's importance in comparison to its surroundings. While this card says that two or more things or people are connected with each other, the card is not about them. It is about the connection itself. The fabric theme I chose for several reasons. One is that pieces of fabric are (hopefully) neutral enough to serve as stand-ins for basically anything. Also, they don't take too much attention away from the Ring itself which, after all, is what this card is about. But while they are quite neutral, they also corroborate at least two of the Ring's meanings: cohesion, and union. For fabrics consist of individual fibres which are connected to each other in a way that makes them form a union with all the others. Also, if you view the two pieces of fabric as tarpaulin, then joining them together could create a tent (which is an association I endeavoured to elicit). This is to express that any union of two (or more) individual things (or people) creates a new whole. And this new whole, be it by design or just as an accidental by-product, always fulfils an extended or altogether new purpose each piece alone could not fulfil in the same way.
In addition, as you've probably noticed, one fabric is rather light, the other much darker. This visualises to me the idea that the Ring can represent the bridging of a gap, the possibility of joining even the most unlikely, opposing entities through just one commonality. Also, the places of joining of the Ring with the fabrics are reinforced with grommets, to suggest a certain reliability of the connection. There are more layers of fabric, too, which are not connected to each other - at least not in the image section we can see. But they too have grommets. They, too, have the potential to be connected with others. They represents links that have not yet been made, or links that were once made but then severed again.
Lastly, after first trying something more abstract, I ended up using a similar landscape as background for the Ring as I did for the Snake and the Crossroads. For all three cards, in one respect, have the issue of commitment in common. The Crossroads represents a situation before we commit to a certain path. The Ring represents (newly made or already established) existing commitment. And the Snake stands for a strong commitment to keep following a certain path to its end.
Also, the clouds of the Ring closely resemble the clouds I painted for the Cross. For the Cross has a lot to do with the fulfilment of duty, and the burden of responsibility - as does the Ring, albeit in a slightly smaller or less burdensome sense. It represents promises and commitment, which always come with certain duties and responsibilities, too, but much more likely in a neutral or pleasant way. Thus, while the clouds in the Cross are darkish, rather unearthly, almost sinister, the clouds in the Ring are much brighter; there's more sunlight filtering through. These brilliant rays of sunlight give the card (and especially the promises it can represent) a certain sublimity.  
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