Following on in a series in which I delve deeper into what each of the Major Arcana brings us in terms of points for contemplation or messages to take to heart, I’d like to take a good look at The Lovers.
The Lovers is about being all loved up. Its number, 6, is both the number of love and of Venus, planet of harmony and beauty. But what does being loved up actually mean?
When this card turns up in a reading, it can signify a fabulous new relationship coming in, or an existing relationship that has gone stale returning to the early stages of passion, excitement and intimacy. The Lovers is about being in love and feeling passion for life. However if you look at the card in the Rider Waite deck, we see a deeper and more complex meaning and a sacred message is revealed.
A man and a woman are standing beneath an angel. Next to the woman is the apple tree and snake symbolic of Eve’s downfall. It represents a state of innocence and trust. Both the man and woman are naked and their arms are open. The message of this card is that love is everywhere, that love requires trust and that we are all one. Each of us who feels love and engages in a love relationship is pure and vulnerable. However the Angel/God loves us unconditionally and when we love ourselves and others unconditionally, we unlock our divine selves.
One of the most fascinating things about The Lovers is that it has a mirror in the Major Arcana. If you look at The Devil, you see essentially the same configuration of man, woman and this time fallen angel. The Devil card is symbolic of what happens when we do not trust love, when we lose sight of the fact that love is everywhere and we are love.
When we put fear into love we get obsession, we can chain ourselves to anything resembling love for fear that it is a finite substance, that if we let go we will be lost and no other love exists like the one we have. Even if that love is harmful or brings out the worst it is better than being cast out to wander alone. This illusion takes us away from our divine selves and chains us to unhappy experiences. The Lovers reveals the truth that all is love. It speaks to us of times where we have that union where we feel fulfilled not only with another but ourselves. It tells us love is safe and love is always with us.
And that’s the bit that is the most important message in this card. At the heart of it all, it’s about moving towards having a far better relationship with yourself, one in which you accept yourself unconditionally and can love you for being who you are as well as loving others for being who they are, knowing we are all doing our best.
It’s from there that all other love flows. So The Lovers is really encouraging us to joyfully enter into union with ourselves. From there, we might well find a similar balanced romantic union reflected in our outer world, free of the co-dependency and control games hinted at in its shadow counterpart.
That idea of balanced inner and outer union is useful to think about in terms of its other divinatory meaning as The Lovers also represents a choice. Making good choices means being in touch with who we are, what we need, what we think and what we desire. What would life be if you knew you are infinitely loved, that love is all there is that love cannot possibly not find you?
So at a very deep level The Lovers asks us to take a look at how much we really love ourselves as preparation for loving someone else or choosing wisely. At number 6, The Lovers also appears early on in the 22 cards of the Major Arcana. Perhaps we are being shown that self love, unconditional love is a necessary step along our soul’s journey – one that we need to take early on so that we are fully equipped to deal with the many experiences we will meet along our path.
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I’ve been creating my Knight-Waite tarot deck for two years.
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