The card of the lovers, in tarot, is related to the idea of duality and specifically connects opposite principles, creating new concepts formed by contradicting elements. The composition of the lovers neutralizes conflicting forces and competing relations aiming to unite the lovers under the influence of creation. The card is linked to our understanding for the notion of fate, as a product of past experiences. The circumstances and experiences that formed our past will determine the future. Our present choices will seem truthful as they are artefacts of past material.
The choices are now made by a superior aspect of ourselves, a more wise and experienced side of our personality.
This card is related to the adolescent period of a person’s life. The tarot sequence, so far, represented childhood and parenthood in parallel, the lovers are crossing us over to that part of life where the first desires of youth can occur. They stand for the foundation of primary joy and love, the initial sexual attraction between the two sexes.
The lovers have the number six in the tarot sequence, a number that indicates tension and restless temperament. It is connected traditionally with the sixth day of Genesis, a day of evolution towards human creation.
There is a parallelism that connects the lovers with the ancient Greek gods Aphrodite and Cupid. The legends are telling us that Cupid was a loyal lover and servant to the goddess Aphrodite. They were both protectors of unity, love and sexual relations. Cupid would always carry his bow. He was equipped with golden and tin arrows. He would use both to determine mortal fate. When he used his golden arrow, the mortal would fall in love with the first person to encounter. When he threw a tin arrow, the mortal would despise the first person to come across. Cupid used this game as a tool for power and gained the respect and approval of the mortals and the Gods. This legend is connected with the notion of duality that comes with this card. The outcome of a union of lovers could either have a positive or negative result. In a more personal level it would suggest the struggle of contradictory feelings.
Two naked figures are portrayed on this card, a man and a woman. Angel Raphael is standing right above them. The man is a representation for the consciousness of the ‘magician’ and the ‘emperor’. The woman is a metaphor for the unconscious world of the ‘High Priestess’ and the ‘Empress’. Angel Raphael is the force that protects and unites both aspects. The man is looking towards the woman and the woman towards the angel, a metaphor that can be translated as; self- awareness can only be realized by diving the conscious thought into the unconscious. The snake that is crawling on the tree behind them is the temptation that can emerge from the depths of the psyche.
When this card appears during a tarot reading it is connected to an important choice or the idea of unity and self-exploration. When it is placed upright it is a sign for overcoming the obstacles that one may be facing and this is based on the idea of harmony and perfection that characterize the unity of the lovers. It can also have a sexual connotation as the link between the lovers is so strong that it could suggest the equivalent for the person involved in the reading. On this position the lovers may also indicate the formation of a belief system that will set the foundation of personal values through life.
When the card is reversed it shapes a neurotic being that lives in fear for independence and this is connected to the fear of death. It suggests annihilation during self-exploration and the submission to defeat.