The Lovers

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The Lovers (VI) is the sixth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

drawing by Robert M. Place


According to A.E. Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot, the Lovers card carries several divinatory associations[1]:

5. THE LOVERS.--Attraction, love, beauty, trials overcome. Reversed: Failure, foolish designs. Another account speaks of marriage frustrated and contrarieties of all kinds.

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 Rider Waite Tarot deck changed the scene in this card from its traditional depiction of a couple receiving a blessing from a noble, or cleric, to one of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. A common interpretation of this card is that it represents a choice but a more elaborate interpretation would be that it represents an irreversible choice. As Tarot came from the predominantly Catholic cultures of Italy and France, the symbology of a marriage union would have been understood in those countries as an unbreakable bond and irreversible decision. A. E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith may have decided to move with the times and, being based in England which is predominantly Protestant, felt that the traditional symbolism was in need of updating. The Rider Waite card includes the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil with a serpent wrapped around its trunk. The symbology of no return from making bad decisions, and the consequences of innocence lost, would be more widely understood from this imagery.[2]

The Lovers is associated with the star sign Gemini, and indeed is also known as The Twins in some decks. Other associations are with Air, Mercury, and the Hebrew letter ז (Zayin).

The nudity of the figures show they have nothing to hide from each other.[3] Also, the tree of knowledge is behind the woman, whereas the tree behind the man is bearing 12 trefoil flames, representing the signs of the zodiac.[4]


  1. ^ Waite, Arthur Edward, 1857-1942. (2005). The pictorial key to the tarot. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-44255-1. OCLC 57549699.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "The Lovers Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation | Articles at".
  3. ^ Gray, Eden. "Complete Guide to the Tarot." 1982. Crown Publishers, New York, NY.
  4. ^ Gray, Eden. "Complete Guide to the Tarot." 1982. Crown Publishers, New York, NY.

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