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.
Traditional meanings associated with the Lovers card
The meaning of the Lovers tarot 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.
Upright: Love, attraction, beauty, obstacles to overcome, and challenges in communication.
Reversed: Foolish behavior, unfaithfulness, failed marriage, and arguments.
Upright lovers tarot card meaning
Traditionally there are three characters depicted on the lovers tarot 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 tarot card, you can also see somewhere a depiction of a tree, meant to represent the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, turning this major arcana into a modern description 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 in indeed romantic love, attraction, and even beauty. This is not the formal commitment like 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 with 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.
Reversed Lovers card meaning
The most obvious reversed meaning of the lovers tarot card is the end of a relationship. More often than not, the source of such a break up is 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 tarot card appears reversed in a reading
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.
The Lovers in love tarot
While a neophyte might be happy to see the lovers tarot card appear in a love-based reading, the truth is that it might be the least meaningful card in such a reading, out of context. Even more so than in other readings, you need to pay particular attention to the cards that come before and after in order to understand its message.
In a love tarot reading, drawing the lovers tarot card is usually a call for attention, a way to focus the reading onto the most important aspects that should be kept in mind. More often than not, it will offer a clue to the best way to deal with any and all relationship problems that might arise during the session.
The presence of the angel, while not part of the lovers couple, nonetheless creates a triangle of character that might hint at some extramarital affair, especially if the lovers tarot card is surrounded with other arcana meaning lies or deception, like the moon or the devil.
The Lovers as a focus for meditation
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.