Starting in 2021 and lasting through 2023, we are witnessing a new time. Here in 2022, we’re in the thick of it. This is big stuff. This will be a time of multiple and new levels of transparency, nuanced and difficult. Ethics and integrity will be a staple focus during this powerful time of reckoning with the institutional systems that have been holding society in place.
Tarot + Numerology
There are 56 cards in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. 40 are numbered cards, and there are 16 court cards. The 40 numbered cards are separated into 4 suits: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. Each suit runs from Ace (the first card) to 10.
In basic numerology, each number coincides with a particular set of overarching themes.
Ace = opportunity, new beginnings, potential
2 = balance, duality
3 = growth, creativity
4 = manifestation, stability
5 = change, conflict
6 = communication, harmony
7 = reflection, knowledge
8 = mastery, accomplishment
9 = fulfillment, attainment
10 = end of a cycle, renewal
When we add each number in 2022 consecutively the result is the number 6.
2+0+2+2 = 6
Therefore, for the Minor Arcana, the suite for this year is the Sixes (which I’ll tackle separately).
In the Major Arcana, the Fool is technically the first card, though its number is 0. The final card is the World (21). As we saw with the Minor Arcana, in the Major Arcana each card has a numerical association. You can go really deep into numerology, but to keep it simple the assigned number in the Tarot is The Lovers.
The Lovers automatically makes the romance bells go off. While it can frequently be about your love life, there is more to it if we dive into the deeper symbolism. On the surface The Lovers is all about passion, attraction and love. If it shows up as the middle card in a reading it indicates just that.
However, The Lovers is a card of duality. On one hand it symbolizes union and attraction, the other is about choice. It can often indicate an important choice must be made between two desires. These desires can be any wish, choice, or conundrum in which you face. Sure, it can be romantic too.
As previously mentioned, The Lovers represents a union. The astrological sign Gemini (The Twins) is often associated with this card. Both represent the concept of two as one. They are separate entities, but they can be found in closely bonded friends, relatives, business partners and those in long-term relationships. In any card following the Smith/Rider/Waite deck, both figures stand on equal footing. This indicates total equality. These people complement one another, they finish each other’s sentences and have an encyclopedia of inside jokes.
The Lovers shows up in a myriad of ways, and doesn’t always represent the union of two people but the forces within ourselves. As The Lovers is a card of unification, it can also represent integrating your authentic self into how you present on the outside. It can indicate becoming at ease in one’s own skin at last. The Lovers unite all of us, whether externally or internally.
In the card, both of the figures are totally naked which represents openness. They are being asked to be radically vulnerable and open themselves to a magical union. Their hands are open, showing that they’re receptive and will give help as well.
The figures stand in a new Garden of Eden, in this change of paradigm the fruit on the tree with the snake slithering up it brings enlightenment. The tree behind the masc person is the Tree of Passion. Its presence reminds us to balance fiery will with groundedness. The fem figure in this new telling gazes at the snake and the tree seeking enlightenment. Many cultures hold the snake in reverence as a symbol of our connection to Earth, transformation, the goddess, rebirth and healing. Apples in Celtic, Norse and Greek folktales are magical symbols of eternal life. This tree is the Tree of Life. Its fruit offers life.
The mountains in between the two tell us that there are higher spiritual places to aspire to which will lead us to the sun of enlightenment. The angel above unites all of these dualities. Antiquated interpretations see this card as uniting the “masculine” and “feminine”, reinforcing a rigid binary. By coming together they were believed to unite both male (aggression) and female (gentleness) qualities. Today we know that a variety of gender expressions exist, and vague ideas of socialized behavior are societal constructs. The bottom line is, the main goal of the Major Arcana is to bring forth and unite all the disparities that exist within each of us resulting in the gender fluid figure of the dancer in the final card of the deck, The World.
This ultimate card of choice shows up most often for those standing at a fork in the road. It shows up when we’re trying to build something, but it seems a bit in vain. It shows up when a big choice needs to be made. You’re vulnerable and exposed, and have to trust in people or a situation.
Perhaps the situation represents a platonic relationship. Maybe you’ve got a friend crush, or have found the perfect person who just gets you to team-up with on an exciting endeavor. Romantic in the traditional sense or not, this card can represent something that feels destined and magical.
It could be that you’re being asked to build up your personal value system. It’s time to figure out what you believe in and who you are. The traditional version of The Lovers represents adolescence. It denotes coming-of-age. During that time, our sexuality typically emerges and we search for our own sense of moral and intellectual independence. In Card 3 (The Empress), Card 4 (The Emperor) and Card 5 (The Hierophant) we were shaped by the forces of nature, parents and society. In Card 6 (The Lovers), our authentic self emerges in its true personality with its own purposes and ideas. With The Lovers, we are able to make more important choices based on our own wants and needs, and not those of our parents or authority figures. Therefore, this card can signify the need to assess our desires hand-in-hand with our sense of responsibility.
