Arcanum VI “The Lovers”

An artist’s impression of the Grail Knight Sir Gawain meeting his ladylove


Esoteric Titles:
The Children of God
The Divine Utterance
The Word of the Faithful
The Universal Brotherhood

As already mentioned above the appearance of two figures under the tutelage or dominion of some archetypal influence or control is repeated in Arcanum 5 The High Priest and Arcanum 15 The Devil, this is more than mere coincidence or random symbolic association. The card depicts two naked figures with an angel or cherub of erotic propensity hidden in its foliage in a landscape where the slopes of the Holy Mountain, (in Buddhist iconography it is called Mt Meru) rise to its snowy peaks. Behind the male and female figures are the World Tree and around its trunk lies the sleeping serpent Kundalini while in its branches are the fruits of former civilisations whether material, ethical or philosophical. A sword, the iconic image of the Hebrew letter Zain, is euphemistically a phallus or Snake who bestowed the knowledge of Good & Evil. The image denotes the principles of Platonism and the common concerns of those who seek affiliation through reciprocal ideas, beliefs, and values. Whereas the unifying principle in Trump 5 is religious affinity and that of Trump 15 sexual passion or desire the One added to the previous card to give six represents the interlocking Seal of Solomon or six-pointed star (hexagram).

This arcane symbol is often used to illustrate the esoteric arrangement of the minor planets Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus & Mercury and the mutual interaction of Earth and Water or Fire and Air. The number six traditionally refers specifically to the planet Venus which is the natural ruler of Gemini – the usual astrological significance of the card. It typifies the subtle influence of esoteric knowledge embodied in the subconscious and how this has the power to alter out-moded conventions and beliefs. The figures are in actual fact “twin-souls” or two people who have an affinity which is mutually rewarding and fulfilling, as is the planetary influence of the Sun and Moon. Here human sexuality is polarised and the attraction/repulsion principle expressed by the accomplice of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, Eros endorses a union based on an understanding of positive and negative forces. Each person possesses masculine and feminine traits. The obvious temptation faced here is to forget the demise of the Original Divine Couple (Adam & Eve) who fell from Grace who decided to fulfil their material needs instead of their spiritual aspirations.

The Lovers, Romeo & Juliet, “Romancing the Rose”

One of Shakespeare’s most popular and well-known plays that corresponds closely to Tarot trump #6, the Lovers for a variety of reasons. The play is actually an allegory of the Wars of the Roses hence its esoteric title “Romancing the Rose” which ended with the marriage of the Lancastrian King Henry VIIth to Elizabeth of York. The marriage was supposed to resolve the long-held conflicts between the House of Lancaster and the House of York both descendants in lineage of Edward IIIrd, the founding father of the Grail Knights of the Garter. However, the dramatic allegory alludes to the two Italian warring families of Montague and Capulet suggesting the House of York in relation to the House of Lancaster and the plot ends with the unfortunate “star-crossed lover’s” death of both “Romeo and Juliet”. In a previous article I have examined the symbolic and astrological as well as alpha-numerological inferences contained in “Romeo & Juliet” (See “But Oh! What’s in a Name?” and “A Rose by Any Other Name”) in particular the use of the word ‘rosemary’. The other Shakespeare play to involve unrequited love in the narrative and plot is “Troillus & Cressida” who similarly die due to an unforeseen misunderstanding. However, Shakespeare explores all the different aspects of love in the majority of his plays including filial love (“Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “Two Noble Kinsmen”), judicial or material love in “The Merchant of Venice”, and the force of jealousy in “Othello”. Shakespeare’s notable lost play “Love’s Labours Won” (mentioned by Frances Meres in his Palladis Tamia, 1598) could have been an earlier version or a complementary re-write of “Love’s Labours Lost”. The word “LOVE” is used a 154 times in “Romeo & Juliet” which is synonymous with the number of verses contained in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and over half the time (87) by the two lovers themselves. Juliet says it 35 times and Romeo 52-but 16 of his usages have Rosaline, his first infatuation, in his mind and when they first meet the use of the word is equally balanced in the opening scene. It would appear that the untimely and joint suicidal death of two lovers, for whatever reason was a popular theme for a number of Shakespeare’s plays, eg: “Anthony & Cleopatra”. The character of Friar Laurence acts as an intermediary and advisor to Romeo and therefore corresponds with Arcanum 5, “The High Priest”, the subject of my previous article in this series.

The word “SWORD” appears several times in the play “Romeo & Juliet”, for example:

“Part, fools! Put up your swords; you know not what you do.”
Beats down their swords
“I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.”

“What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho!”

Lady Capulet:
A crutch, a crutch! why call you for a sword?

“My sword, I say! Old Montague is come,
And flourishes his blade in spite of me.”

“Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.”

(Impartial Mediation on Matters)

The Lovers are either ambiguous or uncertain about their feelings for each other. The two are one and anyone is in reality two, but as the mischievous Eros is about to draw his bow, then no doubt Psyche being aroused will become spellbound. But if all goes well then the sublime compromise of Pallas-Athene will win the day.

Hebrew Single Letter ZAIN A sword, weapon, blade, hilt of a sword, any implement of war, to equip, putting on armour, decoration.

“To everything two sides, we know two heads are better than one, but two wrongs won’t make a right.”
“They say that two’s company and three’s a crowd. It takes two to make a vow and two to tango through the night” – Anon

Divinatory Meaning of this Card:

Positive: A decision/spiritual test, altruistic alliance or partnership, intuitive choice. Inner harmony. Union of inner ideals and outer objectives.

Negative: Conflicts between spiritual and carnal love, conflicting possibilities or inner struggle to make the correct decision. Passion/Possession.

SPHERE 7 Netzach (Victory) Occultism Zain – A Sword
Astrological: Virgo or the 6th House.
Constellation: Volans – The Flying Fish
Sacred Gemstone: Rose Quartz or Citrine

The next Arcanum in this series can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

“Arcanum VI, The Chariot”

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The links to my publications 
“Shakespeare’s Qaballah”,
a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry,