Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Larry's Notes: Meditations on the Tarot - The Lover

This installment of articles on Meditations on the Tarot is about The Lover(s). First, I'd like to talk about the two most common versions of the picture on the card. The oldest is on the Marseilles decks, and depicts a young man standing between an older woman on the left, and a younger woman on the right. There's a Cupid overhead, pointing an arrow at the young man. The newer version is on the Rider-Waite-based decks, and shows Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, with an angel watching over them, and the infamous serpent wrapped harmlessly around a fruit tree. The first represents a choice; the second, the results of one of the options (see the Devil for the other).

The choice is one we all must make. The first option is materialism: the belief that the physical world as we know it is all (or the most important thing) there is. The result of this option is the Devil card (the Waite version): Adam and Eve chained to a stone block with the Devil holding them captive. But if you have a copy of the card handy, note that the chains around their necks aren't really strong enough to hold them; Adam and Eve stay there partially because they want to. The point is that this option isn't permanent; we'll all eventually wake up and take the chains off. By the way, some of the links in the chains include materialism (of course), a belief in scarcity, and self-righteousness.

The second option is what I like to call recovery from materialism. When we take the chains off, we start to see the physical world differently and explore what's beyond and inside of it, and what's beyond and inside of ourselves. We look into quantum physics and find out that matter isn't really as solid as it seems, and that empty space isn't really empty. We experience coincidences and synchronicities that show us an underlying unity that we're all a part of. We realize that we are more and can do more than we ever imagined. And this new journey becomes the most important thing in our lives.

That leads me to what the book has to say about the Lovers card. The book also says the card is about choice, but a choice between vice and virtue, the virtue in this case being chastity. Since this series is shaping up to be a postmodern restatement of the principles given in the book, I will reinterpret chastity in this context as meaning purity of mind and devotion to the quest. It doesn't mean necessarily that we give up drinking and smoking and join a monastery. It just means that our lives are devoted to recovery.

This choice is not a one-time thing, and the book mentions temptation, specifically the temptations of Christ and the Garden of Eden story. We also have our temptations: the temptation to think we already know it all; the temptation to get sidetracked by day-to-day issues and lose our connection to the Infinite Light; and the temptation to satisfy the goals of what we think is our personality at the expense of growing into our real selves.

Well, that's it for now. Until next time, just remember that just like Adam and Eve on the Rider-Waite Devil card, we can always take the chains off our necks.

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