Tarot Meditation: The Lovers

Posted: December 10, 2015 in Tarot

RWS_Tarot_06_LoversI’ll prefix anything I put here with the acknowledgment that I’m writing this whilst slightly droppy, so may not be my usual cheery self. I’ll be fine, just, y’know, may have other thoughts on this card later.

So, The Lovers, everyone knows this. That’s the card with a naked man and woman right. Yeah… about that. Nobody ever seems to quite recall the third figure looming over the pair of them and taking over a huge chunk of the space on this card. You know, the giant red-winged angel with the sun glaring down above his head. The angelic figure has hair that suggests both flames and leaves, which is important, see below. Also, in my card, the angel’s hands appear bloody, but this could be cheap printing and run-off from the wings.

Moving down to the figures themselves, the woman stands in front of a tree full of leaves and red fruit. A snake coils around it, immediately evoking the garden of Eden myth. The man also stands in front of a tree except this tree has black trunk and branches and is quite clearly on fire. This could symbolise a lot but the most obvious being the inherently destructive and dangerous potential of the masculine, and the feminine symbolising nature, bounty, fertility and the potential to get your hand bitten by poisonous reptiles.

I think the thing I like most about this card is that, despite the title, the figures are not drawn in an overtly sexual way. The man’s pecs and penis are a little clumsy and if you were to swap these and perhaps the hair the body shape of both is very similar; no ridiculous man flesh or womanly curves. I guess it’s also notable that these are the first figures we’ve seen without clothes and it’s almost surprising to look back and see all the other figures fully clad.

I could go off on one about the oversimplification of reducing things to a masculine/feminine polarity and the supremely creepy idea that two lovers necessarily requires the involvement of a divine third-party. Instead I’ll simply add that the presence of a naked man and woman evokes, more than anything else, the image of witchcraft being performed skyclad.

Oh, and I think the mountain in the background might be meant to be a willy.

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