In the Lovers Key 6 we find all three of the characters represented. Archangel Raphael is representative of superconsciousness and thus related to the Fool. The man is Adam but he is also the Magician and portrays the self-conscious plane of mental activity. The woman at the left is Eve and also the High Priestess and the Empress and is representative of sub-consciousness. In the prior Keys we’ve discussed each of these characters individually and here we’ll see how they interact on this card.
First let’s cover a few of the general attributes of Key 6. The Hebrew letter for this card is Zain, value 7, which means sword. Note the small sword in the lower right hand corner of the card. A sword is an instrument of cleavage, something that is capable of making sharp divisions. This refers to a human faculty that the Hindus call Buddhi. It is the discriminative faculty, the power to perceive differences.
This power is at the root of self-consciousness, since it is only with the self-conscious mind that things are perceived as many apparently unrelated parts rather than as a single unity. Buddhi is the power that makes things and conditions seem to be real in and by themselves. Yet these seeming realities are but reflections of the One Reality in the universal sub-consciousness.This power of being able to perceive differences, that is, to create illusions, is a fundamental necessity in order that individual self-consciousness may be manifested.
Manifestation is simply the way the One Identity appears to itself, and the instrument of its self-perception is that which is the faculty of self-consciousness in man. In the Book of Tokens it is stated, “For the sake of creation the One Life that I am seemeth to divide itself, becoming Two.”
The function of this card is discrimination and discrimination becomes most valuable to man when he uses it to perceive the difference between the real and the unreal. As long as he is a slave to appearances, he perceives unreality. When he awakens from the dream of sense to the inner knowledge of his true nature, he begins to understand reality. Tarot pictures reality in terms that sub-consciousness understands.
The number 6 means reciprocation – the act of giving and receiving mutually. Thus I’ve discussed discrimination prior to that of reciprocation. Reciprocation is a relationship between distinct and separate entities. To be understood here, it is the relationship existing between the self-conscious and sub-conscious phases of mental activity. The self-conscious mind gives suggestions that the sub-consciousness receives, works out, and gives back to self-consciousness. In addition, reciprocation is also the relationship between superconsciousness and the human personality, when the latter is considered to be the combination of the two poles of personal mentality, self-consciousness and sub-consciousness.
Remember, self-consciousness is not the Self. The true Self is One, and identical with superconsciousness. Remember the Fool Key. With all this in mind, then, reciprocity between opposites, when it is harmonious, is always of the same nature as that which we call Love. An inharmonious relationship is akin to Hate, which is the inversion of Love. Both love and hate are human emotions, but an eminent Master of the occult wisdom once made a statement that they are spiritual emotions.
This means that they are root emotions and that all other emotions and desires take on the character of either one or the other of them. We, as human beings, are on the path of return, headed back toward unity. Consequently the force we must employ is the synthesizing force of Love, and our desires and emotions must be colored by that force. It is always a uniting force of great power. We utilize the faculty of discrimination to help us to determine the true color of our emotional life.
Key 6 tells us that the the Way to Freedom is the Way of Love. Changes are not brought about by coercion, but through friendly persuasion. Love is unconditional and self-imparting, like sunlight. We don’t have to generate love. It exists as a universal principle. All we have to do is let it flow through us. Note that the ground that the man and woman are standing on is green. Green represents the harmony of nature and the planet Venus.
The title, The Lovers, brings out the idea that pairs of opposites are not antagonists but complements. The lovers are not simply the man and woman in this Key – these symbols stand for opposites, as well as for the special opposition of self-consciousness and sub-consciousness. Thus the right understanding of the universe shows it to be, in all its details, an expression of the power of love, as the right and balanced relationship existing between the various pairs of opposites of which the universe is apparently made up!
The astrological attribution of Key 6 is Gemini. Note the symbol in the lower right hand corner of the card. This brings out the fact that opposites are really different aspects of the one thing. Heat and cold are different aspects of temperature, as are past and future of that which we call time.
The Kybalion states: Everything is duel; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and dislike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.
