To the Gnostic-Qaballist, The Lovers is a card that can hardly be understood by imagery let alone words, so the combination of both is recommended.
On the Qabalistic Tree of Life, The Lovers is The Path of Zain (meaning sword or armor and is the dual edged cutting sword of Perspective), connecting The Mother of Form ( Binah) with the central point of manifestation, (Tiphareth-the 6th Sephiroth).
In the past, the Lovers was just illustrated as one individual and called the Lover. This obviously didn't suggest enough for more recent Tarot Readers and it has been redesigned to show the Two who are One.
Since Gemini/The Twinsis the Astrological meaning of this card, it makes sense that this duality should be depicted: However, The Lovers card represents the dualities of a single individual and is not appropriate as a symbol of human sexual love. In fact it represents the "two brothers" who are the Kaberoi [The Twin Serpents of the Caduceus] and where known as the twin sons of the Primal Serpent Ptah.
Over time the Primal Serpent Forceof the Universe has gained many names/titles from Skanda-Murugan, Ptah-Sokar-Osiris to Thoth-Hermes, Neptune-Vulcan, Greenman, Dionysus, Enki and so many more, but the understanding was still the same; it was the Primal Serpentine Force of microwave Fire that began this Universe in a "Big Bang" scenario, by combining the "Divine Twins" in a serpentine dance. Since we are attempting to describe a pure energy that both ejaculates (a serpentine flow) and gives birth...so the male and female forms are used to show these aspects of "The One Primal Serpent Force". This serpentine energy is both a She in Hindu as Kundalini, in Greek as Sophia (Wisdom), Hel, and the Scarlett woman, in the West combined with the above mentioned male descriptions.
Throughout the Thoth card you will see serpent images, even the Spear of Dionysus or the Thrysus is known as the weapon with which he used to induce "the madness of Gnosis" which represented the human spine and the "third eye" (pineal gland) linked to one flowing kundalini power. Thoth-Hermes was also the "Father of Alchemy" and many alchemical symbols exist in this cards imagery.
Therefore, The Lovers, represents the dual aspect of the One energy as Divine energy surged across the Abyss into manifestation, forming stable dualities. The Great Work, "As above so below",is the marriage of these dualities of manifestation. A ritual of returning to the Primal state, or Serpent force.
The path of Zain, of the Hermetic Qabalah, is called the Disposing Intelligence, which has often been considered an aspect of the Garden of Eden mythology, where human kind was made to leave it and must learn how to return to it. The Hebrew word -ha-regesh- from which the English translation means-is arrived, is the Disposing Intelligence, consisting of, the Sun (Tiphareth)+ the Moon (Binah)+ Fire (Chokmah) =Disposing Intelligence.
In this Thoth card we have the Sun and the Moon uniting under Mercury (the planet ruling Gemini). On the Tarot card, the man is representing the sun and the woman is representing the moon and the Divine Fire above the Abyss is the Kerub (cupid) which comes from the word Kaberoi. The Great Being, blessing this union is the Magus/Mercury as The Hermit-key-9. So when the Electric Force of the man and the Magnetic force of the woman are intertwine,in a communion, a process that is rightly perceived, rightly discriminated, and when their operation is kept in proper order, the personality of the man/woman engaged in this practice becomes a unobstructed channel for the outpouring of the Cosmic Life Force (Seen in the Card a the Orphic egg wrapped with a serpent).
All this may be mind boggling to the uninformed who know not their own Divinity. So all I can say is, Google the mythological names listed in this essay-blog and see if you can understand the stories about the Great Story, that is our Universal Divine Collective Self and our Selves. I Would recommend a magnificent book called, WORLD GNOSIS-The Coming Gnostic Civilization by Mark Amaru Pinkham who has done a inordinate amount of research that would take the interested student 20 years to assemble.
The Thoth Tarot-Key 6-The Lovers, is also called "the Brothers" which is a significant arcana representation of "Cain and Able"; Significant, in that it implies the simultaneous creation of an "equal and opposite reaction". When an action is created, its opposite is simultaneously created as well. When She was Created so was He. When Able was created so was Cain. This card supports that Universal application.
In this dual happenstance of creation, there is no measurable time lag, as the formulation of any idea creates its contradictory at almost the same moment. To create She creates He. To create correction is to create error. That is why wisdom is often described by me as the progressive action, "to create, see error, and correct that error." Hence, Wisdom is known as 50% ERROR and 50% correction. This is the old concept behind the Christian Sin, which over time, has become unrecognizable as the process of Wisdom; However, if one reads the Prodigal Son biblical parable, they will understand that the "Prodigal" who went forth and created error, and then was celebrated for correcting it.
To know that the contradictory of any proposition is implicit in itself, also is to know how Universal equilibrium is kept. Again, analysis followed by synthesis. To make this card even more confusing, remember that once error is corrected, we've made another creation.....with simultaneous error.
