The Lovers is the sixth card in the Tarot Deck.
The Lovers card represents the complex archetype of love, passion, sexuality and the ability to choose – to choose with the heart.
The Lovers is also well known as ‘The Choice’ card.
Let’s look at the picture below of The Lovers. The picture is from the Rider Waite Tarot deck which was first published in 1909. It is a great deck for beginners because every card has a picture describing its meaning. Today the majority of Tarot decks are based on the Rider Waite deck. It is also a ‘deep’ deck because the creators of it put multi layered meanings inside it.
We see three figures in this card. A male and female and above them in the center, dominating the card, an angel. The man is looking at the woman (this is important to note and will be explained later). The women is looking at the angel. The angel is looking down at them. Behind the man and woman stand two trees and between them a phallic looking mountain. The sun is very big and covers the top of the card.
The Story of the Garden of Eden
Before we delve deeper into the symbolism of the cards, let us explore the story that this card represents. It’s an old mythical story that sits at the very beginning of the Bible / Torah. It has many layers to it and is a deep archetypal story about life itself.
God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, otherwise known as Paradise. Here they were naked, innocent and without a deep consciousness. When God placed them in the garden, God warned them that they could eat anything in the garden BUT NOT from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
One day Eve was standing near the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and she started having a conversation with a snake residing in the tree. The snake suggested she eat an apple from the tree.
Eve told the snake that God had warned her she would die if she ate the fruit from the tree. The Snake scoffed and said, ‘Rubbish, when you eat the fruit of the tree, your eyes will be open and you will be like God. You will know about good and evil’.
So Eve took an ‘apple’ and ate it, getting Adam to share it with her.
The result was that their eyes were ‘opened’ and suddenly they had consciousness, with an awareness of good and evil and therefore the ability to make their own choices.
They did not physically die. What died was their lack of awareness.
God was super angry and cast them out from the Garden of Eden.
But now the humans were like God and had the ability to be directed through pain and growth and evolve, something that was unable to happen in the Garden of Eden.
They now had the power of Free Choice.
In the Lovers Tarot deck we are looking at a deeper esoteric meaning to this myth, beyond the superficial patriarchal layer. It does help to understand the story behind the cards though.
Now we have the ability to go above the story and create a new Garden of Eden and unite our inner opposites – our inner male and female.
Characters – Man
The man is Adam which comes from the Hebrew word ‘Adama’ אדמה which means earth. So basically Adam is made from the earth. He is part of the earth. In the classic story of the Torah / Old Testament Adam was the first man (Genesis 1: 26 – 27) – Adam HaRishona.
Characters – Woman
The Woman is Eve. However her original name in Hebrew and how she is described in the Torah / Old Testament is Chaya חיה which means life.
So think about it, Earth (Adam) and Life-force (Chaya / Eve) get together to create new life – the ultimate fertility.
Angels traditionally are genderless.
Raphael is not only an angel but an archangel. Raphael is the archangel of healing and the translation of Raphael’s name is ‘the healer of God’ and ‘God is our healing’
Raphael represents the Higher Self which is devoted to healing you and loving you unconditionally.
His robe is purple. Purple in the ancient times was an expensive dye to find so only royalty could wear it. By wearing a purple robe we can see the angel is high up in the ranks of ‘specialness’.
The man and woman stand – they are active in their roles. Their hands reach out for each other.
Adam looks quite passive in this card as he looks at Eve. Eve looks up at the angel with longing and questioning in her eyes. The angel looks down with calmness and serenity.
Relationship of Man and Woman
There are two descriptions in the Torah of how man and woman was created. The first is how God put Adam to sleep, took a rib and made a woman – a later patriarchal version. The second version (Chapter ? / Parasha) is more equal (insert Hebrew) and shows that man and women were made equally at the same time.
Note how Adam looks to the woman. Adam represents our consciousness, earthly nature and rational mind. Yet he looks to Eve for guidance.
The woman Eve represents the unconscious and life-force itself and she looks up at the archangel Raphael. She seeks out the guidance of the super-conscious that Raphael represents.
So in fact in this triad of characters we can see the relationship of man to his inner heart/intuition/unconscious. The relationship of the woman to a higher spiritual energy.
1) Conscious, 2) subconscious, 3) super-conscious
1) Male, 2) Female and 3) beyond gender
Naked Man and Woman
The man and woman are naked because they stand in the Garden of Eden and are innocent and unaware of their nakedness. Not that I think there is anything wrong with running around naked but most societies today say it is wrong and we should cover up. When we cover up, we lose our innocence.
The sun is very dominant in this card. Remember when you fell in love the first time. Your whole world exploded with light, happiness and ecstasy? The sun promises that love is around us and can give us joy and life-force.
The Sun in the Lovers card can represent Kether which is the crown and source of life in the Tree of Life diagram and brings many blessings.
Raphael rests upon clouds indicating that Raphael comes from the heavens above. Raphael is also the angel of air, which is the element associated with Gemini.
Apple Tree and Snake
The tree behind Eve is the ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’ and the snake will convince Eve to eat from the fruit of this tree which God has forbidden.
