What is Love: The Lovers

Just in case you haven't stopped over the blog lately, I've started a [pretty long] series tackling the Major Arcana cards, one by one, the Practical Magic way. This week, I'm sharing my thoughts on one of the tarot's more popular trumps, The Lovers.

Deck used: Holly Simple Tarot (Holly Simple)

Deck used: Holly Simple Tarot (Holly Simple)

When The Lovers pops up in a reading I'm doing for a client, excitement abounds. Love is always a popular topic among people seeking guidance and it always seems like such a good omen when anything love-related makes its presence known. But The Lovers card isn't actually just a romantic omen. It isn't just an answer to the perennial He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not question. Yes, it can be about love (and by love, I mean all of its possibilities and facets: romantic, platonic, familial, etc.) but it is more about connection, commitment and choice.

The Lovers in the quirky Holly Simple Tarot are connected by the tongue, which to me, is a symbol of what most classic Lovers cards depict—being on the same page. It's two people who are inherently different finding themselves on the same side of the tracks. There's an ease of communication between them because their intentions and purpose are founded on the same, solid choice and foundation. Think of a marriage—the commitment solidified by a marriage contract shows the promise of two people to be there for each other, for better or for worse… beyond the highs and lows of infatuation, beyond the initial thrill of first love. Whether you're committing to yourself, to someone else, to a decision you're making The Lovers shows decisiveness and conviction.

Decks used: Centennial Smith-Waite (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games); Lumina Tarot (Lauren Aletta, Inner Hue); Pagan Otherworlds Tarot (UUSI Design Studio); Black Lilly Tarot (Aya Rosen, Gamecrafter)

Decks used: Centennial Smith-Waite (Pamela Colman Smith, US Games); Lumina Tarot (Lauren Aletta, Inner Hue); Pagan Otherworlds Tarot (UUSI Design Studio); Black Lilly Tarot (Aya Rosen, Gamecrafter)

Pretty Standard Stuff About The Lovers (check out the Centennial RWS and the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot depictions):

  • Most traditional Lovers cards go Biblical (even the Pagan Otherworlds!). You see Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, their union (perhaps the apple and the serpent happened) blessed by the heavens. You even see the trees pictured in the card! The couple, regardless of their fate, employed their free will to make a choice in that instant… and that's the same choice that The Lovers card often stands for.
  • The Pagan Otherworlds card takes it a little more towards a husband and wife theme—you see the man and woman wrapped up in each other, with the woman already covered up by a cloth (as opposed to being completely bare and naked as in the RWS).
  • The serpent and the apple in the Bible story create tension and bring the couple out of God's graces. Symbolically, I feel that these elements represent the consequences of our actions. We commit, we act on our choices, and we are willing to deal with cause and effect. 

But what about cards that go off the beaten path? (Check out the Lumina Tarot and the Black Lilly Tarot).

  • The Lumina Tarot's wolves are reflections of each other, caught in a circle steeped in sacred geometry. To me, this symbolizes how we're bound to the decisions we make. Sure, we can opt out of a lot of things these days… but where's the commitment and conviction in that?
  • The man and woman illustrated in the Black Lilly Tarot are naked, as are the Lovers in the RWS. They're staring at you, the reader, straight on—almost willing you with their gaze to get on the same page as they are.

The Lovers, even by name alone, can conjure a lot of questions, ideas, and images outside the bounds of a tarot card. Here are some prompts you can use to meditate on this popular card.

  • What does Love mean to you right now? Where in your life do you find it?
  • Have you doubted the decisions you've made in your life at any point? In what instances did you stick to your word, and when did you yield from your commitments?
  • What type of Love calls out to you the most at this moment?

And we've finished Major Arcana #6 this week… On to the next, folks! Let's dive in together, week by week. If you've got any other inputs about the Major Arcana, send me a message or hit me up on Instagram @practical_magical so we can have a conversation. 'Til the Chariot rolls in!