The Lovers


Tarot Card 6 – The Lovers

By James Donahue

After becoming armed with knowledge about spiritual, social and political affairs in this world, the Fool moves on to the complexities of human affairs. This is reflected in the Lovers Card.

Our scribe’s journey is unexpectedly interrupted when he meets and becomes attached to a mesmerizing woman that he believes is the complement to his soul. She is his emotional completion. Instead of pursuing his fortune, he takes time to cultivate intimacy and something happens. He discovers his need for relationships and in the process frees his own intuition, imagination and emotional well-being.

But notice that the male, on this card, has his attention focused on the woman, while she is looking upward at the angel hovering over their heads. He represents our conscious everyday thinking mind while she is our inner subconscious, intuitive, mystical mind. The card asks us to combine the power and force of both sides of our minds, thus utilizing the intellect and intuitive wisdom.

The Lovers Card offers a complex message, which should not be surprising to all who have been down this same road, pursuing the love of another soul. One writer said love is, for the human heart, the most powerful energy of all. In our quest for love we open ourselves, risking everything for the bliss of the buoyant energy it provides.

But the Lovers Card demands synthesis and the blending of opposites. The woman’s gaze upward suggests that she also sees the union between herself and a lover as an elevation to a spiritual level. Without her help, he cannot reach this state.

For most humans, the impulse to pair off with a mate occurs in our early years. It is an impulse that drives us out of the protective garden of our youth and into the realm of adulthood. Once we have made this choice, there is no returning to the garden and our innocence.

The card doesn’t necessarily refer to a romantic episode. It also can represent a decision to bid farewell to a former way of life. This may be reflected in the pursuit of a career, entrance in the military, or a passion to learn.

The number six means reciprocation. This is the act of both giving and receiving mutually. Thus the card does not mean relationships between man and woman, but between all opposites. The zodiac sign for this card is Gemini, the twins. Thus we find that two things that appear to be opposites are actually part of The One.

The Hebrew letter that accompanies this card is “Zain,” which means weapon or sword. The sword is an instrument of cleavage, or sharp division. It is the obstacle that humans must learn to overcome before they can achieve the union they desire.

Examining the card, we see a powerful angelic figure holding its hands up as if offering its blessing to the two naked figures below. Their nakedness in the image implies their innocence. Notice that the woman stands before a fruit tree around which is coiled a serpent, strongly suggesting that she is Eve and this is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent is the kundalini, or energy of consciousness.

The man, then, is Adam, who stands before yet another tree that looks quite different. Its branches contain what appear to be flames. Is it the Tree of Life? Our image shows 12 fiery points but most artists depict only 10 on this tree, which strongly suggests the Cabbalastic Tree of Life with its 10 sephiroth, or energy centers in the human body.

The mountain that rises between the two lovers reflects the spiritual journey the Fool is taking, with its many pitfalls and issues that relationships must overcome. Notice that it is located far in the distance, is small is scale to all other things in the image. While it remains locked in his subconscious mind, the mountain and its pathway is no longer a major goal in this phase of the Fool’s life.

Using the poetic license of the artist, we might suggest that the position of the mountain in the very center of the card also might be the pointer of scales, suggesting the need for balance in our lives so that we can find our way to a happy union.

The Lovers number 6 is linked by its cross sum of 1 and 5, or Key 15, The Devil. This card suggests that the Lovers Card also can represent impulse, lust and raw desire. In this the Devil’s energy is not only necessary, but it can be deadly.


The Mind of James Donahue