The Lovers Card, is a glyph of duality.The Moorish King has a golden crown, while the white European Queen has a silver crown, this duality is also shown by the Red Lion and the White Eagle; Lions and Eagles being alchemical symbols of the Male and Female Principles in Nature, appearing in equal and various stages of manifestation throughout creation; Sun and Moon, Fire and Water (Electric and Magnetic), Air and Earth. They also are the acid and alkali of chemistry, which are also metals and non-metals.
Going even wider in this "equal and opposite" concept, they are Hydrogen and Oxygen which in this concept of atoms, the Hooded figure represents, the seed of all life as the Protean element of carbon. Astrophysicist know Red Suns as the producers of the carbon atom, so the symbols of this card are quite extensive.
The King bears his sacred Lance, while the Queen bears the Holy Grail---the Phallus and Womb symbols of this card are a constant reminder of Creations formula of equal and opposites being combined in order to establish life. This theory is support by the Twin Children carry their weapons, whose positions are counter changed; the white child carries the cup and roses (feminine), while the dark child carries the lance and a club (masculine). At the bottom of the card is the primitive Pantomorphic form of the Hermetic Marriage; the winged Orphic egg. The colors of the egg, gray, symbolize the cooperation of the Supernal ( upper triangle of Kether, Chokma, Binah) in the Creation of Life.The Purple serpent is Mercury in the scale of the Queen and represent God's influence in Nature; the crimson tinged wings of the Orphic egg represent the King which is on the scale of Binah the Great Mother. Therefore, the Thoth Deck key 6 -The Lovers is then the complete symbolic rendition of the equilibrium of The Great Work. However, we must never forget that what form life takes is after all, possibility, for the form life takes is dependent upon the influences attendant during gestation. This is a fact that Awake Souls (those who do not experience the sleep of death) make use of while a fetus is forming in a womb. Just a little mystery for you to ponder!
By putting the symbol of Cupid above the Hooded figure, seems to confuse the issues of this card; However, deep study of the Cupid legend will help one to see that cupid is the libido symbol used to express Zero as Two. Please feel free to enjoy your investigations while remembering that only deep meditations on this card will reveal some of the many secrets it represents.
In the Text, THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM, Paul Foster Case called THE LOVERS, the Disposing Intelligence. The complexity of this card can barely be presented by the image on the card, and is even difficult to understand as a disposing intelligence.
THE LOVERS, is the Path of Zain, meaning Sword, on the Hermetic Qabalah's Tree of Life and runs between Binah (understanding) and Tiphareth (Beauty) and connects the Pure Conscious, from which all forms emerged (Binah) with the central point of Manifestation (Tiphareth).
The Dual intelligent Forces of Male-expressive and Female-receptive, (electric and magnetic, conscious and unconscious, Psyche and Animal mind, Animus and Anima), are what THE LOVERS proposes to unite. These are equal and opposite frequencies of Intelligence that must be united as a major step towards the Godhead on the Tree of Life. The surging of the Divine One Energy, across the Abyss into manifestation, formed stable dualities, for the Divine Creative is a DUAL CONSTRUCT OF FORCE AND FORM. This is nothing new to those who studied Matriarchal religions, God and Goddess were never seen separated and often they were depicted as one being with two faces. Only in the War/slave religions of Nomadic Tribes, "sword worshipers", who destroyed the cities and agriculture that was invented by women, did the Patriarch exist alone and supreme.
The Great Work, is a return to the primeval state of Whole Mind (As above so below) by the communion or "marriage" of these dualities of manifestation.
As Robert Wang wrote about the Path of Zain (meaning; sword or armor) in his book: THE QABALISTIC TAROT:
"Thus this path may be considered the aspect of the Garden of Eden, from which mankind was expelled, but to which it may earn re-entry by conscious dealing with what has been called the inner Sun and Moon. The whole key to the Great Work is uniting of the Sun and the Moon under Mercury (the planet ruling Gemini)."
On the Tarot Card, THE LOVERS, The Sun is the man, the Moon is the Woman, and the Divine Fire that is above the Abyss (The Vital Force or Serpent Force), is represented as Cupid. Case has stated that, the Sun is self-consciousness and that the Moon is subconsciousness.
Paul Foster Case, considered that these are both aspects of the One Life Breath, each working half of the body. Today we mundanely know them as the Male half and the Female half of the human brain or in parapsychology as the Animus (Masculine-Soul) and the Anima (Feminine-Spirit). As Dr. Paul Foster Case has stated:
"When the Solar and Lunar currents of the Life-Power are rightly perceived, rightly discriminated, and when their operation is kept in proper order, the personality of the man engaged in this practice becomes a free, unobstructed channel for the outpouring of the cosmic life force." Case considered THE LOVERS card to represent one of the dualities united by the Spiritual Self, the Divine Anima (female) and the Divine Animus (Male), both aware, conscious and united in the individual as they are in the Divine Creative. Just as most Tantric, and Gnostic practitioner's do.