The Lovers can also refer to a minor dilemma or a major crisis. Any of these meanings asks you to chose between the light, dark and all the multitudinous grey areas possible. In this decision, we are reminded that pure passion alone won’t help us connect with the angel above the mountaintops. To achieve our needs, we need to be guided equally by reason. By uniting passion with reason, we are able to achieve a sense of clarity in the decisions that need to be made.
While The Lovers insist that decisions need to be made, if you’re not ready and still need time to figure things out: that. Is. Okay. It’s important to first name your choices, and let them stand in front of you for a while. By doing so, this will help lend clarity to the situation for the choices that you will later make. If your choice has to do with another person, just keep in mind that people need reassurance so they don’t end up feeling like they’re waiting around forever.
In romantic situations, it’s important to name what you value in a relationship. Don’t let your idea of relationships be defined by the heteronormative society at large. There’s a wide disparity between what we need versus what we’re tricked into thinking we need by the over-arching societal narrative.
The Lovers asks you to make the decision your heart needs. This can be in regards to romantic love, friend family, collaboration or any other union. If you have seen the series Sense8 by the Wachowskis, you’re familiar with how the eight characters form a cluster of “sensates”: human beings who are emotionally and mentally linked. These people can communicate with, and “sense” one another to share their language, knowledge, and skills.
This approach is echoed in reality when we as queer people get to choose our family. Declaring your collective group of loved ones as your family is an inherently radical act. It is an intentional act of curating who is in your cluster of sensates. It stands in direct opposition to the heteronormative, patriarchal familial structure which involves forced interaction with people who may have harmed, abused or otherwise been toxic towards you. It defies the notion that “blood is thicker than water”. Blood is not a system of measurement. When The Lovers comes up in a reading, it calls you to consider rearranging your life to be centered in joy.
What The Lovers doesn’t want is for us to settle for “good enough.” Some things in our lives can be settled on, but when it comes to the fundamentals of how you spend and give of your very life there is no settling for “good enough.” Your life is precious, it has value and wasting it on those who don’t cherish that is a drain on your life force.
The Lovers Inverted
The shadow side of The Lovers signifies communication breakdowns, indulgence, boundary issues, indecision, selfishness, isolation, self-loathing, letting yourself be used as a dormat by others, making poor choices and giving in to temptation without considering the long-term consequences. It can show itself as someone who uses others for their own agendas or personal gratification.
Egoists can never release themselves from what rules them the most: their egos. Sex is used as a way to gain power over others, but it rarely satisfies. Reversed, The Lovers can point towards misusing sex, or being misused by it. This could show up in the form of a destructive union, particularly a bad marriage, and being controlled by a manipulative partner who has their own selfish needs at the forefront. This points to romantic immaturity, a deeply under-developed sense of self that manifests as childishness and pettiness that leads to a destructive partnership.
The Lovers reversed demonstrates stubbornly refusing to evaluate the present situation due to a crippling nostalgia for what used to be, or what never really was. It is important to understand that you are the bottom line in terms of your own priorities. If you are being dragged through the mud by anyone who is supposed to be your ally, you must work on lifting yourself up and working on giving yourself the value you deserve. And you do deserve it. If it takes saying “I deserve to be valued” over and over again, then so be it. You cannot be broken and expect other broken people to fix you. That is not a sustainable situation.
Inverted The Lovers is impulsive, destructive, and harmful to others as well as themselves. No amount of loving someone will change anything when that person doesn’t love you back. You can love your job, band, or any other collaboration and still end up getting fired, breaking up, or dissolving a union. Trying to hang on to something that’s already left the building just curdles any good that could have been gained by that situation. Sitting in denial is damaging: it causes you to shut down and close yourself off to reason.
Potential + Love
The year of The Lovers directs our focus towards all type of partnerships. Now is the time for us to examine all the relationships in our lives. We must evaluate if they’re healthy, if we’re giving as much as we’re getting, if the ways we communicate are effective. It’s time for us to reflect on how you’re showing up for others and how they’re showing up for you.
It’s important to find compromise, but only if it’s sustainable. If it means that you have to supress your true spirit: then that means it isn’t sustainable. To do this, we must rise to the occasion and evaluate the situation not with our emotions, but with our sense of reason. You may need to set boundaries, and this could prove to be successful, but those boundaries must be equally respected. Remember: the goal is union, partnerships and a true partnership means mutual respect on every level. This requires work from both sides, not just one.
This year offers lots of great potential in all spheres of love, connection and union. All of this starts by making a commitment to yourself: to love, respect and care for your deepest interest. As our beloved queer ancestor, Oscar Wilde put it: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” It could just be, that the union you make the biggest breakthrough this year is with yourself. Let the romance begin.