The Tarot Lovers

In which I sound like some kind of pro­fes­sional intu­itive instead of the Sassy Sibyl you all know and love… This was writ­ten last year for Flock. I’m shar­ing here now, since I’m no longer there. :) I’ve updated the post with some pho­tos of dif­fer­ent Lovers cards from my col­lec­tion. I pur­posely chose some lesser known and strange ones. What is the odd­est Lovers card you’ve ever seen?

Feb­ru­ary is the month of Lovers. Well, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day, and for a tarot reader, that means being inun­dated with ques­tions about cou­plings. Does he love me? Will she marry me? Will we end up together? What kind of love will I find? What kind of love do I need? How do I attract a lover? I don’t mind answer­ing these kinds of ques­tions; the desire to find and main­tain ful­fill­ing love-relationships is one of the human expe­ri­ences that we all share in com­mon. It’s so big in our lives, that the Major Arcana of the tarot has a card devoted specif­i­cally to it.

The Lovers card from the Vic­to­ria Regina Tarot

The Lovers card in a tarot deck is the sixth card in the Major Arcana. In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, which is arguably the most com­mon tarot in the West­ern world, the card is illus­trated with the archangel Raphael bestow­ing a bless­ing of pros­per­ity over a nude cou­ple (pre­sum­ably Adam and Eve). Behind the woman is the Tree of knowl­edge of Good and Evil and the snake – which per­suades the female to choose her own des­tiny. Behind the male is the Tree of Life, set aflame with twelve leaves, which rep­re­sent the signs of the Zodiac – which he uses to make informed deci­sions. The woman looks to the angel for divine inspi­ra­tion, while the man looks to the woman. They are part­ners, two halves of a whole, but they play very dif­fer­ent roles in their rela­tion­ship. The card is com­monly illus­trated with two or more fig­ures, embrac­ing or reach­ing out to each other. Some decks include the third fig­ure (or snake) to intro­duce the aspect of choice in union – that is to say, the inno­va­tors of the tarot under­stood that the rela­tion­ships that we enter into are by choice, and that our choices have the power to hurt others.

The Lovers from The Prairie Tarot and the Bohemian Gothic Tarot

When the Lovers card comes up in a read­ing, it can be inter­preted as an exter­nal rela­tion­ship – one that is either roman­tic or pla­tonic, depend­ing on the con­text of the card in the read­ing – or it can refer to dual­i­ties within the sit­ter (the per­son whose cards are being read). Often the card refers to two oppos­ing forces at work oper­at­ing within our lives and the card directly speaks to our inter­ac­tions with other people.

The Lovers from the Deviant Moon Tarot and the Paulina Tarot

I have been long fas­ci­nated with the masculine/feminine duality/opposites aspects of The Lovers card. In the tarot, “mas­cu­line” cards tends to exert out­ward influ­ence on their envi­ron­ments. They deal in the con­scious, prac­ti­cal, the mun­dane, and the the­o­ret­i­cal. While “fem­i­nine” cards in a tarot focus on the uncon­scious, inter­nal, intu­itive, emo­tional, whim­si­cal or dream realm and the pos­si­ble. Both of these forces are present on this one card.

The take away les­son of The Lovers card though, is that bal­ance is needed in order to achieve har­mony. For exam­ple, we fall in love based on feel­ings, but we enter into rela­tion­ships con­sciously. Rela­tion­ships can be messy, hurt­ful, or divinely bliss­ful – but if they’re going to be suc­cess­ful, they come with the under­stand­ing that there’s com­pro­mises and choices to be made and main­tain. We can embrace the dif­fer­ences between us and be lovers, or we can ignore or fight about it. And every­one knows that in order to love fully and in a way that will sat­isfy the emo­tional needs of any other per­son, we must first learn to love ourselves.

The Lovers card from the Fan­tas­tic Menagerie Tarot

Let’s spend some time exam­in­ing the dual­i­ties we find within our­selves and in our inter­ac­tions with oth­ers. Try these exercises:

1. Ask your­self: if I were a pack of tarot cards, which aspects of me would be “mas­cu­line” cards? Which aspects of me would be “fem­i­nine” cards? For exam­ple, I tend to dom­i­nate in per­sonal rela­tion­ships, but I have a very deep, strong, intu­itive well that I draw from when I need to make impor­tant decisions.

2. What is your intu­itive sense about what kind of energy you will need to invite into your life in order to bring bal­ance to your life right now? Look through a tarot deck and find a card that you feel is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of that energy and use it as a jump­ing off point for jour­nal­ing or meditation.

3. Imag­ine your­self if your per­fect rela­tion­ship. What do you bring to the table? What does your ideal part­ner bring to the table? How do you two bal­ance each other out? What com­pro­mises does the bal­ance require? What choices do you need to con­sciously make in order for the rela­tion­ship to work? Try this five-card spread when work­ing with the tarot to dis­cern the nature of per­sonal relationships:

1. the sig­ni­fier (choose this card inten­tion­ally to describe the nature of the rela­tion­ship)
2. Per­son A – what is con­scious | 3. Per­son B – what is con­scious
4. Per­son A – what is uncon­scious | 5. Per­son B – what is unconscious

Love should be cul­ti­vated in all cor­ners of our lives – roman­ti­cally, pla­ton­i­cally and within our­selves. While love may be based in what we can­not under­stand (the uncon­scious), true, last­ing and sat­is­fy­ing rela­tion­ships are formed when we care­fully cul­ti­vate an under­stand­ing and accep­tance of the true nature of our­selves and oth­ers. Using the tarot is one way to arrive at that kind of understanding.

If you have ques­tions or get stuck with your inter­pre­ta­tions, feel free to leave a com­ment here, on face­book or send me an email!

One Response to "The Tarot Lovers"

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  1. Zanna Starr

    February 5, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Excel­lent dis­cus­sion of The Lovers card, Mel! I love see­ing the same card from sev­eral dif­fer­ent decks. I need to do more of this type of post on my blog. Thanks so much for a great read con­tain­ing much food for thought!