Lovers Tarot Card Meanings
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UPRIGHT: Love, harmony, relationships, values alignment, choices
REVERSED: Self-love, disharmony, imbalance, misalignment of values
The Lovers card shows a naked man and woman standing beneath the angel, Raphael, whose name means ‘God heals’ and represents both physical and emotional healing. The angel blesses the man and woman and reminds them of their union with the Divine.
The couple stands in a beautiful, fertile landscape, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. Behind the woman stands a tall apple tree, with a snake winding its way up the trunk. The serpent and apple tree represent the temptation of sensual pleasures that may take one’s focus away from the Divine. Behind the man is a tree of flames, which represent passion, the primary concern of the man. The twelve flames suggest the twelve zodiac signs, the symbol of time and eternity. The man looks to the woman, who watches the angel, showing the path of the conscious to the subconscious to the super-conscious, or from physical desire to emotional needs to spiritual concerns.
The volcanic mountain in the background is rather phallic and represents the eruption of passion that happens when man and woman meet in full frontal nudity.
NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.
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In its purest form, the Lovers card represents conscious connections and meaningful relationships. The arrival of this card in a Tarot reading shows that you have a beautiful, soul-honouring connection with a loved one. You may believe you have found your soul mate or life partner, and the sexual energy between you both goes way beyond instant gratification and lust to something that is very spiritual and almost Tantric. While the Lovers card typically refers to a romantic tie, it can also represent a close friendship or family relationship where love, respect and compassion flow.
The Lovers is a card of open communication and raw honesty. Given that the man and woman are naked, they are both willing to be in their most vulnerable states and have learned to open their hearts to one another and share their truest feelings. They shape the container from which trust and confidence can emerge, and this makes for a powerful bond between the two. In a reading, this card is a sign that by communicating openly and honestly with those you care about, you will create a harmonious and fulfilling relationship built on trust and respect.
On a more personal level, the Lovers card represents getting clear about your values and beliefs. You are figuring out what you stand for and your philosophy. Having gone through the indoctrination of the Hierophant, you are now ready to establish your belief system and decide what is and what is not essential to you. It’s time to go into the big wide world and make choices for yourself, staying true to who you are and being authentic and genuine in all your endeavours.
At its heart, the Lovers is about choice. The choice about who you want to be in this lifetime, how you connect with others and on what level, and about what you will and won’t stand for. To make good choices, you need to be clear about your personal beliefs and values – and stay true to them. Not all decisions will be easy either. The Lovers card is often a sign that you are facing a moral dilemma and must consider all consequences before acting. Your values system is being challenged, and you are being called to take the higher path, even if it is difficult. Do not carry out a decision based on fear or worry or guilt or shame. Now, more than ever, you must choose love – love for yourself, love for others and love for the Universe. Choose the best version of yourself.
Finally, the Lovers card encourages you to unify dual forces. You can bring together two parts that are seemingly in opposition to one another and create something that is ‘whole’, unified and harmonious. In every choice, there is an equal amount of advantage and disadvantage, opportunity and challenge, positive and negative. When you accept these dualities, you build the unity from which love flows.
The Lovers card is pure love and harmony. Reversed, it can signal a time when you’re out of sync with those around you, particularly your loved ones. You may find your relationships are strained and communication is challenging. Does it seem as if you are just not on the same page and no longer share the same values? If so, come back to the reason you have this person in your life. If you love him or her unconditionally, know this moment shall pass and the best you can do is bring love and compassion to the situation. In other cases, you may realise that you have simply grown apart and it’s time to move on. If your relationship continues to be peppered by arguments and a lack of respect for one another, then it could be time to let go. Honour yourself and do what is best for you both.
The Lovers reversed can also reflect that the feelings within a relationship are not mutual. One person may be more emotionally involved than the other, and this gap could lead to disappointment and insecurity later down the track. You may be reluctant to open your heart to the relationship for fear of getting hurt.
The reversed Lovers also speaks to self-love and respect. To what extent do you honour and accept who you are and the value you offer in this world? Be mindful, too, if you look at other people and wish you were more like them. Understand that if you can recognise these traits in others, it is because you have them within you. As Dr John Demartini says: ‘When we admire qualities in others, it’s the Universe’s way to get you to wake up and recognise your own strengths – in other words, you need to realise that whatever you perceive in other people you also have within yourself.’
If the Lovers reversed shows up in a reading, you might face a tough choice with significant consequences. Instead of making a decision based on your values, you feel tempted to cut corners and avoid responsibility for your actions. You may think you can get away with it, but the reversed Lovers implores you to think again and choose the path most in alignment with your Highest Good – no matter how hard it might be.
The Lovers reversed can also suggest inner conflicts and being at war with yourself rather than with external forces. It indicates disharmony and a struggle to balance your inner union. Are you punishing yourself for something you have done or considered yourself responsible for? To help you out of this place, you will need to focus on articulating your personal belief systems and values. They will guide you in making better decisions next time. You may want to return to the energy of the Hierophant and seek the counsel and advice of an institution or spiritual mentor.