The Lovers is a card that has certain connotations, suggesting love or romantic interest. It depicts a man and a woman, standing side by side, overlooked by an angelic figure. The figures are both naked, the man standing close to a flowering tree, whilst the woman stands close to a fruit tree. While the suggestion seems to be that the figures are romantically linked, are there other possible interpretations to this depiction?
The Story of the Lovers
Each card of the Tarot represents part of the story of the Fool’s Journey; an allegory for the trials and tribulations that we all encounter on life’s path. In this card, the Fool approaches a crossroads. As the result of his earlier experiences, the Fool is filled with energy, confidence and purpose. As he arrives at the crossroads, he is sure that he knows which path he wants to take – the one marked by the flowering tree. However, as he goes to take that path, he stops and sees that, by another path, there is a fruit tree. Standing before the fruit tree, there is a beautiful woman.
At this point on his journey, the Fool has encountered and experienced relationships before – and with women who have been more beautiful or alluring. For the Fool, however, it is as if he has been granted some divine insight and he is able to see her as she truly is. His recognition of her is both deep and profound; they like the same things, they think the same thoughts and have the same hopes and fears. The Fool knows it is dangerous to bring the woman along the path he has chosen, but also knows that, like the fruit tree, she will help to sustain him. True to himself, the Fool continues on his determined road.
Is this Love I’m Feeling?
The common interpretation for this card is that it is preoccupied with love, in the romantic sense. However, this does not have to always be the case. It can represent that the querent is in love with something rather than someone – perhaps an idea, an object or a goal. It may also mean that the querent has reached a crossroads of their own, insinuating that they have a decision to make; one that must be carefully considered before any decision is made.
In addition, the absence of the elements of water and fire suggest that the traditional associations with love are not included; water is associated with the emotion of love, while the element of fire is often used to represent the blaze of passion. However, in many depictions, there is a cloud floating between the man and the woman. In the Tarot, clouds are associated with the element of air and the conveyance of thoughts and feelings; the man and woman are connected in a higher way.
Air is also represented in the angelic figure that watches over the pair. The angel represents the awareness of the psyche, which allows the man to recognise the woman on a profound level. In the Rider-Waite deck, the angel is also representative of Raphael, who in turn represents Air and Mercury. These are strongly linked to the zodiac star sign of Gemini, which represents the two facets of our personalities. In essence, it suggests that the man and the woman are opposite sides of the same coin, and that together they complete each other.
However, this completion is not at a physical level. The main undercurrent to the Lovers is the theme of harmony or balance. Again, however, this feeling of harmony does not have to be with another person; it may be that the querent discovers a band that expresses their deeper feelings or an item of clothing that sums up something about whom they feel they are. It may also be a person but, whatever it is, it will be manifest through a deep, spiritual connection and a feeling that this link is meant to be.
What it means to your Life
In drawing the Lovers in a reading, the querent is likely to find themselves falling in love with something. It may be a situation, a person, an item or an idea, but the querent will experience an insightful bond with whatever it might be. They will feel as though the pursuance of that particular connection is the right thing to do, regardless of whether it means they will have to deviate from the path they are currently following. However, just as the Fool knew it would be dangerous to take the woman with him on his chosen route, the querent must be aware that a choice of this sort doesn’t come without its own pros and cons. In light of the decision they make, the querent is likely to experience some form of personal hardship.
The difficulty for anyone drawing the Lovers is that they must achieve some inner balance before they can move forward with their choice. The subconscious is the facet that will do the ‘recognising;’ it will identify something lacking in itself that can be completed by that other person, idea or item that it connects with. The next thing that the querent must address is their conscious selves. While the subconscious might be inextricably drawn towards something, it is the conscious mind that will assess the potential pitfalls. It may be that the proposed decision will have significant impact in the querent’s life and this is something they will have to consider on a conscious and intellectual level.
Finally, there will also be advice from friends and family. When a decision of this sort is considered, it will court attention. The querent may find that he is the centre of unsolicited advice as people either back or stand against his decision to fundamentally change his life. Ultimately, however, the choice resides with the querent and it is always possible to say no. While the Tarot may point out the likely outcomes of a set of actions or thoughts, it cannot predict the future. Our free will is what dictates what will happen. However, there is the possibility that rejecting this path will lead to long-term regret.