The planet Mercury rules Gemini. The planet is represented by the Magician. The Mercury power is the maker of interpretations, and has rulership over sub-consciousness through the law of suggestion. When we make unskillful use of this power we interpret experience incorrectly. The result is confusion in mind, which confusion is reflected into our external lives as misery. We can train and educate ourselves by learning what the pairs of opposites are.
The function assigned to the letter Zain is that of smell. Smell is always associated in language with discrimination. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, sometimes personified in Egyptian mythology as the jackal-headed Anubis, representing discernment because of the jackal’s keen sense of smell. Gemini rules the lungs, collarbones, shoulders, arms and hands – all in pairs.
The archangel is Raphael, meaning “God as Healer.” He’s wearing a violet robe as an indicator of spiritual power and truth. The message is true healing in the attainment of inner and outer wholeness. Behind the angel is the golden force of the Sun, the physical source of life and energy on earth, the actual body of the invisible Spiritual Sun. The angel’s yellow skin refers to the element Air and the sign Gemini. The flames of Rafael’s hair are a blend of red for reason, green for imagination, and yellow for light. The tiara of golden feathers at front acts as a focus of attention for the healing powers.
The blue sky reminds us of the High Priestess Key. Blue is representative of water, memory, receptivity and reflection. It represents the sub-conscious plane of mental activity.
Clouds are made of water, therefore in the Tarot they represent the world of matter, the world of appearance that obscures the true Self. That’s what has to be overcome – the total illusion of everything that’s going on. When you look at it differently, to see it inwardly instead outwardly, then the cloud of intervening substance is removed and you see the Sun.
The mountain stands for the Great Work. Due to the fact of evolution, you don’t have to do anything for yourself and you will still make it to the top of the mountain. Still, if you feel like it, you can participate in your own evolution. Nothing stands between us and illumination except this great big hunk of entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with entertainment in itself, but we should not confuse it with Reality.
The whole message of the Cabala is contained in Beauty. Of all the Tarot cards, the Lovers most closely represents Beauty as the central Sephirah on the Tree of Life. When two lovers are apart, nothing happens. Together they create beauty. A flower and an eye do nothing apart, but put them together and beauty happens. Beauty is very subtle. That’s why this Key is connected with discrimination, which refines the senses. You miss a lot if you are sensitive only to the gross level.
The archangel Raphael of superconsciousness is blessing the Lovers, who represent the self-conscious and sub-consciousness within each of us. We are usually identified with one side or the other, emphasizing either reason or feeling. Integration is the blessing. Communication is the Beauty. In the Cabala, it is said that the whole Tree of Life, the whole universe, is constructed from the tension that exists between the polarities. This tension is total. As in breathing, there’s an in-breath and an out-breath. You’ve got to have both. If you were to only breath in, you’d die!
Each person is the entire picture seen in Key 6. The biblical statement “male and female created He them,” is interpreted by the Cabalists that we are constructed with both feminine and masculine elements in our psyche. Key 6 displays a fruitful relationship between the various parts of yourself. Without going outside of ourselves to any other person, we have our main source of inspiration and guidance within us.
We’ve all been subjected to the story of Adam and Eve. From the Cabalists point of view the real story is exactly the reverse. Behind Adam is a tree bearing 12 fiery fruits. These are the signs of the zodiac, and each flame is triple because astrologers subdivide every sign into three parts. Thus the tree behind the man is the Tree of Life.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil stands behind Eve. The fruits of the five senses are shown thereon, as yet untasted. The serpent is lifted up for healing. Adam didn’t have a fall. He had an uplifting experience that introduced him into a spiritual world through the agency of his feminine aspect. The apples were delicious and enjoyed by all! The serpent represents the power in ourselves that is our very salvation.
The Cabala not only doesn’t believe in original sin, but doesn’t believe in sin at all. There is such a thing as “missing the mark,” but we always get another chance! You must have both intelligence and sensation in your life to make it successful.They are equally important, and you should think of them both at the same time. Key 6 is a sacrament in the highest sense of the word because it represents the prolongation of life. Cabalists have great respect for God, for Creation, and for men and women. The Lovers Key sets forth this perfected balance between opposing forces. Its an ideal situation.