The Lovers

The Lovers: Kilravock Castle Layering Beech The lovers card appeals to the emotions and to issues which cannot be resolved by logic and the intellect alone. Often in older packs this was represented by a young man having to make a choice between two women while Cupid hovered above him. The card is about need to listen to one’s heart and the power of attraction. A decision has to be made and it needs to be made with reference to true desires rather than a sense of duty. It is indicative of a happy relationship which may be either in one’s personal life or in business.

The lovers card is also a very alchemical card representing the union of opposites. Often shown as a lion and an eagle representing the alchemical salt and sulphur, or the mystical unioin of male and female. Also, sixes indicate an adjustment in attitudes, thought or conditions. There is a good opportunity for the resolution of a dispute. Friendship, unions and meetings are augured favourably. The card may also indicate that you are coming up against a dilemma and that you will be required to make a decision to resolve it.

Ruled by Gemini, the twins (Castor and Pollux in the night sky) , the symbol for Gemini is shown at the top left of the card. At the top right is Vav, the sixth letter of the Hebrew alefbet corresponding to the card’s position in the major arcana. A specifically alchemical card, this card represents the union of opposites but also division, and is symbolic of God’s refusal to hear the children of Eve until blood had been spilt, resulting in the murder of Abel by Cain.

This has been seen as the giving of science to mankind, the murder symbolising analysis and the subsequent contact, synthesis.

In terms of eastern religious tradition, this can be seen as Shiva, the destroyer, being a necessary intervention before creation can take place. Or again, in terms of dialectical analysis, any thesis generates its antithesis, subsequently resulting in synthesis which produces a thesis for the next cycle.

One old saying amongst sailors is: The lovers' knot is the knot which, once tied by the heart cannot be untied by the tongue. The beech has long been known as the “lovers tree” because of the smoothness of the bark, making it easy to carve one’s initials and the initials of the loved one. They are often known as "trysting trees". The old High German word buchhin, meaning "from Beech wood", became the word for "book" in both German and English.

To read our article on the Beech, CLICK HERE

The illustration on the card is the Layering Beech at Kilravock Castle, where Bonnie Prince Charlie is reputed to have been entertained within the thick walls of this castle the day before the Battle of Culloden in 1745. It is now administered by Ellel Ministries as a hotel and religious retreat. The tree itself is believed to have been planted in the second half of the 17th century which makes it very old for a species not known for longevity.

This particular tree is also known, appropriately for our purposes, as the Kissing Beech, after a member of an early owner’s family and a housemaid were witnessed in an illicit embrace under its spreading limbs. The extensive carving of lovers’ names on the bark suggests that many others have used this tree as a rendezvous.


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