We have reached one of the trickier Major Arcana cards to read on. The Tarot Lovers may seem simple enough at a glance – It’s all about love and romance, right? Not so fast! As indicated in both the medieval Marseille Tarot and the traditional 19th century Waite Smith Tarot, it is also a card of choice.
1. What choice does the Lover have to make? In the Marseille Tarot Lovers card, the male lover is choosing between two females. The two women symbolise virtue and vice respectively. Cupid hovers above the three people and indicates that our emotions are not always ours to choose – Only the power of making the right moral choice remains with us.
2. Rational vs intuitive. In the Waite Smith Tarot, we have Adam and Eve, with the Archangel Raphael hovering above them. In the background, we have the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil behind Even and the Tree of Life behind Adam. A.E. Waite has the following to say about the symbology of this card:
“The suggestion in respect of the woman is that she signifies that attraction towards the sensitive life which carries within it the idea of the Fall of Man, but she is rather the working of a Secret Law of Providence than a willing and conscious temptress. It is through her imputed lapse that man shall arise ultimately, and only by her can he complete himself. The card is therefore in its way another intimation concerning the great mystery of womanhood. The old meanings fall to pieces of necessity with the old pictures, but even as interpretations of the latter, some of them were of the order of commonplace and others were false in symbolism.”
This is interesting to take into account because it makes things much less black or white than the traditional Christian interpretation of the myth of the Fall. It also makes us realise that once we begin the journey toward completion, we have to keep making many choices to balance our intuitive nature with our rational mind.
3. The astrological correspondence for the Tarot Lovers is Gemini – a sign of duality, so a good fit for both choices and relationships between two people. Gemini is fast-moving mutable Air energy. It loves to communicate and isn’t afraid to play the devil’s advocate. Gemini isn’t afraid to explore both the heights and the depths in life though on the downside has a tendency to skim over both so quickly that very little ‘sticks.’
4. The highest spiritual potential of the Tarot Lovers is not to transcend duality (that comes later with Judgment and The World) but to harmonise it and to challenge us when our heart and mind is out of whack. It is also a reminder that words truly have the power to heal. Archangel Raphael at the top of this card in the RWS version is the guardian of both healing and communication.
5. Examples of questions to ask yourself when the Lovers card shows up as a challenge are: ‘Is my heart aligned with my heart,’ ‘What are my options?’ ‘Which choice that I can make now is truly for the Highest Good of All?,’ and ‘How can I improve my communication so that it will heal rather than hurt?’
6. The Lovers is the only Tarot card (in a traditional pack) that has the corresponding Archangel depicted on the card. Archangel Raphael is the ruler of Venus/Taurus according to the Golden Dawn system of correspondences. Use a green candle for an angelic invocation of Anael. Anael is also the ruler of Fridays so a Friday is always a good day for any magick spells involving the Hierophant. As you know Anael is also the Angel of Love and rules marriage. The Hierophant/Pope is, of course, also a celebrant at weddings. Hence, this card showing up next to the 2 of Cups, for instance, is a sure sign of lasting love.
7. On a Lovers energy day, you might…
- Fall in love
- Choose to stay with your current partner
- Choose to leave your spouse
- Play the devil’s advocate
- Question popular opinions and values
- Make a connection
- Make up your mind
- Stall on making a choice
- Be tempted between vice and virtue
- Realise that the heart-mind alignment is out of whack
- Be intimate/make love
- Communicate your desire
- Sympathise with someone
- Feel separate from others
- Seek companionship
- Be passionate about something
- Need to use your hands for some intricate task (Gemini rules the hands)
- Experience breathing problems or shoulder pain (also ruled by Gemini)
The Frideborg Tarot Lovers
Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.
~ William Blake