Why would God forbid someone to eat fruit from this tree? This question has dominated philosophers and religious thinkers for thousands of years.
The fruit on the tree will bring awareness. Awareness brings the ability to choose. By choosing we take control of our lives and destiny. God cannot control us.
Fig / Fire Tree
The tree behind Adam represents the Tree of Life.
There are 12 fig/fire symbols on the tree representing the 12 astrological symbols. Each symbol has three points just like each astrological symbol has 3 decanates.
The Mountain is at the very center between Adam and Eve. It has several meanings.
First of all it looks very phallic and indeed the Hebrew letter associated with this card is the first letter in the Hebrew word for penis! (zine)
Secondly the mountain can emphasize how relationships between man and woman can be difficult and that sometimes its a journey of difficulty to attain the heights that is possible.
Thirdly it can point out that often there is a mountain between the conscious (Adam) and subconscious (Eve).
Gods / Goddesses
The Lovers is ruled by all the love/passion Gods and Goddesses of past and present.
Traditionally the Goddess was more involved in love.
Female: Aphrodite, Cybele, Demeter, Gaia, Rhea, Bona Dea, Carmenta, Fecunditas, Juno, Livera, Ops, Terra, Venus, Inanna, Isthar, Ningal, Aditi, Paravati, Hathor, Isis, Tawaret, Brigid, Freyja
Male: Min, Osiris, Ba’al, Cernunnos, Freyr, Bacchus, Dionysus, Pan, Chandra, Kokopelli
The number of The Lovers is 6.
6 is 2 + 2 + 2. 2 is represented by the High Priestess. In her card we can see her sitting between two pillars of opposing energy and color. So too are man and woman opposite but equal.
6 is also 3 + 3 which represents the Empress. The Empress is the ultimate fertility card. From the union of opposites comes new life.
The astrological sign Gemini (The Twins) is associated with the Lovers card.
Gemini is about duality. It can indicate two people with a connection. It can also represent the two aspects inside us of male and female.
Gemini rules the arms, hands, shoulders, lungs, bronchi and nerves.
Gemini are the communicators and love investigation, inquiry and experimentation. They adapt and change according to circumstances and are excellent at perceiving all aspects of a situation.
The creators of the Rider Waite Tarot deck were members of the Golden Dawn, a group that had many teachings based on the mystical Kabbalah of the Jewish nation. When I say Kabbalah forget about monotheism, Judaism, God, and religion for a moment. Kabbalists are mystics in a sense. They believe God is neither male nor female and in fact has many aspects. Their systems are all about learning why we are here, the mystery of the universe and what the big plan is.
Inside the Rider Waite deck is a multitude of Kabbalistic meanings. I will briefly explain a few of the Kabbalistic meanings within The Emperor card. Believe me when I say you could learn for the rest of your life about Tarot and Kabbalah and still only scratch the surface. I’m keeping it superficial but easy to understand. I am also using on purpose the word Kabbalah rather than Cabala.
The Lovers is represented by the letter Zain ז . Zain is also the word in Hebrew for penis and sword! Both get directly to the point!
The Lovers on The Tree of Life sits at the sefirah Tiferet. Tiferet is associated with compassion.
Smell is the main sense associated with The Lovers which indicates keen perception. We can ‘smell out a situation’ and make better choices.
The name of The Lovers is ‘Disposing Intelligence’ which means that this card teaches us to organize and sort out via choice our ideas, emotions and feelings. Analysis of a situation with the directness of the sword (Zain).
KEYWORDS / KEY PHRASES
Love, passion, affairs of the heart, relationships, choice by heart and feeling rather than head.
On a deeper level it can mean the union of opposites.
MESSAGE FROM THE LOVERS
The Lovers wants you to know that Love is in your life right now or shortly coming in. You may also need to make some choices which should come from the heart. Remember the choice you make now will affect and change your future.
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I ready for a relationship?
Am I ready to improve the relationship I am in?
Do I need to make some decisions around my relationship?
Do I feel love inside of me?
Am I ready to give and receive love?
Am I ready to make a choice with my heart?
Can I choose with my higher consciousness and love?
Are you living a life full of passion and love?
Allow yourself to focus on the essence of LOVE in all its various forms. The Lovers Card tells you when you are READY love will surround you.
THE LOVERS REVERSED
When I see a reversed card I simply see the energy blocked or inhibited in some way.
How would The Lovers be inhibited?
I imagine that there would be a feeling of a lack of love – whether you are single or in a relationship. A sense of dissatisfaction. The inability to make a decision which will bring more harmony into your life.
If you get The Lovers reversed for yourself or someone else some questions to ask might be…
Do I feel blocked in my ability to make a choice
Am I lonely?
Am I feeling disconnected from my heart and love?
Am I in a relationship that is not healthy for me?
Am I ignoring issues about my love life?
Are you finding it hard to open your heart once again?
If you get The Lovers reversed it is warning you to wake up and realize that you are unhappy and its time to do something about it. Waiting for things to get better and being stagnant will not make you happy. Today you need to make a choice about what you want in life.