The Lovers is the sixth of the Major Arcana tarot cards and depicts a man and woman standing naked before an angel who appears to be blessing their meeting. This tarot card represents love in all of its forms: love of self, love of another, and love of the divine. It symbolizes the union of opposing forces and the growth that comes from being in relationship with others.
The Lovers card is associated with the element of air and the zodiacal sign of Gemini, whose symbol is the twins. The Gemini zodiac sign speaks to our fundamental need for communication, reflection, and feedback from one another. This astrological connection draws out the key meaning of this card by emphasizing that we experience growth through forming relationships with others and through integrating opposing aspects of our own psyches. In numerology, the number 6 is associated with harmony, empathy, and stability.
The Lovers Keywords
balancing of opposites, love and relationships, conscious choices
unconscious choices, disharmony in relationship, conflict
Description of the Lovers Tarot Card
The Lovers is card number 6 of the Major Arcana and is the first card in the sequence to depict two individual figures, symbolizing the emergence of the concept of relationship within the tarot. Here we see two human beings as individuals distinct from the group scene illustrated in the preceding card of The Hierophant, which symbolizes moving from group consensus or doctrine into conscious, individual choice.
The classic Rider Waite Smith tarot deck illustration of The Lovers evokes Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In it, the Primordial Woman stands to the left with the tree of knowledge, while Primordial Man stands to the right underneath the tree of life. The card visually depicts the tree of knowledge as an apple tree, while the twelve flames adorning the branches of the tree of life have led some to refer to it as the tree of flames. The man and woman’s absence of clothing emphasizes their raw humanness, vulnerability, and proneness to fallibility, a condition shared by all mortal beings.
The man gazes towards the woman while the woman looks to the angel floating above, symbolizing different aspects of human consciousness (man’s ability to relate to man as well as to the divine). The man and woman represent the duality that exists within all beings: feminine and masculine, logic and emotion, light and shadow, conscious and unconscious, and active and passive principles. The angel seems to be urging these two individuals to find wholeness by integrating the values of the other.
The Lovers Upright Meaning
In the upright position of a tarot card reading, The Lovers indicates balance, harmony, and attraction within a partnership or a romantic relationship. It speaks to a profound, soulmate-like bond with another, which is mutually supportive, and it suggests that what or who you’re committed to is a vehicle for your personal growth. It is associated with deep love, connection, and relationships built on honesty and vulnerability.
The Lovers can also speak to significant turning points in your life that are predicated on making consequential choices. If you are contemplating two paths or options, this card speaks to the importance of contemplating your decision from the perspective of your higher self (represented by the angel) and by making a considered, conscious choice that is supportive of your growth. It often speaks to the need to make a commitment to a person, place, or project in order to continue developing and evolving.
It can also mean that you are working to unite different aspects of your psyche which are in opposition to each other, such as your inner feminine and masculine characteristics or your practical and creative sides. It can represent the emerging awareness of transpersonal archetypes or energies, symbolized by the angel. It can also signify healing wounds related to loss and heartbreak and a growing sense of self-acceptance and self-love.
Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)
The Lovers upright suggests that your relationship with a loved one is supportive, mutually beneficial, and built on deep feelings of love and passion. This healthy relationship is a vessel for your growth and maturity, and the flow of energy is harmonious, balanced, and dynamic. It can also indicate significant meetings and the possibility of forming a deep connection with someone new.
Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)
In the context of a career and finance tarot reading, The Lovers upright suggests that a partnership or collaboration with another is mutually beneficial and will support you in accomplishing your goals and making the right decisions. This card asks you to take your commitments seriously and invest in and nurture relationships with those you work with. These relationships with business partners are the building blocks of your professional and financial success.
Love/relationship upright keywords
Career/finance upright keywords
cooperation, growth through relationship, a passionate union
collaborations, partnerships, growth through relationships
The Lovers Reversed Meaning
The Lovers in the reversed position can point to a feeling of disharmony and imbalance within a relationship or partnership. If there are ongoing miscommunications, it is an encouragement to heal these issues by being completely open, vulnerable, and honest. It is a reminder that conflict is sometimes necessary for growth and can be productive if approached from the position of wanting to learn from it and use its lessons to evolve and grow.
The Lovers reversed can also signal that you are searching for love and acceptance in the eyes of another, which is leading to feelings of greater emptiness. The peace, acceptance, and love that you desire can be found by going within, healing old wounds, and practicing unconditional self-love and acceptance.
If you’re overly identifying with one aspect of yourself—relying on logic over emotion or following a passion but ignoring your practical common sense—The Lovers reversed asks you to come back into balance by integrating the differing needs of these competing forces.
Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)
The Lovers reversed can signify tension in a love relationship due to communication issues, which may be related to intimacy, jealousy, or possessiveness. It can also speak to relationships that challenge you to grow by confronting your shadow. If you are feeling frustrated or triggered by the behavior of another, this card asks you to examine the situation from the perspective of the angel (with detachment) and consider if there are any lessons to be learned from this challenging dynamic.
At times, The Lovers reversed points to the severing of a connection and the associated feelings of heartbreak. This can appear as a reminder that these feelings can be fuel for your spiritual growth, as it’s through the experience of loss that you come to know your strength more deeply. If you’re feeling hesitant to make a commitment or tempted to let go, this card asks if you’re approaching this new relationship from a place of fear based on old wounds.
Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)
The Lovers reversed suggests that a professional partnership or collaboration is suffering because of a misalignment of values or personal belief systems, an imbalanced allocation of the workload, or because of miscommunications. It asks you to consider if you and your partner are on the same page about major decisions and, if not, to cultivate a more open and honest dialogue around your goals.
You could be at a standstill in your work because your logical mind is at odds with your emotional desires, or you’re pursuing a passion at the expense of rational considerations. If you’re ignoring the wisdom of one of these needs, this card suggests that you can come to a place of balance and clarity when you act from a place that honors both sides of yourself.
Love/relationships reversed keywords
Money/career reversed keywords
loss, conflict within a relationship, jealousy or possessiveness, fear of commitment
miscommunications, imbalanced collaboration, head and heart are not aligned