(The above image is a copy of The Lovers card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 5 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
The Lovers card illustrates our intimate relationships and sense of self. Like the two figures, the card suggests that we should be emotionally naked before others and the divine. Stop putting up walls and fake personae. Strip away the facade and walk among the garden.
For more information about The Lovers card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – TWO TREES
There stands one tree besides the woman and one tree besides the man. Thematically, these trees reiterate the columns found in The High Priestess and The Hierophant cards. Symbolically, these trees represent the two trees in the Garden of Eden, The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life near the man holds 12 flames; these flames could represent the 12 Zodiac signs. Like the color red in The Emperor card, these flames illustrate the passion of will. The Tree of Knowledge near the woman, holds fruit and a snake. Like the garden in The Empress card, the fruit illustrate the fertility of intellect. These two trees thus symbolize the balance between the body and mind.
Point 2 – ANGEL
An Angel hovers above the lovers and bridges the polarity between the two trees. The Angel can represent the divine super-consciousness or enlightenment that is attained after balancing the body and mind. The angel is what the two lovers hope to become.
Point 3 – TWO LOVERS
Much of Tarot is about balancing the polarities of life. This includes man and woman. Adam and Eve stand separated near their respected trees. Both need to be careful. Man’s body can be burned by the Tree of Life. Woman’s mind can be tricked by the Tree of Knowledge. Both need temperance in order to avoid harm and to unite with one another.
While this card might seem to illustrate a gender hierarchy, Tarot considers the mind and body equally. Additionally, the angel of enlightenment is seen as an androgenous figure that blurs the line between gender.
Point 4 – MOUNTAIN
Between the two lovers stands a mountain. The mountain represents the struggle for enlightenment. Going back to The Fool card, the mountain is what separates us from the destination. If the lovers want to unite, they must face the trials of life head on and follow The Fool.
Point 5 – SNAKE
The snake completes the picture of the Garden of Eden. He represents the temptation to use knowledge for personal gain. While we all must strive for knowledge, we must be careful about how we use it. Use knowledge to unite, never to divide.
An upright Lovers card can symbolize the intimacy that you have with somebody in your life. It suggests raw communication and emotional openness. The card can also represent self-discovery and choice. While The Hierophant card was all about following the rules, The Lovers card is all about discovering your own rules. Make the right choices in order to continue your path towards enlightenment.
If an Upright Lovers card signals communication and intimacy, then a Reverse Lovers card signals a disconnect with your loved ones. Are you going through a rough patch with anybody? Talk with them and try to get back to the fundamental reasons why you initially had them in your life. A Reverse Lovers card might also signal a lack of self-love. Start a journey of self-discovery in order to get back at the emotional roots of your being.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.