Rather than start at the beginning, let’s jump right into the deep end of the Kabbalistic Tarot. In truth, all Tarot based on the four suits of the Minor Arcana and the 22 Trumps of the Major Arcana can be called Kabbalistc because the number of cards, their numerical values, correspondences, graphic symbolism, and their meaning are all rooted in the Kabbalah. Most well known as a Jewish mystic tradition, the Kabbalah has marked the ancient mystic traditions of nearly every culture in the world. It has been said that the Kabbalah is actually older than our species, and that we had it with us when we first made our appearance on this planet. Whatever ideas you may have about this system, you must know that it is very old, and for many it has been a powerful tool to understanding life, creation, and our own nature.
But, this is not a conversation about the Kabbalah as a system, it IS a conversation about The Lovers. On the surface, the lovers are often associated with relationships, desire, lust, and sex. Before you continue with that line of thinking, it is important to understand that this card or “path” is placed far up near the top of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, far removed from physical reality, and even further, beyond even the realm of the personality. This card crosses “The Abyss” between the world we as humans can know, and that which is beyond our comprehension. Yes, we can achieve expansive experiences in relationships and with sex, but that is not what this specific card is actually about. This card is beyond the body and the physical experiences. The Lovers are a diagram of the nature and experience of the enlightened mind.
What is the message of The Lovers?
Symbolically, we see four main characters: the Angel, the Woman, the Man, and the Snake. We also see the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil from the Book of Genesis, and we see a tree in flames. Above is a radiant sun, and below is a single mountain peak. There are endless ways to interpret these important symbols… each has multiple layers of significance. What I want to focus on here is the specific process this card in it’s entirety is describing… the true nature of the mind.
The Angel represents the realm of Spirit, or the infinite aspect of ourselves. Carl Jung (an initiate and Kabbalist) called this aspect the “Super Conscious”. This is the part of us that is connected directly with the essence of all things, sharing in a universal experience. It knows what the divine plan is, and it understands its nature and its place in the universe. As we exist here in our physical bodies, we are largely disconnected from this direct experience, so we mostly get vague and fleeting impressions, as if through a veil as depicted by the cloudy wisps under the Angel. The Angel’s hands are held apart over the male and female figures, showing the necessity of the separation of the genders. To be clear, the Lovers in their nakedness are not about the physical sex organs of individual humans, but the masculine and feminine aspects that each of us contains to varying degrees. They are naked because they are here existing in their highest state, closest to the higher powers, just before learning about the existence of evil (though evil is there in serpent form, ready to whisper into the ear of our “Eve” if it can manage to get her attention).
The woman is on our left, or the receptive side. Her gaze is lifted upward toward the Angel. The feminine aspect represents our conscious awareness, or the part of us that is self aware and awake in the world. By looking up toward the angel, she is keeping her focus on the potential of what she could be rather than the minutia of what there is around her. The Lovers tell us that it is the role of the conscious mind (or our feminine nature) to desire that which we are striving to become. The man is on the right, or the active side. His gaze is toward the feminine/conscious aspect, and he represents the subconscious mind. It is his job to observe the conscious desire to grow, and to provide the opportunities for this growth to take place. This is the true and balanced mind. The Spirit is. The conscious mind desires to be, and the subconscious facilitates the becoming.
This is contrary to what many of us have been told in school and in our families growing up. We are taught to use our conscious minds to problem solve. We analyze the limited perspective we can see with our two tiny eyes, hear with our two tiny ears, and touch with our hands that are so easily fooled or prevented from feeling from fear of pain. Then we define all options, create a formula to weigh out the potentials, and then we commit to a path, eliminating all other possibilities. This is the “safe” and the “secure” way to move forward. There is truth to this on a certain level of existence. The more advanced mind abandons this method for the higher state of becoming aware of what could be and using the conscious mind to desire this outcome intensely. This is not the same thing as attachment to an outcome. This is a passion for becoming something more without limiting the opportunities for how we get there. All the while and without any of our conscious attention, the subconscious is listening and learning. He gathers far more information than our limited awareness can hold and sorts it, literally creating opportunities where none existed before by synthesizing circumstance. So much potential is swirling around us and the subconscious mind brings the best opportunity to the front and sets this path before our feet. The conscious mind can then step forward without ever shifting her gaze of desire away from the higher potential. This is the truth of how we are designed to create and to move through this world.
Thank you Lovers for sharing this very important message with us who seek your wisdom. Is there anything The Lovers would like to add? Yes, but we will need a little help from our friends: Death, Temperance, and The Devil.
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Ready for part 2 of this series? You can find it here:
Advanced Kabbalistic Tarot: The Lovers (part 2)
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