In his Text, THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM, Dr. 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, the 17 Path of Zain (meaning-Sword), runs between Binah (understanding) and Tiphareth (Beauty) and connects the Pure Conscious, from which all form emerged (Binah) with the central point of Manifestation (Tiphareth). The Term Lovers, seems simple enough, yet it is a complex and profound card, as it is not about the love of two humans, but rather the Twins or duality of the individual united in pursuit of Divine Love. The True meaning of Key 6, is embedded in the Astrological sign Gemini, The Twins. The Dual intelligent Forces of Male and Female, (electric and magnetic), are what THE LOVERS proposes to unite. These are equal and opposite 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.
The Great Work, is a return to the primeval state (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)."
The Ryder-Waite Key 6- THE LOVERS concentrated on the esoteric meaning of the card rather than the exoteric meaning applied by Crowley in the Thoth Deck. Waite, displays the "Garden of Eden" myth, complete with the Tree of Knowledge and serpent, with the fiery Sun supporting Angel above. However, the Lovers is truly about the "Garden of Eden" that the Soul leaves to become manifester of human forms and a deep inner journey of the Mysteries of self-annihilation. One may applaud Waite for his keeping to the Oath of his Mystery Lodge not to reveal the arcane, but that is considered a archaic practice by Crowley and many other Qabalists who now display the exoteric meaning to this Card.
On the Thoth Deck Tarot Card, and Ryder-Waite Card, THE LOVERS, The Sun is the man, the Moon is the Woman, and the Divine Fire that is above the Abyss, is represented as Cupid or the Solar Angel on the Ryder-Waite card, both symbolize the Divine uniting force. 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 know them as the Male half and the Female half of the human brain. As 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. 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 Supernals (Upper triangle of the Tree of Life) through Binah---The Great Mother. Thus, the Crowley Thoth Deck Card depicts the theme of union as an Alchemical "Hermetic Marriage" of the component parts pf the seeker.
This is an active path, for the self control and will attributed to Mercury, which directs the movement and integration of opposites is not passive, in fact, it is the fiery force or the Serpent Force known as the Kundalini which is masculine fiery force, united with the Feminine Watery force (flowing in waves as "serpentine:) both in equal measure and full of fiery dynamic, and inspirational qualities. This is a red-hot marriage, complete with Honey Moon and resulting "little death". There is a type of death here, as the process of crossing the Abyss means even the death of one's own Higher Self. It a willful and total self-destruction and immersion into the Divine. Thus, the Path of Zain, The Sword, is apropos. This type of self-annihilation is well described with a quote form the Gnostic Text, The Gospel of Didymos Judas Thomas where it is written that Jesus 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 obviously knew of the Principles attributed to THE LOVERS card, but then he was a Nazarene Gnostic Master which is a Qabalist; the Word Christos is Greek and refers to the Sun and since there never was a j in the alphabet until the 13th century, Zeus was the name used! . Hence, Zeus Christos which means "The Sun/Son of Zeus". Also, "The Kingdom" is the "Garden of Eden" in the esoteric sense.
THE LOVERS and THE ART card of the Thoth Deck Tarot are amongst 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 and the Path of THE LOVERS is Zain (Sword of Armor) requires a complete integration of the total self, manifest in the Microcosm,returning the soul to the aspect of the "Garden" or Macrocosm, 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. Therefore, the Art card-key 14 is the consummation of the Lovers marriage.
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 are shown above the couple, with cupid aiming an arrow, symbolizing will. The Black King wears a crown of gold (Sun), 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 (Moon), 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 in the other. The Product of this union, is the Orphic Egg, that is the very essence of Life itself and the "Seed of the Universe".
The symbolism of the two children,on the Thoth Tarot card, has been noted by Crowley as Cain and Able, which may seem out of place in a card called THE LOVERS; However, the process of The Marriage is both reciprocal and repeated over and over again as it is defined by the infinity sign of Mercury-Magus, since 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 old Alchemical text.
When THE LOVERS is thrown during a reading:
- It is stating a principle of Art and Craft of Relationship.
- What is also suggested is the magical image of the power of surrender in which one form is given up in order to attain another.
- Being involve in a process of cooperation.---combining energies for a common goal.
- Yin Yang attraction of polarities, or universal forces for one another.
- The power of sexual surrender to the Goddess within.
- This card can also mean a love affair with some sort of trial or choice involved... be it marriage or profane love.
- There is the Tantric Philosophy here also, only through physical union with a female can either a man or a god, achieve true reality and the power to deal with it; A Spiritual/ sexual union, is required for shamans, priests, and holy men with the female is required before they gain full possession of their powers. This is also a process for Priestesses, who must be able to invoke the "Divine Phallus" through the Male before they can gain their Powers inherited from the Divine Hermetic Marriage.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!