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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Love in July!

Instead of celebrating "Christmas in July" like a lot of retailers do, I decided to celebrate Valentine's Day in July! The following post by Helen Howell first appeared on Tarot Notes on February 15, 2009. Helen has graciously given me permission to share it again today. Enjoy!

Love Is In the Air - The Lovers & Two of Cups
by Helen Howell

I've been thinking about both these cards just recently, and what they share in common but also how they may differ. Both of course are about love, but what about love? Starting with The Lovers, let's have a look at what its message could be.

A common astrological association for this card is Gemini, a sign that is represented by the Twins and symbolises duality and what possibilities that creates.

I think it only right to start off with a Marseilles type Lovers card, so this illustration is from my Fournier deck. As we can see here, the man is between two women. One is fair and younger, the other darker and older. Does he have a choice to make? Is this where the concept of choices comes into the lovers card?

The fair haired woman is younger, less experienced, more pure, virtuous. Blond being considered a light colour perhaps leans towards the light and the spiritual. The dark haired woman is older, more experienced perhaps, making her fascinating, leaning towards the dark and the baser/physical instinct.

The choices aspect of this card therefore is between vice and virtue. I notice how he is looking towards the darker woman. Cupid is above them ready to shoot his arrow. Perhaps in love one really does not choose, or at least choose wisely! Can he stop Cupid from actually shooting that arrow? Love often hits when we least expect it, whether we choose it or not...

The next card is the Rider Waite because that brings us into the slightly more modern interpretation of this card. In this illustration we see Adam and Eve - both naked - standing in front of the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge. The Cupid in this card has been replaced by an Angel who seems to be sending a blessing down to the couple. The man looks at the woman and the woman looks at the Angel. This could be seen as the masculine and feminine energies coming together with the higher self in order to complete the balance.

This card does seem to be about commitment within a relationship and about reconciliation of opposites in order for them to function as one. The Waite card does speak, I think, primarily of love more than choice. Although with the suggestion of Adam and Eve, it could also symbolise love but not without some difficulty to go through.

My next choice for the Lovers is the Victorian Romantic Card 2. This card seems to me to illustrate all facets of The Lovers card. As we see from the image, a mermaid and a man embrace passionately, she still in the water and he still on land.

Here we have the perfect example of how "love is blind" as to not see the difficulties that the relationship could create. Also we see her tail becoming legs. There are two ways to look at this, going with the "love is blind" aspect first, does this also illustrate to us how when in love we create illusions about the possibilities within the relationship?

Now the choices aspect of this card also jumps out to me. Again her tail is turning to legs. Is she ready to make the choice that will commit her to a different way of life? The choice in this relationship can be life changing.

Then there is the commitment aspect of the card where one can be so devoted to another that they are prepared to make it work even against all odds. The sexuality aspect of the lovers is evident in the VR card.

The last Lovers card is my own from Tarot Bella: Two people stand by the light of the full Moon which represents fulfilment. The Moon lights in its path a sign post bearing different choices that can be made.

The couple hold each other showing that embracing love can lead to fulfilment in life and personal growth through relationships. However, our Lovers know that in making a choice something else has to be given up, and that they cannot follow all directions on the sign post. So the one important lesson The Lovers shows us is to consider what is of real importance and not be led by the superficial.

I think therefore that the Lovers card is about choice and about love. I also think it is about reconciliation of opposites or dualities whether it be with another person or within oneself.

On to the Two of Cups:

I am starting with the Hanson Roberts card. It's such a sweet card and shows a young couple with heads bent together, but their cups are not quite touching. We see the caduceus, the staff of Hermes, two snakes coiled around it - just like in the Rider Waite deck. From the bottom of this staff comes a bright white light that not only goes through the gap in the cups, but also spreads out to touch each of the figures, around about where their heart would be. At the top of the staff we see a lion's head. In Rachel Pollock's book Tarot Wisdom she tells us that this is an alchemical symbol of transformation. So a clear message is given here then of "love transforms."

The snakes of course could represent two energies coming together and in the form of a caduceus they can also be associated with healing. Therefore it becomes a symbol of love heals, or perhaps a message that says you can heal from a failed relationship.

The two cups also represent balance and harmony along with co-operation and compromise, and if already in a relationship this is what this card could well be suggesting.

It is a card that does seem, in its symbolism, to signify bringing two opposites together and the likelihood of something new.

So what is the major difference between The Lovers and The Two of Cups then?

From what I can see the Lovers is more about a relationship that may already be formed, whereas the Two of Cups does seem to indicate a new relationship.

Whichever of these cards turns up, be prepared because more often than not, "Love Is In The Air!"

Deck Credits:

The Lovers
Le Tarot De Marseille Fournier - Naipes Heraclio Fournier, S.A.
Original RIder Waite - Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Victorian Romantic - Published by Magic Realist Press, Prague
Tarot Bella – Unfinished deck - Helen Howell

Two of Cups
Hanson Roberts - Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Napo - Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Old English - Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


  1. Before I read Helen's interpretation of the Marseilles type Lovers card, I attempted my own. What I saw was an arrangement—the young man has asked the older woman, the mother in my interpretation, for the younger woman's hand in marriage. He's barefoot, perhaps indicating a lower economic status, and gesturing toward the younger woman. The younger woman's arms are crossed, suggesting she's not sure about this… but Cupid hovers above, and his arrow is aimed between them (ready to join them?). The older woman has her hand on the young man's shoulder, perhaps approving the match, or maybe getting ready to push him away.

  2. That's a very thoughtful interpretation Larry - I liked it a lot. ^_^

  3. hi does anyone know what the last card means with the 2 gold cups and the lady at the bottom holding an instrument?

  4. Hi Sekhet, if you look at the card and analyse the elements within it you will see the two cups perfectly balanced within the image. The figure stands and I think plays a lute, the music may well symbolise for us here harmony. Therefore we have harmony and balance within the symbolism of this card. Another element of the symbolism is that the two cups sit opposite each other and again the lute player contributes the harmony aspect, signifying bringing two opposites together in perfect balance.

    So as you can see this card has the element within it of the other cards used to illustrate the meaning of the two of cups particularly paying attention to two opposites coming together in balance and harmony.

    The LWB for this deck says:
    Positive: Love, friendship, partnership, marriage, passion.
    Reversed: False friendship, separation, crossed desires, misunderstanding.
    Hope that helps.


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~ Zanna