The Lovers depicts all of the previous characters in a single image – the Hierophant, the Emperor, the Empress, the Priestess, and the Magician. They stand across from each other, joining hands or connecting in some way, depicting the alchemical process of marriage between all opposing forces; mature and youthful – male and female energies, which has developed over the past five cards. This is the union of opposites, showing unity and duality in a single image.
The Lovers card speaks towards a sense of devotion to each other in relationships, a choice we must make, or a balance within the dualities within ourselves. It is loving, yet opposite, honoring what is different without judgement and expressing gratitude for the various perspectives that we have or are offered, so that we may all come closer to each other and ourselves. Finally, it may represent a call to look at any particular relationships in our lives, and find harmony where there is naught.
Every card in the tarot build upon each other in numerological sequence, and The Lovers are no exception. If you consider cards one through five encompass the evolution through the four elements, and unifying the four elements with the fifth with The Hierophant – card number six now takes this and observes the duality that exists between these elements which now all coexist together. In a simpler sense, this card represents the union of all that has taken place since The Magician.
The card embodies both male and female energy, and holds many representations within – symbolizing the connection between both our brain hemispheres, yin and yang, and relationships between partners, family and friends. Therefore, it’s important to take special note when seeing this card that it is one of the most complex cards in all of the Tarot, and you will be encouraged to meditate deeply upon its meaning when you draw it.
In this depiction of The Lovers, you will see all of the previous five characters coexisting together, balancing the spectrum of yin and yang. The Emperor and Empress hold hands as the Hierophant stands behind them, uniting them together. In front of them are the Magician and High Priestess as children, demonstrating both the hierarchy of family (children and adult), as well as the different forms that love can take; friendship, family, lovers, and a higher love that exists within us all are all represented in this card.
In its most positive sense, The Lovers represent respect, commitment, trust, harmony and attractions in all forms. Think of it more simply like that of a magnet – being drawn or pulled in to something, somewhere, or someone. The concept of marriage as this card’s key implies the union of opposing forces, rather than strictly a physical marriage between two individuals, although this may be implied as well depending on the interpreter.
Taking the concept deeper, The Lovers invites you to pay attention to the opposites within yourself. What polarities exist within you? Remember, that just as you might find opposites in the external reality, all perspectives reflect their source; your entire experience takes place within you.
Once you reflect within, you might find yourself observing both the internal and the external simultaneously, this is one of the great secrets of understanding the nature of reality. Observe the dualities around you, see how they can exist both as opposites and as one single energy simultaneously. See how they then reflect with the opposites within you as well, and inquire as to why and how this particular energy manifested in your life, and even why you are reflecting on it in this moment.
The Lovers ultimately embody an energy of the ebb and flow between two points of awareness. In order for the energy to flow, there must be trust and a mutual respect and understanding across the board. Giving and receiving must be equal and in balance, or the connection between two poles will quickly fall apart. At the end of the day, the thing that brings people together, builds families, and establishes communities – is love.
The Lovers reversed represents a disharmonic state of yin and yang; a divorce or disconnect of energies once merged, or which once had the potential to unify. This is a state filled with imbalances and poor communication, resulting in misaligned values. It might also imply a union that is not in harmony with itself, and thus effort and love must be applied to correct the energy, or separation is imminent, which may even prove to be a good thing depending on the situation.
As it relates to the individual, it often can manifest as giving up on oneself, and the repression of feelings within to become very displaced and disconnected to one’s own heart. It also says that if we are not looking at all sides of the equation, we can ultimately cause a war with ourselves with others simply by not honoring all perspectives of any particular circumstance.
To turn this reversed card upright, we must simply observe that each and every one of us has a valuable perspective on the world, even if we disagree with them. By honoring this perspective we can come to respect each other for who we are and see each others as a unified family, no matter how disconnected our thoughts may be with each other. It is in this way that we find harmony among each other, and this applies inside too. If we are at odds with ourselves, we need only allow ourselves to fully embrace the opposite perspective to gain clarity on what it is we are struggling with, and then will naturally move into more harmonious states of being.
The Book of Thoth
The Golden Dawn
The Tarot Handbook