The Lovers was for a very long time associated with the idea of love and marriage.
Probably, it is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted Tarot card.
In each case, there is a story behind the significance of the Tarot cards.
In the case of The Lovers, it is the story of Adam, Eve and Lilith.
It is not a story of love and marriage, as erroneously most of the people think, but a story of taking the right decision.
As many Bible, respectively Bible related stories and characters, Lilith has her origins in the Babylonian mythology.
The name ‘Lilith’ derives from the ancient Sumerian word ‘lilītu’ which designate female demons and wind spirits. These demons supposedly dwell in desert lands and are especially dangerous to pregnant women and infants.
Lilith was also associated with sexually frustrated and aggressive women.
In most of her myth, Lilith represents chaos, seduction and ungodliness.
In the Jewish folklore, Lilith appears as Adam’s first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same dirt as Adam.
The word ‘lilit’ only appears once in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Isaiah 34:14. However, her legend developed extensively during the Middle Ages.
One of the most circulated story, based on the work of the 13th-century Algerian Talmudist, Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen, stated that Lilith left Adam because she refused to become subservient to him and after she had coupled with the archangel Samael.
These myths originated the design and the story behind The Lovers card.
Adam at a crossroad compelled to chose between two women: Lilith and Eve.
Obviously, this is an allegorical depiction of a situation. It can be a woman who has to decide between two men. Lilith for instance, choosing between Adam and Samael.
In the Golden Dawn tradition, The Lovers is associated with the zodiac sign Gemini. I think this is also a mistake.
I think the card corresponding to the zodiac sign is The Magician and The Lovers represent the dominant ruling planet of the sign, which is Mercury.
There are no two Tarot cards which represent the same astrological aspect. With only 78 possibilities, there is no point having two cards with same or similar meaning.
As I previously stated, Astrology is Geometry. Each group of Tarot cards represents a specific astrological aspect, and each card has its very specific position and significance on the Zodiac Wheel.
If the card representing the zodiac sign is positioned on the Zodiac Wheel in the domicile, there is no point to have a second card in the same position with similar meaning. In this particular case is The Magician for Gemini, respectively The Lovers for Mercury in Gemini.
After extensive study, I got to the conclusion that the cards representing the planets are, with few arguable exceptions, in Fall, respectively offset at 90° which is called in astrological terminology ‘Square’.
So, The Lovers card represents Mercury in Virgo.
Mercury in Virgo is a very interesting situation. Mercury, an airy planet in Virgo, an earthly sign. Practically any emotional aspect is out of the question, and we have got a strictly rational decision upon a practical matter.
May the card still signify a decision regarding a relationship issue?
Yes, it can, but only if the question is about a relationship issue and the other cards are concluding in the same direction.
(Excerpt from the book “The Unified Esoteric Tarot – General introduction and Guidebook” by Attila Blága. Full or partial use of this text for commercial or non-commercial distribution by any means whatsoever is strictly prohibited unless expressly authorised by the author.)