Of all the cards in Tarot, The Lovers has never produced dread in any of my clients. This is because the world needs love: love, sweet love. Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love! And yes, some people want to fill the world (and their blogs) with silly love songs.
But seriously: nobody gets The Lovers and thinks, "oh, damn, not that card," though some have trouble believing it.
Central Themes and Symbols in The Lovers
- Eden or Paradise
- Divine intervention
- Opposites or differences in harmony
- Lilies: purity, transition/change, feminine sexuality, love (of course!)
The last one, choice, is what really excites me. Yes, it's super romantic to think that drawing The Lovers card means that you're destined to be with someone. But where's the romance in destiny, really? Coincidence is only part of what makes a good love story. The rest is a series of choices and actions.
When you get The Lovers card, it's not always about romantic love. Sometimes, you might ask a question about your career path and get The Lovers. I would interpret this as advice to follow your heart and choose the job or career you know, deep down, you're willing to commit to for the better part of your life.
In honor of the number six (the number of The Lovers card, associated with -- guess who -- Venus), here are six questions to ponder when you get The Lovers in a Tarot reading.
What Would Love Do?
Maybe it's hokey, but this is my favorite. When faced with a dilemma, The Lovers reminds you to center yourself in your heart before taking action. Choose from a place of open-hearted compassion. Go to that place of self-love and find inner peace instead of reacting impulsively. Act for the sake of true peace -- not some surface, shallow truce that glosses over conflict, but rather a place that embraces all the humanity at stake and chooses the path that reduces suffering and brings happiness. That's what Buddha would do. That's what Christ would do. That's what Mister Rogers would do. Choose kindness to self and others. Choose brave honesty that has nothing to prove. Choose to be humble, without feeling inferior. Choose the high road, without feeling superior. Choose love.
Stay or Go?
The Lovers can be a reminder of why we chose to be with somebody in the first place. It's like the wedding album, full of memories to strengthen the newlywed couple as they navigate the challenges of life together. The thing is, life changes us, takes us places we never could have expected. You're not the same person you were in that frozen frame, that moment in time you thought would last forever, and neither is your lover. Many things change, but you know you had love once, and that can help you summon love again. So, where are your paths taking you? If you truly see yourself as you are, and your lover as they are, and you unconditionally love both of you, is the more loving choice to stay or to go? Take your time. It's not an emergency (well, unless you're in an abusive relationship, in which case the answer is easier said than done, and my heart is with you, regardless of your gender or what you think you did to deserve it [you don't]).
Who Loves Me Best?
Listen, I'm gonna be blunt: sometimes we love people who don't love us back. If allowed to continue, this unrequited or unequal love pounds our self-worth into dust and puts us in harm's way. When you're feeling lost, heartbroken, or confused, it helps to remember who in your life has loved you best. Around whom do you feel free to express yourself without fear of losing that person? Maybe it's an old friend, a relative, a teacher you once had. I hope you can think of a person like that. If not, you might just have to step up and be that person for yourself: the person who says you are lovable just the way you are, and you deserve happiness, kindness, and love just as much as anyone else.
Who Do I Love?
In the tradition of The Marseilles Tarot, the Old English Tarot shows a guy looking indecisive between two ladies. One of them is this Joan of Arc badass who claps him on the shoulder, and the other is this gentle lady with flowing hair who gently caresses his breast. He's got his hand on his stomach, like he is the unluckiest luckiest man alive, and also the most queasy.
I love this. I love this because, if you are a human, chances are you've found more than one person attractive in your life. Chances are, you've thought you could have a future with this person, or that person (or both, if polyamory's y'alls thing!). If you're monogamous and fallen into a routine with your spouse, there may come a time when somebody turns your head and your heart; just when you think you'd never have to commit to anyone again, life drops this babe (or stud) in your line of vision who seems to be everything you want in a lover and tests you. The kicker? There's no right answer. They're all right answers. Choose the one you can live with. Then be confident in that choice.
What Feels Natural?
We get stuck in our lives, stuck playing roles that no longer serve us, stuck in mindless routine, stuck in cycles of overthinking. Pardon me for getting all philosophical, but the natural state of humans is to be free. Paradoxically, we also crave togetherness. What bonds set you free? Where, and with whom, do you feel like you belong? If you live in a city but feel you belong in the mountains, love is bringing yourself to the mountains. If you work on the road but feel like you belong in one central spot, love is finding a way to make that happen. Love is freely choosing your habitat and your tribe.
What Feels Good and Is Good For You?
Similar to the last question, but ah, that harmonious union of opposites. When you're faced with a choice between what feels good and what's good for you, remember there is a third option. Maybe you haven't found it yet, but it's out there. Don't choose the wild pleasure you'll regret being stuck with later, and don't feel like you have to settle for the wholesome and bland. Is there a third option that fits both criteria? If not, keep looking.
A Simile You Won't See On Any Tarot Card (You're Welcome)
Love, like poop, is both a noun and a verb. But love, like poop, is much better experienced as a verb than a noun. Having love often stinks, often hurts, often turns your stomach. It's a waste to hold on to what you ate yesterday, no matter how good it tasted, and the desire to have love grows toxic.
Loving, though, that's a relief. Really makes you feel lighter. <3