6 - The Lovers

The Lovers card often reminds us of the power of choice. Card from Rider Waite Tarot by US Game Systems, photo by Patti Wigington

A heavenly being hovers in the sky, beneath the Sun, and he is the angel Raphael. He is looking down upon two nude figures, a man and a woman. She symbolizes the subconscious mind, the High Priestess and the Empress, while the man by her side is the Magician and the Emperor. Behind the woman is the tree of knowledge, and a serpent twines through its branches and offers the tempting fruit. These two lovers stand here in harmony, hiding nothing from one another, and they know that to have a successful life together they must find balance between the conscious mind and their subconscious desires.

In some decks, this card is portrayed as one man standing between two women, and clearly being forced to make a choice between them. When the Lovers appear, it doesn't necessarily have to do with physical or romantic love. Instead, it traditionally indicates someone who must make a decision and overcome temptation. The Lovers show us that we have choices, and that we are beings who struggle between sacred and profane love. This card represents the balance between the inner and outer aspects of our lives.

In some Tarot layouts, the positioning of the card is just as important as the symbolism. For instance, if the Lovers appear in the "past" aspect of a spread, it can often indicate that whatever you're dealing with now will be influenced by a strong, loving partnership. Whether this is a long term relationship of your own, or one that you've grown up around - parents or grandparents, for instance - it's going to help form the framework of how you handle the current issues. 

If you're single and looking to change your relationship status, and the Lovers appear, often this is a good sign. For some people, it can mean there are lost of fish in the dating pool. For others, it means that you get to be choosy - learn to figure out which criteria are your dealbreakers in a potential partner, and then stick to your guidelines. No need to just settle for whatever comes along, when it comes to long term relationships.

When reversed, the Lovers show us the possibility of poor choices, quarrels, and infidelity spawned by temptation. This card indicates a need to stabilize the emotions and get in check with our rational selves, and to put aside our carnal desires. Do you find yourself facing choices in which your heart - or your libido - says one thing and your brain says another? This is where the Lovers card appears.

If the Lovers card appears together with the Devil card, often it means that there is outside influence or unhealthy obsession that is clouding your judgment.

Keep in mind that the Lovers card is about pretty significant stuff in your life - which means that the choices and decisions you make can bring with them some long term ramifications. While many Tarot cards - the Fool, for instance - have various right answers to your questions, and results may vary depending on the path you choose, with the Lovers it's pretty cut and dried. One choice is a good one, and the other is not. Use your common sense, and don't make hasty decisions, because chances are good you'll come to regret them later. Worse, lots of people will be hurt in the process if you open the wrong door.

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