The Tarot of Eli, LLC: The Babylonian Tarot- Key 6- The Lovers-Ishtar & Tammuz & The Thoth Tarot- ATU 6-The Lovers.

western hermetic qabalah, tantric, alchemical, astrological, and numerical Tarot Card Comparisons.

· Babylonian tarot

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the Babylonian tarot-Key 6-The lovers-Ishtar & Tammuz

The Oracle of the Gods is the Child-Voice of Love in Thine own Soul; hear thou it. Heed not the Siren-Voice of Sense, or the Phantom-Voice of Reason: rest in Simplicity, and listen to the Silence.


ATU/Key 6- THE LOVERS astrological sign is and is about the joining together of the female yin and the male yang. The magnetic and electric forces joining together to create a greater Self. This card represents the universal principle of the art and craft of relationship; the union of opposites that creates everything. The Lovers is about the Duality of the Divine Creative---Goddess/God and everything about this card is dual. Thus the journey of the twins, a universal motif found in all cultures. Hansel and Gretel, Ishtar and Tammuz, Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann; all the famous couples throughout history and mythology reflect this archetype of the Lovers.

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To the people of Mesopotamia, sexual union between man and woman was a sacred act that ensured fertilization of the land. Sexual union was the "holy mass" (before it was profaned by Christianity) and was considered pleasing to the gods. Most of all Ishtar, the goddess of love and erotica. The Sumerian and Babylonian people explain the creation of the Universe as a succession of marriages between the gods. This began the tradition known as, hieros gamos, or sacred marriage. Tammuz was the Babylonian rendition of the Sumerian, Dumuzi, or "good son"; son of Ea and the cow goddess Ninsun, and considered to be the Shepard of Uruk. An Akkadian hymn describes Tammuz as "Shepard and lord, husband of Ishtar the lady of heaven, lord of the underworld and lord of the Shepard's seat." He was also often referred to as the "bridegroom". Like Gilgamesh, Tammuz is a mortal "demi god", i.e. a conceived from the union of a terrestrial and a extraterrestrial.

The sexual union between Ishtar and Tammuz, was thought to bring on the fertility of the animals and crops of Mesopotamia. Therefore, the annual celebration of Hieros Gamos, included a ritual marriage between the human king and a priestess, as a living representatives of Tammuz and Ishtar. This ritual included royal baths and love songs. After the sacred marriage was consummated, Ishtar "fixed the destiny of the king" for the ensuing year. Thereby granting him the divine power to necessary to ensure the productivity of the land.

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The Lover's card is attributed to the constellation of Gemini. In the Babylonia Tarot Card, Ishtar is shown welcoming the advances of Tammuz, who approaches her with a golden chalice. The rainbow and peahen are traditional symbols of wholeness and harmony.

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Th0th-atu 6-the lovers

The Thoth Tarot- ATU 6-The Lovers card is about love and relationships and reminds us that we are to be joyful and innocent in love (the two children) while exhibiting curiosity and playfulness; the adult couple facing each other remind us of loyalty and commitment. The Hermit , who stands over them in blessing, reminds us of the need to be alone and granting the gift of spaciousness for the purpose of individual contemplation, introspection and inner self meditation. All parts of balanced and flowing Love. The Iron gates in the back ground of the Thoth card symbolize the Lovers' need not to be limited, bared or restrained in their relationship. When this card is drawn it often symbolizes a loving relationship, soon to be or even a marriage and/or the inner balance of the female and male forces in an individual.

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In the 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. This is because the Lovers is also the Path of Zain ( meaning Sword), runs between Binah (understanding) and Tiphareth (Beauty) and connects the Pure Conscious, from which all form emerges (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 or ATU 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/Whole Psyche on the Tree of Life. The surging of the Divine One Energy, across the Abyss into manifestation, formed stable dualities. The Lovers card is also representative of the loving relationship a Magi must make of the Cain and Able inside each of us, i.e. the animal-survival mind and Soul-Psyche or subconscious and solar-consciousness.

The Great Work, is a return to the primeval state (As above so below) by the communion or "marriage" of these dualities of manifestation.

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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)."

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The Path of Zain 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.

The inner hermetic marriage is a red-hot marriage, complete with Honey Moon and resulting "little death". For sure there is a type of death here, as the process of crossing the Abyss means the death of one's own concepts of self. This devastating passage is a willful and total self-destruction and immersion into the Divine.

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On the Thoth 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. Dr.Paul Foster Case has stated that, the Sun is self-consciousness and that the Moon is sub consciousness. Paul Foster Case, considered 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 Supernal (Upper triangle of the Tree of Life) through Binah---The Great Mother. Thus, the Crowley Thoth Tarot Card depicts the theme of union as and Alchemical "Hermetic Marriage" of the component parts of the seeker.

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I'll leave you with a quote from 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!

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THE LOVERSand THE ART card of the Thoth Deck Tarot, which is the marriage consummated, are amongst the most difficult to understand. The Path of the Art Card is Samekh (Meaning 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. Meaning that unless the Higher Self, is Married to the lower self, their is no "whole-self".

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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 above illustration of Lilith and Lord Python, considered by the Greeks to be the "first marriage".

On the Thoth Card 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 in the other. The Product of this union, is the Orphic Egg that is the very essence of Life itself.

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The symbolism of the two children, 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 Christos incarnation is the perfection reached in Tiphareth which means Beauty in English and is the result of cyclic synchronicity.

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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-Qabalist. I've found this alchemical text very readable, much like a fairy tale, and yet one of the most profound pieces 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.

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 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.
  • In other words, the union of rational male right brain with imaginative female left brain must be a thing of beauty.
  • Union of spiritual and material. 

When ill defined by the surrounding negative cards in a reading, it implies:

  • Unattainable ideal of love.
  • Repressive neurosis. 
  • Self-sacrifice.
  • Indecisiveness. 
  • Inconstancy in oneself.

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