The Lovers card shows a naked man and woman standing beneath the angel, Raphael, whose name means ‘God heals’ and represents both physical and emotional healing. The angel blesses the man and woman and reminds them of their union with the Divine.
The couple stands in a beautiful, fertile landscape, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. Behind the woman stands a tall apple tree, with a snake winding its way up the trunk. The serpent and apple tree represent the temptation of sensual pleasures that may take one’s focus away from the Divine. Behind the man is a tree of flames, which represent passion, the primary concern of the man. The twelve flames suggest the twelve zodiac signs, the symbol of time and eternity. The man looks to the woman, who watches the angel, showing the path of the conscious to the subconscious to the super-conscious, or from physical desire to emotional needs to spiritual concerns.
The volcanic mountain in the background is rather phallic and represents the eruption of passion that happens when man and woman meet in full frontal nudity.
In its purest form, the Lovers card represents conscious connections and meaningful relationships. The arrival of this card in a Tarot reading shows that you have a beautiful, soul-honoring connection with a loved one. You may believe you have found your soul mate or life partner, and the sexual energy between you both goes way beyond instant gratification and lust to something that is very spiritual and almost Tantric. While the Lovers card typically refers to a romantic tie, it can also represent a close friendship or family relationship where love, respect and compassion flow.
The Lovers is a card of open communication and raw honesty. Given that the man and woman are naked, they are both willing to be in their most vulnerable states and have learned to open their hearts to one another and share their truest feelings. They shape the container from which trust and confidence can emerge, and this makes for a powerful bond between the two. In a reading, this card is a sign that by communicating openly and honestly with those you care about, you will create a harmonious and fulfilling relationship built on trust and respect.
On a more personal level, the Lovers card represents getting clear about your values and beliefs. You are figuring out what you stand for and your philosophy. Having gone through the indoctrination of the Hierophant, you are now ready to establish your belief system and decide what is and what is not essential to you. It’s time to go into the big wide world and make choices for yourself, staying true to who you are and being authentic and genuine in all your endeavours.
At its heart, the Lovers is about choice. The choice about who you want to be in this lifetime, how you connect with others and on what level, and about what you will and won’t stand for. To make good choices, you need to be clear about your personal beliefs and values – and stay true to them. Not all decisions will be easy either. The Lovers card is often a sign that you are facing a moral dilemma and must consider all consequences before acting. Your values system is being challenged, and you are being called to take the higher path, even if it is difficult. Do not carry out a decision based on fear or worry or guilt or shame. Now, more than ever, you must choose love – love for yourself, love for others and love for the Universe. Choose the best version of yourself.
Finally, the Lovers card encourages you to unify dual forces. You can bring together two parts that are seemingly in opposition to one another and create something that is ‘whole’, unified and harmonious. In every choice, there is an equal amount of advantage and disadvantage, opportunity and challenge, positive and negative. When you accept these dualities, you build the unity from which love flows.