The Lovers Artwork Description
“The sun shines in the zenith, and beneath is a great winged figure with arms extended, pouring down influences. In the foreground are two human figures, male and female, unveiled before each other, as if Adam and Eve the earthly body. Behind the man is the Tree of Life, bearing twelve fruits, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is behind the woman; the serpent is twining round it. The figures suggest youth, virginity, innocence, and love before it is contaminated by material desire. This is in all simplicity the card of human love, here shown as part of the way, the truth and the life. It replaces the old card of marriage, which I have described previously, and the later images which depicted man between vice and virtue. In a very high sense, it is a mystery of the covenant and Sabbath.” 1
The Lovers Associations
- Alternate Names: Love, Marriage.
- Six: 6 Harmony, Union.
- Element: Air.
- Rune: Gebo “Gift, Partnership”.
- Crystal/Gem: Rose Quartz.
- Kabbalah: Zain “sword”.
- Astrological: Gemini.
- Astronomical: Arcturus.
The Lovers Basic Meaning
Partnership, unison. Contract, marriage. Love. Intimacy. The combining of components to create one strength. Misleading or unexpected paths. Matching another in knowledge, love, and work.
The Lovers Controversies and Observations
The symbol of romance and marriage is not necessarily the meaning of this card itself. The deeper, alternate meaning, is more about unifying yourself as a whole, than the cliché of romance. The “lover” is the other half of yourself: your soul mate to complete what you’ve been searching for. To bind yourself by marriage, law, and love, is to seal the pact and fulfill yourself as a whole being.
“The symbol has undergone many variations, as might be expected from its subject. In the eighteenth-century form, by which it first became known to the world or archaeological research, it is really a card of married life, showing father and mother, with their cihld placed between them; and the pagan Cupid above in the act of flying his shaft is, of course, a misapplied emblem. The Cupid is of love beginning rather than of love in its fullness, guarding the fruit thereof. The card is said to have symbolised marital fidelity; in which case the rainbow as the sign of the covenant would have been more appropriate. The figures are also held to have signified Truth, Honour and Love, but I suspect that this was, so to speak, the gloss of a commentator moralising. It has these, but it has other and higher aspects.” 1
“Meaning: Attraction, love, beauty, trials overcome.
Reversed: Failure, foolish designs.” 1
“A choice; a contract; love and desire; temptation; struggle between love and infatuation; working toward harmony.” 2
“Basic Tarot Symbols: An angel or cupid, a man and a woman, two trees (in Waite, it is Adam & Eve with one tree having a serpent and apples) – in some decks one tree is flowering, but the other has fruit. Also in some decks there is a man standing between two women.
Basic Tarot Meaning: New readers often ask, ‘What is the Lovers’ card about? Is it about finding love?’ Yes, and no. It is possible that the original name of this card was ‘Love.’ The oldest decks call it ‘The amorous one,’ The Lovers being a mistranslation. So really, it’s about one person being “in love” with someone or something.
Many books, however, define the card not as “Love” but as a ‘choice.’ And the images that have been used for this card make it even more confusing. The original trump featured a man and a woman with a cupid above them about to shoot his dart (into which? Cupid’s arrows only make the one they strike fall in love). Later decks had a man choosing between two women, or a man meeting his true love with the help of a matchmaker. Still later, with Waite, we have an Angel above Adam and Eve. The Angel stands for Raphael, who is emblematic of Mercury and Air, with Adam and Eve related to Gemini (sign of Mercury) in that Eve split from Adam and is, essentially, his twin.
And the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge indicates Adam and Eve choosing to ‘know’ each other in every sense of the word.
This connection to Gemini means that the Lovers card is NOT about ‘romance’ or passion. Romantic emotions are typically related to water. And blazing passion is associated with fire. Gemini, an air sign, is about messages and making contact. It’s about the psyche.
In addition, at #6 the Lover’s card is about “harmony.” Thus, it is about something that speaks to you, that you “know” and recognize as your other or mirror self (twin), and which makes you feel harmonically balanced or complete. You may experience this psychic attraction to something small like a pair of shoes you have to have, or a rock band whose music says all you ever wanted to say. Or you might be drawn to something huge, a plot of land you want to own, or someone else’s boyfriend/girlfriend who, at first sight, makes you think: ‘That’s my husband/wife.’
In interpretation, the card indicates that the querent has come across, or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing (a puppy, a car, a house) that they will fall in love with. They will know instinctively that it was meant for them, even if it means diverging from their chosen path (that is the ‘Love’ part). On the other hand, their common sense must also make a decision on whether or not to go along with this psychic ‘choice.’ There is often a measure of hardship or cost that comes with giving into this spiritual attraction.
Thirteen’s Observations: The Lovers’ card often confuses readers as its most common interpretation is about making a choice. If we examine it closer, we see this does go along with the name (or mis-name of the card). Two choices are involved with the card. First, your soul or psyche is making its choice. It recognizes this other person/thing as being your spiritual twin or as harmonizing with you; you become ‘amorous’ for it.
Now the rest of you, the demands of your life, your emotional heart, passionate soul, can agree or not. That’s the other choice. You will feel powerfully drawn to this career, challenge, person or thing so much so that, no matter how scary, how difficult, irrational or troublesome, you will be inclined to go for it. This is LOVE. But you will also know that it comes at a cost. Maybe the person you’re attracted to isn’t a romantic and your dreams of a wine-and-roses love affair can’t be. Maybe they don’t set you on fire and you can’t have the passion you want. Or maybe this thing/person is just inconvenient.
Your friends and family may also weigh in. They may think you’re crazy, may argue with you not to get involved. You, yourself, might think its madness to change your life or break with your community in order to have this. Coming after the Emperor with his imperial rules, and after the Hierophant with his communal faith, The Lovers acknowledges a spiritual power that often defies earthly laws and religious traditions. Obeying this urge can be foolish, dangerous, selfish, thoughtless, earth-shattering.
Yet you can say ‘no’ to this attraction. You do have that choice. If, however, you don’t allow yourself to try and make this person, career, challenge or thing a part of your life, you may regret it, profoundly and forever.”
Axank’s Dream Recollection
December 12-13, 2011
I dreamed about a middle-aged woman. She was single, and had curly short hair. She either worked in a factory or a bar. She was often alone, and wasn’t really interacting with anyone around her (no sign of depression/suicidal tendencies). After some time, people realized she had vanished could not be found.
The lack of connection (love) with others, had reduced her to nothing. To me this is a symbol that “marriage” or just some type of connection with another person makes us all the more real and present as a person.