Placement: The Major Arcana
Description: The Lovers is one of the most recognizable cards in Tarot, and yet its design is far from consistent. In the earliest found decks, a man and a woman hold hands while a young Cupid floats above, aiming his bow. Other early decks show a couple at the altar for their wedding. Versions from the Marseille decks (such as the card in the featured image above) show a suitor caught between two potential mates. Others depict Adam and Eve in the Garden before the fall, watched over by an angel. Many recently published decks thankfully depict non-hetero couples, because all love should be celebrated, except for that of the praying mantis, wasp spider, sea slug and a carnivorous marsupial called the quoll, whose courtship ought to be avoided at all costs.
Right side up:
Star-crossed lovers. Never, ever cross a star. The gravity of those celestial bodies will crush you into naught but a burning smear of meat grease. Thus the synonym for infatuation: crush. Let us never again employ the term “meat grease” in context with the deeds of romance.
The Lovers upright pertains to positive relationships and communication. This is an authentic love. Consistent despite the inevitable interruptions of life. Sincere, selfless, even self-sacrificial. Another theme is the dualism of the self and making choices that reflect your innermost desires, but this interpretation applies to every Two in the Minor and Negligible Arcana, and half the Cups cards. In any case, you must choose wisely. A third of all murders are between romantic partners.
Your love has soured. You cannot communicate. The honeymoon has set and left honey all over the counter. Your feelings do not fade but rather twist into the destructive force of jealousy and possessiveness. Your identity, your interests, your sense of curiosity, even your integrity have been trampled by the ravenous star-crossing monstrosity that is your love.
Classic The Lovers deaths:
- Taking a bullet to protect your partner
- Taking a bullet belonging to your partner
- Haunted by the angry ghost of your partner
- Cupid’s target practice fiasco
- Wishing you knew how to quit them
- Falling head over heels and landing
- Biting your thumb in Verona
- Snapping your fingers in West Side gangland
- Doing anything for love (including that)
- Undone, smitten, slain
- Literal heartbreak
- A literal apple in your literal eye
- Falling into a burning ring of fire
- You feel the love tonight, in the jaws of a protein-deprived lion with crippling father issues
- There’s nothing you can do, a total eclipse of the heart
- Climbing into bed together and never, ever leaving
- Whatever Danny Delaire plans to do to the villain who kidnapped her darling Anais Herschel