About Major Arcana
The lovers tarot card is often mistakenly thought to be the “best” tarot card, a major arcana that promises love at first sight. This is but a small portion of what this card means, just like the death tarot card represents much, much more than death. It is interesting to note that this is a rather positive arcanum in the common Western school of tarot reading, but people using the Marseille deck often see it in a more sinister way.
Keywords associated with the Lovers Card
Upright keywords: Love, mutual respect, connection, soul mate, twin flame
Reversed keywords: Jealousy, unfaithfulness, failed marriage, and arguments
In some traditions, the Lovers represent relationships and choices. Its appearance in a spread indicates some decision about an existing relationship, a temptation of the heart, or a choice of potential partners. Often an aspect of the Querent’s life will have to be sacrificed; a bachelor(ette)’s lifestyle may be sacrificed, and a relationship gained (or vice versa), or one potential partner may be chosen while another is turned down. Whatever the choice, it should not be made lightly, as the ramifications will be lasting.
The meaning of the Lovers card is rather ambiguous and can be read as positive or negative depending on the cards that are close to it in the drawing. However, this is a major arcana that mainly deals with problems of the heart, which means romantic relationships and people you deeply care for.
The Lovers card is often mistakenly thought to be the “best” tarot card, a major arcana that promises love at first sight. This is but a small portion of what this card means, just like the death tarot card represents much, much more than death.
The Mythic Tarot (1986)
The Haindl Tarot (1990)
Osho Zen Tarot (1995)
Law of Attraction Tarot (2011)
Spellcaster Tarot (2016)
Ostara Tarot (2017)
Upright Lovers Tarot Card Meaning
Traditionally there are three characters depicted on the Lovers card. A woman (usually on the left) and a man (usually on the right) with a flying angel above them. Some have suggested this angel might have represented Cupid, but traditional iconography throughout the centuries is far too different from the usual depictions of Cupid that it seems a little far-fetched.
In most depictions of the Lovers card, you can also see somewhere a depiction of a tree, meant to represent the Tree of Knowledge, turning this major arcana into a modern depiction of the Adam and Eve story.
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room. Yes, one of the main major arcana meanings for the Lovers card is indeed romantic love, attraction, and even beauty. This is not the formal commitment like a marriage that could be implied by the Hierophant, but more of a spiritual, personal, and emotional commitment.
This is also a challenging card because it often implies trouble in paradise. Unless surrounded by extremely positive cards, this could be a sign of some specific obstacle or challenge that must be overcome in your relationship, like jealousy or miscommunication. This major arcana reminds you that honesty should stand at the core of any kind of relationship (even non-romantic ones) and it is often the only way out of any difficult situation that might arise between you and your loved ones.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
The number 06 card of the Major Arcana, the Lovers, represents the merging, blending, connecting, collaborating, and integrating of two souls. What do people reflect about you, especially the person you are closest to, and most intimate with. The Lovers card is the energy we enjoy when we find another soul who matches, compliments or completes us.
If you are single, this card will ask you to “look at yourself in the mirror” and determine what you see. For some of us, we will see someone who prefers partnerships that are carefree, unrestrictive, and fluid; while others will see binding, defined, and deeply committed connections. In periods of singleness we can, if we so choose, get a better understanding of what we want in our next partner that will better create the harmony for a relationship that we truly want and need.
If you are in a relationship, this card encourages you to assess the status of your relationship. Is it in a harmonious state, or in a state of upheaval? Is the upheaval designed to lead you to a higher level of equilibrium or to show you that the relationship is broken and needs to be discarded in the search for a new match that will bring greater balance and harmony? When you see this card, you will likely know, instantly, where your relationship is or is not.
In a Question about Career and Work
Career encompasses school and education if that is your current stage; work that is necessary, but not what you would consider a career path; and your actual career path. Regardless of your current stage of development, the Lovers represents the need we have to work with others successfully as a way to achieve more than we can alone. Synergy with our teachers, co-workers, and employers can help us make tremendous strides in our education, work, and career.
If you are a student and this is your card, then you need to think about who helps you the most in your educational journey, both in terms of teachers and peers. Key partnerships are the focus when this card appears and you want to make sure you show special attention to the best of your academic support system.
If you are working, but not doing something you would consider a career, then this card will really ask if you enjoy the people you work with, since the relationships in a job often provide the enhanced value of the work experience, over and above the work itself. Having great working relationships within and around your job can be a powerful benefit in building and maintaining a happy life, even if your work is not your main purpose or even your desired life focus.
If you are in a career path, then this card wants you to connect with and appreciate the people who reflect back to you the information and knowledge you need to keep growing and evolving in your career path. Feeling the Lovers energy in your career is crucial to advancement because you want to focus on the work, not dysfunctional relationships. Working with like-minded and purposeful individuals is the best way to achieve long-term or lofty goals.
Reversed Lovers Tarot Card Meaning
The most obvious reversed meaning of the Lovers card is the end of a relationship. More often than not, the source of such a break up is a failure to communicate properly and truthfully. While the main cognitive theme of this major arcana is quite evidently romantic relationships, this breakdown of communication can also apply to other kinds of partnerships. Friendships and professional relationships need honesty and truthfulness in order to be viable long-term too. This should be kept in mind and something that should be worked on when the Lovers card appears reversed in a reading.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
Reversed, this card certainly can indicate the end of a relationship or marriage, or, at least, the need to consider ending a relationship or getting a divorce. It can also raise questions of distrust or betrayal, yours, or based on the other person’s behavior or actions. A difficult aspect of the relationship can no longer be ignored and must be addressed, either directly or with some form of counseling.
In a Question about Career and Work
When this card appears reversed in a question about work or career, then you want to be aware there is some kind of dissonance or difficulty in your most significant work relationships. This incongruity needs to be addressed. If you are an employer, you may need to let someone go, or rearrange your staff. If you are working for someone, you may realize the relationship is becoming or has become toxic.
The Fool’s Journey
Meeting other people and learning about the world at large eventually awakens the Fool to a certain need for companionship and closer relationship to someone than what they might share with the rest of the world. This is where the lovers tarot card enters their journey, offering a glimpse of romance and close kinship with another person.
This is where the Fool starts to learn how to put other people’s needs before their own, but also to forge their own values through these closer relationships, deciding what is important to them as they deal with others, rather than blindly accepting a set and rigid code of belief.
Meditating with the Lovers
The Lovers tarot card is a great choice for any meditation focusing on your relationships (in love, mainly, though it can also be useful for friends and members of your family that you deeply care about). Try to project yourself onto the scene depicted on the card. Move from one of the three characters to the next, and to the last one, each time trying to look at the situation that is bothering you through that person’s eyes.
If there are only two people involved in that situation, when you move to the angel for visualization, try to take a step back and observe the both of you from a neutral point of view, as an invisible observer, and try to see how that might change your perception.
This exercise should help you to better understand the other person’s point of you and help you reach an acceptable compromise to overcome any problem that might have arisen in your relationship. Remember that communication is key.
Philip Young, PhD, is a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. He provides spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing).