Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring The Lovers and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.
Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.
Introduction of the Card
The Lovers is card number 06 in the deck and the seventh card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.
My Analysis of These Cards
Actually we have a good mix here to demonstrate the beef I have with this card, which makes me happy.
First up is the Mythic Tarot depicting the Judgement of Paris where we see him with the Apple of Discord in his hand and he must choose the fairest of the three goddesses to give the apple to. Honestly, given the nature of the situation and the jealousy that these three goddesses were known to have I don’t know if there was a safe way for Paris to play this one. I mean, he could have cut the apple three ways and given them all a piece but then knowing how Greek myths like to run, Eris would have been the one to rage on him and the mortal world.
Next up is the Dragon Tarot card with two dragons in an embrace beneath a yin-yang symbol. They are each clutching a heart as they stare into one another’s gaze.
The next card is the Universal Tarot with a depiction of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. I’m assuming the scene here is just prior to their fall. That the angel is instructing them not to partake in the forbidden fruit.
The last card is from the Tarot of Dreams deck and it’s clearly a bedroom scene and I don’t feel there is really any need to go any further with it. It speaks for itself. To be clear, I’m not offended by the art here. I will get into what my beef is later on down in the post.
Themes of the Card
Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.
According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:
- PERSONAL BELIEFS
You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.
According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:
- VALUES ALIGNMENT
You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.
What this Card Means to Me
This card is so profoundly deep and complex that I’m not sure I can do it justice. It’s little wonder most people reduce it to romance and sex. Just… full stop: no. It’s way much more than that. So much more. I apologize in advance for the length of this section as I try to explain this card.
I don’t know if the reason I’ve always felt this way about this card is because the first tarot deck I ever owned is the Mythic Tarot deck or just what, but ever since I decided to be mentored by Saturn Celeste over on Tarot, Tea, & Me in July of 2018, I’ve met many people over there and I’ve been introduced to the Thoth system of tarot. I still prefer the Rider-White system as I write this, but I have looked into Thoth and discovered that tarot is actually a visual representation of the Tree of Life, known as Kabbalah in Jewish.
Turns out, this card originally referred to the symbolism surrounding the fall of Adam and Eve. I came across this interesting article about the Tree of Knowledge (also known as the Tree of Death in some texts), which is the shadow mirror image of the Tree of Life, that gets into the symbolism of Adam and Eve. Feel free to read the entire article or just skip down to the heading, “Adam and Eve Within” where it describes the symbolic yin-yang nature of the concept even though the author doesn’t use this term.
What is interesting here is the way the phrase “sexual energy” is being used in this article. Actually, it’s consistently used this same way in all of this site’s Gnostic articles. It makes me think of this one verse in the Book of Mormon:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
Not to worry, the Bible has something on this topic as well:
Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s Law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.
I have no doubt you weren’t expecting any of this from me in a post about tarot, now were you? No worries, I have been and always will be an eclectic learner and scholar. Perhaps this makes me a Gnostic myself? I don’t know. In any case, there is a point in all this. Because the tarot draws upon the Tree of Life and the Hebrew alphabet, it’s important to understand the original intentions.
Yes, the tarot has evolved greatly over the centuries as it passed through many hands for many purposes. Like words in any language, meanings change. For whatever reason though, I want to preserve the real meaning here at least for myself.
So what is the “natural man” and this “sexual energy” these people are talking about here? Well, let’s go back to the concept of yin-yang that I’ve been working with. On one side we have a physical body with all kinds of biochemistry. On the other side we have something we like to call self awareness. Based on the article I linked above the biochemistry is the “Eve” side and thus our yin, which makes our self awareness the “Adam” side and thus our yang.
This means that the “natural man” and the “sexual energy” is our inner “Eve” and our yin and it’s something that to a very large extent that our self awareness, our inner “Adam” and our yang can override.
Our sexual urges? Yes, we can choose to let those run our lives or we can choose to override and control them. Hunger cues? Yeah, we totally can override those. We can either develop habits to eat when we’re not even hungry or develop habits to refuse food even when we’re starving. There are plenty of other biological urges and cues we can override or succumb to daily.
This is why the scriptures say that the natural man is an enemy to God. What’s being taught here is that because we have been given self awareness, we are obligated to master the physical body we have been given. We have been tasked in becoming more than just mere animals in order to reach our higher selves. If this were not the case, then we would be no different than the rest of the creatures on the Earth. We would not be given the capacity to override.
This is important to remember. The fall had to happen and this separation had to occur. To highlight the reason for this, I’m going to quote the Book of Mormon again:
2 Nephi 2:25
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
If the purpose of us being here is to gain bodies for mastery then we needed to have free agency. Free agency isn’t possible without the knowledge of good and evil. This means that the forbidden fruit had to be eaten at some point in the grand scheme of things. So once again this profound universal concept of yin-yang comes into play. You cannot know joy without ever experiencing sorrow or regret. Darkness cannot exist without light. Order cannot exist without chaos. Life cannot exist without death. And so on. This is the basic principal of yin-yang and it’s represented within Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge.
So after sharing all of this with you, I believe this card is really about which side of you that your choices are coming from. Are they coming from your natural animal self or are they coming from your higher aware self?
Because whatever it is you choose, like Paris in the Mythic Tarot card, there are consequences that come from it. Sometimes the choice brings you joy. Other times it brings you hell. So choose wisely because it’s your responsibility to manage that.
The key phrase I choose for this card is: FREE AGENCY.
In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.
The Writing Exercise
This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.
I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.
Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015