But let’s face it folks, not all of us make choices based on our inner desires. The imagery in the reversed The Lovers and The Lover share many of the key indicators of unwise choices and decisions.
In both The Lovers and The Lover the Sun features strongly as a symbol of new and successful beginnings; the yellow-gold symbolises a loving benefactor, wealth, power and vibrant health. It is the colour of the Solar Plexus or the 3rd Chakra and energy-centre of the body; it represents emotional intelligence, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-authority. Reversed, The Lovers card shows the golden-yellow threatening to disappear from view; the setting sun might perhaps leave the two figures standing in darkness. Similarly, the sun in The Lover now appears in the lower part of the card and its beautiful rays of gold, red (passion and earthy-energy) and blue (truthful and noble communications) are ill-defined. Gold-yellow when ill-defined is a sign of pessimism and superficiality; weakening the chances for new beginnings and victory.
The heavenly figures of compassion and patronage hang upside-down and appear to be exiting the picture; why should they hang around when they are not being seen or heard? In The Lovers the Archangel’s head of flaming red and green hair and his great orange-red wings and hands are spread out as one who is falling – head first - from a great height. His great, purple-grey cloak becomes a confusing maze of fabric that hides him from the woman and man’s sight.
Having now risen above their angelic guardian, their heads are covered with a dense, grey fog which suggests that the two are emotionally confused. The man and woman appear ungrounded as their feet hardly touch the earth and hands and arms gesture with a sense of uncertainty. The woman’s hand motions to the tip of the large, brown mountain as it now dominates the upper part of this image. While a mountain signifies obstacles, the colour brown symbolises material security and the accumulation of material possessions. Brown, ill-defined, can signify hidden emotions and effectively hiding your true nature. The mountain apex points directly at the grey fog maybe suggesting the nature of the issue that now splits the male and female. The mountain penetrates the pale blue sky; the colour of the 5th Chakra that represents speaking your truth.
In The Lover, poor little Cupid’s wings cannot keep him upright. His chubby little legs flail around above his body as his head nods too close to the ground.
Cupid’s legendary aim now appears unsteady and the pulled bow looks as if it could backfire. The male figure looks trapped between the two female bodies. The robes of the women clearly indicate contrasting beliefs; (blue over red and red over blue). An ‘ill-defined’ deep-blue colour indicates lack of integrity and trustworthiness; while ‘ill-defined’ red can stand for anger, aggression and even hatred. The man’s feet have risen to the top of the picture with each one turned in the direction of the women. Bare feet can symbolise fear of poverty and a loss of livelihood; perhaps grounds for his indecisiveness. The mound of earth pushes downwards, giving him less space ‘to move’. The older woman appears larger and more dominant than all the other figures. While she tightens her grasp on the man’s shoulder, the younger woman’s white arms appear to flap about in chaos; she appears to have completely lost her grip.
What would be my interpretation of The Lovers and The Lover in Reverse? It is, perhaps, not to ‘let the sun set’ on what is truly important to you. Overcome obvious obstacles and do not be persuaded against the thing(s) that you are passionate about. Use the empowering energy of your 3rd Chakra and go with your gut instincts to help you to make joyful decisions about your own life. Consider your higher guidance as a unique and powerful source of inspiration, whatever image that might take. Trusting the validity of your intuition is an essential part of the journey to success.
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Upright, The Lovers and The Lover indicate qualities important to making well-balanced choices and decisions. In the Major Arcana The Lovers VI and The Lover VI relate to making choices that reflect our deepest yearnings; who and what to love. We can be passionate about a course of learning or study; a vocation or avocation; about relationships and/or people; travel; settling down; or our health and well-being. Situations that arise from what we choose to devote ourselves to are almost limitless.
In The Lovers VI an Archangel with huge, red-orange wings is positioned before an intense golden-yellow sun. The Angel and Sun give us a clear signal that divine inspiration, guidance from our higher self, is foremost when making decisions about our true needs. The Angel is an expression of the blessings, love, joy and protection we feel when choices are made in harmony with our heartfelt wishes.
Below the Angel we see a man and a woman who also symbolise the feminine and masculine qualities, common to everyone. The woman looks directly at the Archangel for insightful advice. The man looks to the woman perhaps seeking to bond with her; or with his own feminine intuition. The man and woman stand with their feet placed firmly on the ground; they are uncovered and their open body language indicates they are ready to receive guidance. They physically mirror each other giving a sense of unison and agreement. The mature trees behind each figure provide balance, complementarity and structure and at the same time emphasising the important differences between them; the woman’s earthy abundance and fertility and the man’s burning passion. The mountain is in the far distance; a divisive obstacle or challenge which the two have overcome together.
In The Lover we see Cupid, a mythical symbol of love and union hovering high in the sky with his bow and arrow pulled and poised; the arrow ready to pierce the heart of the lover.
Cupid also, is framed by magnificent and radiant Sun to indicate his power and success in matters of mortal love and romance. Just below him, a young man and woman appear to be in animated discussion with an older woman. The young woman is devoted (predominantly deep-blue cape) and her intention is pure (white sleeves); her body-language suggests that she is making her own desires known and understood. The older woman’s facial expression indicates disapproval; and her hand on the man’s shoulder indicates her influence over him. All three figures (the male and two females) remain connected through touch. Even while man’s torso moves in the direction of the young woman, his body leans into the older woman. And, his feet indicate some ambivalence; each foot points towards one of the women showing he has an important decision to make.
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Reading tarot for others (and occasionally myself) is exciting, inspiring and very gratifying.