When I was first starting to read Tarot for myself, the Lovers card was my favorite. I would get disappointed if it didn’t show up in a reading...especially if I was asking about love. It was the “butterflies in your stomach” card to me. It meant possibilities. It meant fantasy becoming reality, fated love that was “meant to be.”
I’ve noticed that often when The Lovers show up in a reading, the querent gets super excited, especially if they are single. It represents an obvious archetype that we all long for, at least on some level. We want to experience “true love”. We want to be wanted. We want to feel that fire, that divine ignition, the instant connection….we search longingly for our Romeos and Juliets, our personal Mr. Darcy in our own Austin-penned love story. We desire some sign from above that these infatuations and crushes are ordained from a divine source…that it was meant to be. Sometimes that intense drive of desire can make us blind to red flags…other times it makes us see things that simply aren’t there. As I’ve matured as a reader, I’m starting to see that the essence of this card is not just the butterflies (or the person currently causing those butterflies for the querent) but the essence lies in that drive behind the force of love. That drive can be a beautiful thing, igniting transformation or creation, but in its unhealthiest forms, it can be an unstoppable, destructive force.
In the Hermetic Tarot, the Lovers card is represented in a different way. We see the moment when Perseus shows up just in time to rescue Andromeda from the monster. It’s a dramatic moment of action, with Andromeda completely powerless to save herself. It starkly contrasts the passive Adam and Eve depiction of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and lacks the feeling of balance and equality. I believe we are being prompted to look at the drive of Perseus, in the heat of the moment, risking life and limb to rescue the object of his desire. The card is represented by both Gemini, the Twins, and Sagittarius the Archer. To me, the archer archetype is about the stages of action in the movements of archery. Seeing what you want, focusing in to aim, drawing back your bow and then releasing your arrow. The steadily aimed arrow is our intention, the bow string is the method we choose to gather up potential and available energetic forces. And as we release that arrow, it is propelled forward by the forces that we set in motion, and the motivation behind the intention. It’s a beautiful metaphor for the act of manifestation.
When I pulled this week’s card, two other cards fell out with the Lovers card. To me, the Ace of Wands confirms that in this case, the driving forces of Love are supposed to be the main focus for me this week. Being an Ace, it reminds me that this “Love Force” that seems to be one of the compelling forces of the universe (certainly the human experience) is divinely inspired. “A blessing from above” is how the aces are usually described, and wands are all about passion and drive. The RWS Lovers card also implies this divine intervention at work in the powers of Love (represented by the angel and the story of Adam and Eve). I also think about Cupid’s arrows. Again we see a bow and arrow as a metaphor for love, but this time there is no question that the Gods are behind it when Love suddenly strikes in the most unlikeliest of places. When Love comes to town, the Divine always has a part to play in how things unfold, one way or another.
The Five of Swords, however, comes with a warning. This card is often interpreted as a meaningless victory. A wasted effort. In love and war, you better be damned sure what you are fighting for. When the same force that drives Perseus to kill the sea dragon is burning in your heart, so much so that you start to overlook red flags, or invent false realities that match your fantasy, there is a real danger. How often do people engage in codependent behaviors because they believe that have to be with the person who is making their life hell? How many “Twin Flame” relationships end up in permanent separation, with one person refusing to move on, clinging to the hope that their “fated” beloved will return to them in ultimate union? But sometimes it was never fated at all, and that person just happens to love someone else. The undying faith that some people put into their Twin Flame belief can cause them to resist the natural healing process and the blessings that the universe holds for people that are able to release a “false twin”. It’s a harsh reality.
Harsher still is the reality that many others live with….they went all in with their commitment to someone, had children with them, and mingled their lives and finances completely. Then as the years went by, the Divine spark dwindled to a mutual feeling of “livable hatred”. Yet these two souls now have their physical lives entwined so tightly that divorce is a literal rending of flesh. It’s so commonplace that sometimes we speed people through the healing process, forgetting that divorce is a loss, almost a death. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to heal at your own pace.
It’s a reminder that this force of Love which drives so many of our decisions should never be taken lightly, or without contemplation of the weight of our actions. The cost is so high. But becoming out of touch with the universal Source of Love is destructive as well, both personally and on a societal level.
My takeaway for the week is to watch carefully for how this divine Love Force is manifesting in your life. How is it affecting your actions, or the actions of those around you? Find inspiration in it, or motivation if needed. Maybe you’ve been really dreading your job lately…do you find comfort in the fact that going to work each day to earn money is an act of divine love to yourself and those that financially depend on you?
Regardless of whether or not you are in a relationship, consider the divine union of Love within yourself. Practice radical acts of self-love and self-care this week. Draw close to the Divine Source for strength and power, nurturing it in your life. Examine all of your daily actions to see if they are motivated by Love, or if they may be wasted energy on meaningless pursuits. Finding wholeness within yourself will bring you a new sense of peace restored and a new appreciation of your own power. And it will make the world a better place.