To the Qabalist, The Lovers, represents the union of manifested opposites under the Divine Love of the Supernal (Upper triangle of the Tree of Life) through Binah/Ishtar-The Great Mother. Thus, the Crowley Thoth Deck Card depicts the theme of union as and Alchemical "Hermetic Marriage" of the component parts of the seeker.
The Path of Zain is an active path of Psyche, for the self control and will attributed to Mercury, which directs the movement and integration of opposites and therefore, is not passive.
In fact, it is the fiery force or the Serpent Force known as the Kundalini which is a combination of masculine fiery force, united with the Feminine Watery force (flowing in waves as "serpentine:) both in equal measure and full of fiery dynamic, and crystal clear inspirational qualities.
This is a red-hot hermetic (sealed) marriage, complete with Honey Moon and resulting "little death", where individuals are annihilated by becoming One, reminiscent of an individual "big bang", call the "ecstasy". Hence, there is a type of death representedhere, as the process of crossing the Abyss means the death of one's own Higher Self, a willful and total self-destruction and immersion into the Divine One-Self.
I'll leave you with a quote form the Gnostic Text, The Gospel of Didymos Judas Thomas where it is written that Jesus, a Gnostic Nazarene, answered his disciples with:
(22) " When you make the Two One, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female;and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter the kingdom."
Jesus, mythical or not (Zeus Christos was a title given to many teachers of Gnosis), obviously knew of the Principles attributed to THE LOVERS card, but then he was purported to be a Nazarene Gnostic Master which is a Qabalistic Magi. What few know is that the Word Christos is Greek and refers to the Sun! Also, that when one "fashions eyes in place of an eye", we are talking of transforming many identities, "I's" into One Identity-The Original Cosmic "I".
THE LOVERS and THE ART card of the Thoth Deck Tarot are considered among the most difficult to understand. The Path of the Art Card is Samekh (Prop) and requires a complete integration of the Personality in its subordination to the Ego (whole-self) in Tiphareth. The Path of THE LOVERS is Zain (Sword or Armor) requires a complete integration of the total self, manifest in the Microcosm, returning the soul to the aspect of the "Garden" or Macrocosm of the Universal Collective Unconscious, from which it emerged. Thus, we can say that Art is the equilibrium of the Lower Self and THE LOVERS, is the balance of the Higher Self.
To reiterate: In Crowley's card, we have the Royal Marriage of opposites, presided over by the hooded figure that is both the Hermit and Mercury. Eve and Lilith, as stylized statues, are shown above the marriage couple, with cupid aiming an arrow that represents the Original Will.
The Black King wears a crown of gold, bears a lance, and is attended by the Red Lion, while the Kings black child holds the lance in one hand and a club in the other.
The White Queen, crown in silver, is attended by the White Eagle and her white child, that is interchanged with the black child, holds flowers in one hand and the bottom of the Grail (Graäl) in the other. The Product of this union, is the Orphic Egg, that is the very essence of Life itself.
The symbolism of the two children, has been noted by Crowley as the biblical Cain and Able, which may seem out of place in a card called THE LOVERS; However, the process of The Hermetic Marriage is both reciprocal and repeated over and over again as it is defined by the infinity sign of Mercury-Magus, as the Sun and the Moon unite under Mercury. First one "Brother" dies, being absorbed into the other than there is a return to a balance of opposites after which the second "Brother" is killed and absorbed into the first.
Theoretically, return to the Godhead requires that we incarnate repeatedly, in the twelve signs of the Zodiac, reaching perfection in each of the types of incarnation.
THE LOVERS card also relates to the Hermetic Marriage, or "Chemical Wedding", as written in the 17th century in a text called,:The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenceutz which is one of the key documents of Hermetic-Qabalism. I've found this alchemical text very readable, much like a fairy tale, and yet one of the most profound piece of esoteric or Gnostic symbolism ever written. The fact that the word Sword or Armor (Zain) is the word meaning of this path and that blood is spilled on this path, are all reconciled and/or reinforced in this text. This understanding requires some meditation on the Alchemical text.
The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 6: The Lovers;
There is a picture of two lovers kissing, called Sparsa (contact) which is the 6th picture on the Tantra Wheel of Life. So even in Tibetan Tantra, the Lover's are connected to the # 6, of the Sun and the Sephiroth Tiphareth-Beauty. Here is the first encounter of Self and Other, where the I and Am recognize each other.
Thenext picture on the Tibetan Wheel of life is called Vedana (feeling), depicting a man with an arrow entering his eye.
