This is a card with multiple layers of meaning. The obvious theme is the Garden of Eden and all that it implies but the name of the card is The Lovers and all that implies. So the first layer of meaning involves new love: fresh, pristine, innocent, glowing, lovely love. Quite simply, two people who are madly, head over heels, wonderfully in love. Since it is situated in the Garden of Eden we can assume that this is probably a fairly new relationship and it has emerged like magic into the two people’s lives.
It can also indicate a strong sense of bonding with a coworker or an associate. Not necessarily on a sexual level but on a deep, almost Soul level of understanding and appreciating each other.
And – back to the Garden – another layer of meaning in this card is about choice and the consequences of choosing. We all know the somewhat insane biblical fable of the tyrannical, authoritarian god throwing an absolute hissy fit because Eve took a bite of an apple, throwing them out of the Garden, and cursing all of their offspring and heirs to lives of pain and suffering FOREVER. Naturally, it was the uppity woman who did it and not the man. Just like a woman, right?
Well, despite the absolutely tweaky, weird, sexist fairy tale the underlying theme is about choosing and about knowledge. On a relationship level, this can be about choosing the type of a relationship that you have. Will it be based on love and trust and belief in each other or will it be based on emotional addiction and lust? On a workplace level, this may indicate that there are different options that are about to manifest in your career and you’ll need to consider them very carefully prior to making a commitment to one or the other.
REVERSED: This can indicate a loss of innocence and/or the end of a relationship. Perhaps, as you have gained more knowledge of each other, the beautiful, rosy glow of your new found love is starting to fade and you’re beginning to wonder why you ever got involved with that jerk in the first place.
This can also indicate the end of the honeymoon phase of the relationship and the time when you actually have to get down to making it work if you want it to last. Remember, the two lovers were protected by the angel in the Garden, but he’s also the one that threw them out. That sense of divine protection in a new and beautiful relationship may be going away and you may be dismayed by the challenge of being together in the real world.
It may indicate that you made a really bad decision in some area of your life, whether romance, employment, or real estate, and now you have to figure out how to correct it.
A Few Random Thoughts About The Lovers:
Not long ago a friend of mine asked, “Haven’t you ever had a relationship with someone where you just KNEW that you could tell them anything and it would be alright?”
And my answer was, “No.” I really didn’t think that telling your lover everything about yourself was either possible or desirable. After all, we’ve all got some dark little pockets in our hearts and our pasts that are perhaps better left alone.
I’ve since discussed it with several people for whom I have great respect and they disagree with me and assure me that a relationship like that is very possible. I have my doubts but wherever the truth may lie it brings up an interesting aspect of The Lovers, which is knowledge.
On the left hand side of the card you can see the fabled apple tree with our old friend the snake wrapped around its’ trunk. And what is it that the snake is purported to have offered Eve beside a bite of a juicy Granny Smith apple? Knowledge. Or, perhaps, self-knowledge.
A serious relationship with another person is a journey of discovery. You meet, you get to know each other, you like each other and feel attracted, a sexual relationship gets built in, and perhaps you move in together.
During that entire sequence there’s a sort of a rosy glow around the relationship. It feels like magic and you’re happy and satisfied and you think it will be that way forever. And then comes the reality of living with another human being every day and every night. The rosy glow can fade away very quickly.
It may be small, relatively petty things like him leaving his underwear on the floor or her blowing her nose and leaving the tissues on the bathroom counter. Usually those issues can be resolved if you are really in love. Minor adjustments, right?
But there’s also a much deeper discovery of each other that takes place as life goes along. Is he capable of staying steady and strong during a family emergency? Is she willing to compromise during a heated argument or does she just keep screaming and insisting that she’s right? Does he recognize when she’s hurting and respond with love or is always all about him?
In other words . . . character.
When you love someone and live with them you come to know on a very deep level not just their strengths but also their flaws. And sooner or later either the positives will outweigh the negatives or vice verse. Sooner or later you have to make that evaluation: is this relationship worth it? Is this relationship nourishing me and helping me to grow as a human being or is it stunting me and turning me into someone I don’t like?
If the negatives outweigh the positives, hopefully you leave. If the positives outweigh the negatives, hopefully you stay.
There is a third path you can take, of course, and that’s growth. If both people are willing to look honestly at their own flaws and work hard to become better people then they truly become The Lovers on a much deeper level. They really KNOW each other and the love still remains.