The Lovers.

Number: 6.
Astrological correspondence: Gemini.
Keywords: Balance, partnership, coherence.
The Lovers beyond tarot: Adam and Eve, Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet, Siegmund and Sieglinde in Wagner’s Ring cycle. 

A woman and a man stand naked, with their palms facing upward. Behind them stand a mountain and two trees. The apple tree has a snake curled around it. Above them, in the sky, there’s an angel, all-powerful, looking down on them, the palms of his hands facing towards them. 

The Lovers follow the Pope and comes before The Chariot. The number Six represents balance, and finding balance is necessary, especially after all the power and influence that come with the previous cards. The Chariot also has the theme of balance appearing in it, but with it comes movement, so before getting there, balance is necessary. 

I won’t lie, the Lovers is a complicated card at first, and for weeks, I dreaded having to write about it. I find it puzzling because there’s a significant difference between the Lovers in the Rider-Waite tarot, and “L’Amoureux” (that’s French for “the man in love” — note the singular and masculine) in the Tarot de Marseille. 

In the Marseille deck, a young man stands between two women: one who is young and beautiful, and one who is older, but significantly more powerful and wealthy. He is about to make a choice, and the Cupid above the three figures has his arrow pointed towards the younger woman. The message there is to listen to one’s heart, first and foremost, before making any important decision. 

In Rider-Waite-based decks, however, the name of the card is in the plural, which denotes that the choice for the two figures to unite as one has already been made, because fate (represented by the angel, who in certain decks is blindfolded) was what brought them together. The references to the Genesis here are obvious, but it’s important to look beyond them. Similarly, when people see this card in a spread, they tend to assume that it can only be related to the feeling of love. Because of my tarot philosophy, I like to look at it differently and give it a more universal, if not neutral, significance. 

In case it represents a relationship, The Lovers doesn’t always have to be about a romantic partner. It can represent a friend, or a coworker, or a member of your community with whom you have an equal, balanced back-and-forth relationship, or with whom you need to achieve such a seamless rapport in order to thrive. 

Ultimately, The Lovers represents the balance of male and female or yin and yang energies in different aspects of our life. So when you see it appear in a spread, ask yourself where you can create balance, and strive to do it.