On both the Thoth Tarot
andBarbara Walker Tarot, Key 6, The Lover's card, shows the Lovers with an Cherub and/or a divine amoretti aiming an arrow.
Again, as I stated in the description of the Thoth Card, herein resides a Tantric message: only through physical union with a female can either a god or man achieve "true" contact with reality, and the power to deal with it.
The Tantric sages, have always stated that women "are life itself", called women Deva's (Goddesses). The Great Goddess, under her title, Bhavani ("Existence"-I AM), represented the real world. Unless a man or god united himself with her at his life stage of Bhavanan (husbandship), he remained incomplete. As an enlighten man, he must spend his life searching for the Goddess who could only be apprehended through Vedana (feeling).
The Shakta ("one who worships Kali") Poet, Ramaprasad Sen said," By feeling She is known. How then can lack of feeling find her?"
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sadhak Rāmprasād Sen (Bengali:রামপ্রসাদ সেন; c. 1718 or c. 1723 – c. 1775) was a Shakta poet and saint of eighteenth century
Bengal. His bhakti poems, known as Ramprasadi, are still popular in Bengal—they are usually addressed to the Hindu goddess Kali and written in Bengali. Stories of Ramprasad's life typically include legends and myths mixed with biographical details.
It is said that, Ramprasad was born into a Tantric family, and showed an inclination towards poetry from an early age. He became a disciple of Krishnananda Agamavagisha, a Tantric scholar and
yogi. Ramprasad became well known for his devotional songs, eventually becoming the court poet of Raja Krishnachandra of Nadia . His life has been the subject of many stories depicting his devotion to, and relationship with, Kali. Ramprasad's literary works include
Vidyasundar, Kali-kirtana, Krishna-kirtana and Shaktigiti.
Ramprasad is credited with creating a new compositional form that combined the Bengali folk style of Baul music with classical melodies and kirtan. The new style took root in Bengali culture with many poet-composers combining folk and raga-based melodies, mixing every common style of music from classical to semi-classical and folk.
His songs are sung today, with a popular collection—Ramprasad Sangit ("Songs of Ramprasad")—sold at Shakta temples and
pithas in Bengal.
The Sufi, including the Sufi Mostapha Jahaladin Rumi (and my favorite 12th century poet) has stated that every man needed a fravashi ("Spirit of the Way"), the equivalent of a Tantric sages Shakti or Tibetan Tantra's Kha-dro-ma. She was every man's Qis-Mah (Turkish-Kismet), a lady love sent by the Moon (Mah). Corrupted to "every man's fate". Here again is the Anima (Spirit-Feminine) and the Animus (Soul-Masculine), names coined by Dr. Carl Jung, represented throughout history of mankind.
The ancient idea of a "sacred marriage", whereby a man, king, or god developed his full power in sexual union. King Solomon (Sun-of-On), united himself to Ishtar-Astarte through her priestess, who was called the Shulamite in bible preserved wedding songs. The acquired powers he received from this marriage, Solomon received 666 talents of gold in a year (1 Kings 10;14). This number is a magic number of Qabalah, for 666 is listed elsewhere in the Bible as the famous "number of the Beast" ( Revelation 13:18).
The 666 Beast was originally the beast with two backs, and/or the Primal Androgyne said to resemble a man and woman in sexual communion.
Both the Hexagram and 666, which described it, were sacred to the triple Aphrodite (Astarte). Her number, 6, was described by the Pythagorean mystics as the perfect number and/or The Mother.
The Latin six is sex, the 6 is also the Egyptian, sexen, meaning to embrace or copulate. A derivative of the Egyptian sexen, is Seshemu meaning "sexual intercourse", and had as its hieroglyph a lingam inserted into a yoni-gate.
Seshemu, was a word repeatedly used in Sufi love rituals, and became famous as a magic charm used to open the secret uterine cavern in Arabic fair-tales [open sesame, in English]. Hence, the number 6, sex, is the number of sin to the Christian flesh-o-phobes. After all, she created the hate form, i.e. flesh.
The ritual of a man becoming god-like after sexual union with his "lady love" fills the pages of mythology, including Percival and Blanchefleur, who taught him the secrets of Chivalry.
With a little research, one can find that this is a well known mystery of magic.
In many older Tarot cards, the tradition of an older woman marrying the couple on the Lovers Tarot Card, is also shown on the Barbara Walker card. For in pre-Christian times, the tribal wise woman (latter called "witches" by Christians) preformed the marriage rites of the Real Wedding (Hermetic Marriage).
When it all comes out in the wash, without the perfect communion between the Anima and Animus, within, no person is whole and thereby incomplete! There must be an inseparable intercourse between the Divine She and Divine He in each and every Temple of Flesh!
When THE LOVERS is thrown during a reading, it is stating:
If ill defined by the accompanying cards:
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