The Lovers

Number: 6 | Element: AIR | Planet: MERCURY | Zodiac: GEMINI

Upright: Choices, Harmony, Union
Reversed: Egotism, Detachment, Bad Choices


Unchained from The Pope’s restrictions, the Seeker is finally free to explore his/her emotions. It is time to develop relationships with other people and enjoy the pleasures of emotional life.

A sexual energy and magnetism bond the three main characters together. It is curious to observe how the three characters are differently depicted: a naked winged woman, a crowned man with a cloak on his waist, and a fully dressed maiden sitting in a forest. These differences in the garments lead us to understand the various pleasures and emotions we can obtain from others and ourselves, regardless of our status or distinctions. The three figures are in a harmonious landscape that resembles a garden of Eden. A winged cherub hides in the heavy curtain and aims his bow to the masculine figure, just like Amor does to his love “victims”. The pleasure of the senses and sexual allure takes us away from isolation. It pushes us to develop vital relationships with other people and open the door to love, giving a greater meaning and significance to our lives.

The attraction and desire present in The Lovers converge into a union of opposites, a harmonious fusion of the sacred and profane, of light and dark, active with passive, etc. Love is universally considered to be the most powerful of emotions, capable of great transformations. It can end conflict, rebuild what was once destroyed and beckon forgiveness. 

In fact, many contemporary tarot practitioners define a romantic indicator to The Lovers’ card. 

However, in traditional interpretations, the card is not about romantic or sexual pursuits, but about choosing a path or the primordial responsibility to choose ethically, or the dilemma. That is the main theme of this card.

The Lovers represent the power of self-knowledge and the necessity to be accountable for our own paths of life: our choices, decisions, and their outcomes. Love entails sacrifice and abnegation, so only the brave dare to love in a whole transformative way. 

In general, The Lovers represents balance; and the whole scene of a man between two women illustrates the choices we need to make and their consequences. Both women stare at us, but the young prince looks away, pondering what he should do. Mythologically speaking, the story of Hercules at the crossroads comes to mind. In it, we learn that Hercules meets two women that were female personifications of Virtue and Vice. They offered him a choice between two paths: one to an easy and pleasant life, or the other to a harsher but glorious one.

One of the most important features of this card is the element of choice, the dilemma. This is implied even in the earliest representations of the card because lovers have chosen each other. Despite the sexual nature of this card, you must not assume that it is indubitably about love or marriage. It may relate to any aspect of our lives: a decision to be made, a sacrifice we must endure or when we are faced with a difficult choice.

Upright Meaning and Interpretation

Choices, Harmony, Union.

The Lovers is linked to the major choices you need to make.

Usually when we face these kinds of dilemmas, we are tempted to run away from them. The more you dawdle, the more it consumes you and it may affect people close to you. For that reason, this card advises you to trust yourself, to study each situation or option and act. Do not follow the easier path, for it normally leads to more dilemmas and consternation. The Lovers is about difficult choices and the sacrifices we must undertake.

Every choice has a consequence, though you will never know if it is favourable or not until you finally reach a decision. In any case, this is an optimistic card, so it may give you the encouragement you need towards a resolution.

The Lovers’ card also represents emotional life, and, in this case, it is a positive sign indicating that harmony and balance will come to you soon.

Likewise, this can be a good time to start a business partnership or to meet people. The Lovers signals a great connection and mutual understanding in love affairs. 

Reversed Meaning and Interpretation

Egotism, Detachment, Bad Choices.

When this card shows up inverted it could mean that you and your partner (be it love or business related) are not synchronised and feelings are not mutual. That might lead to insecurity and disappointment that could jeopardise the relationship or project.

If you are not feeling comfortable with the situation, you probably need to have an honest conversation with your partner to decide what is best right now.

This card, in reverse, implies selfishness and self-love, too, not only from others but especially from yourself. Be ready to give as much as you take: balance your emotional life.

Another typical feature of the reversed Lovers is the fact that you have chosen poorly and impulsively, and you may feel its consequences soon. Try to stop and revise these issues before you take any important decision, otherwise it may drive you into inner conflicts.