Thursday 1 June 2017

Gemini in the Major Arcana: The Lovers

Today let’s look at the tarot card from the Major Arcana that’s traditionally (well, in the tradition I follow!) associated with Gemini - The Lovers.

Although many people connect The Lovers to romantic love – the sign of a new relationship, perhaps – I see this card being wider-ranging.  Following on from cards that can represent Mother (Empress), Father (Emperor), and Education (Hierophant), the Lovers, in these terms, could suggest the teenage years, when we start to make our own choices – often beginning with what, or who, we are attracted to.  So yes, it can be about love and affairs of the heart, but it’s more about reminding us that we always have a choice.

The Lovers (trimmed):
© Universal Rider-Waite Tarot
The Gemini glyph symbolizes the idea of duality and opposites that we all contain – masculine and feminine, yin and yang, light and dark, however you choose (!) to name them. 

There are many versions of The Lovers. The most familiar, perhaps, is that of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Here we have the young man and woman being blessed by an angel, with a serpent behind the woman and the Trees of Life and Knowledge in the background.  Here, love becomes the path to wisdom, with the man representing the conscious mind and the woman the unconscious.  Both need to be brought together, or ‘married’, through love.

The Lovers (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot

The Shadowscapes’ version follows this tradition, in that its Lovers card depicts a couple. No angel, though...just a giant sun overhead. The choice is symbolized by turtledoves (innocence) and a red apple around which is wrapped a snake (Garden of Eden reference, perhaps?!), representing temptation, as well as the calla lily (purity) and the rose (‘lush and sensual complexity’, says the LWB). Purity/youth and passion/maturity, say.

The Lovers (trimmed):
© Druid Craft Tarot
In the Druid Craft Tarot’s Lovers, we see the young couple together, having chosen to unite. The transformation (remember, Gemini is a mutable sign) resulting from their choice is represented by the winged orphic egg and the serpent coiled around it, carved into the rock beneath them.

The Lovers (trimmed):
©Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
Other versions of this card show a young man standing between two women, with Cupid about to shoot an arrow in his direction. Juliet Sharman-Burke has followed this tradition in her Beginner's Guide to the Tarot. Each woman represents something different (youth/purity and maturity/experience). By making that choice, by electing to commit to one person, idea, thing, way of life – whatever it is – we need to be aware of the potential consequences or ramifications of that decision.

The Lovers (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot

The idea of the marriage of conscious and unconscious is depicted in the image in the Thoth deck. We see the marriage of the Empress and Emperor, presided over by the Hermit. The Hermit is associated with Virgo, the other sign ruled by Mercury – and, if you recall the mythology of the Gemini twins, perhaps symbolizing the ‘earth-bound’ twin. The duality of Gemini appears over and over again in this image; we all contain, as individuals, these opposites – the yin and yang, the masculine and feminine, however you choose (!) to name them. Here we see the opposites ready to be united, choosing to be united, choosing to make that connection. The transformation (remember, Gemini is a mutable sign) though the ‘wedding’ (alchemical, perhaps) is represented by the winged orphic egg and the serpent coiled around it. Through this, we become whole.

Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections

DruidCraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections

Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn

Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris. Published by US Games Systems Inc.

Universal Waite Tarot created by Mary Hanson-Roberts & Pamela Colman-Smith, published by US Games Systems, Inc.

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