Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Lovers

The Lovers Card: Choices we make

Niki Saint Phalle Tarot
Two people come together and proclaim their love. They are “in love!” Whoop, whoopty do!
This Tarot card is about the relationship of one to another: “I can’t stop thinking about you.” “I can’t live without you!” “Love me Tender.” (Oh, those words from melodramatic love songs.)  Sound familiar? This card is not about a “one night stand” but something much, much more.

Here’s what the artist Niki Saint Phalle said about the Lovers card:
“The card implies there is a wrong and right choice.
A mistake can bring one closer to the truth about ourselves.”
(She was referring to the downfall of Adam and Eve.)
Niki de Saint Phalle and the Tarot Garden, (Bintelli Verlag, 2010)

Metaphorically, the first biblical story tells us right away about making the right or wrong choice: Eve saw the truth of the situation with the evil serpent who told her to eat the fruit; she knew it was evil, but she did it anyway! She ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. A bad choice, and Adam chose to go along with it; another bad choice. (Of course there’s a whole lot more meaning to that encounter, but not here now.)

Sometimes we don’t realize the immeasurable importance and significance of the choices we make, yet we always have a choice. Some of us just stumble into things, but there is always a right choice to be made and some choices are huge and everlasting. The right or wrong choice can affect us the rest of our lives: Should I date that person? Shall I go to college? Should I get a different job? Should I marry so and so and have children and settle down? Should I drink cocktails, take drugs? Go into the military? Save money? Should I move to a new location? Buy a house?

For a while, the situation might be a “maybe” but, eventually, it’s always yes or no, and then we plunge ahead when a choice is made, for better or worse. It seems so simple and obvious because love happens all the time but, as familiarity deepens in a long-term relationship, how are the problems that come up dealt with, like differences of opinion; opposite likes and dislikes? These are situations to be aware of at the beginning of romance, especially when making that ultimate choice: marriage. Trying to change the other person to fit your belief system is not a simple task and usually doesn’t work and difficulties arise. Thousands of novels have been written and hundreds of movies have been made, on everything imaginable about love and the lovers. It’s always about how they are getting along: the ecstasy, the commitment, or broken hearts. And we want to know what the hidden secrets are; the contradictions and tensions of their relationships.

In the classic romantic comedy, “Moonstruck,” Ronny (Nicolas Cage) says to Loretta (Cher): 

“Love don’t make things nice. It breaks your heart…We are here to ruin ourselves and break our hearts and love the wrong people and die.” And then, Rose, (Olympia Dukakis) asks Johnny (Danny Aiello) “What makes men chase women?” He says, among others things, “fear of death.” She says, “That’s it!” (Screenwriter, John P Shanley)

In choosing a partner, mate, faithful companion, or lover, it’s no longer just one person going it alone. Now that one person must deal with someone else and all their “baggage.” This can be a positive experience of a merger into a state of oneness and togetherness in everything or, on the other hand, it can be a divisive mess in the power struggle to understand each other. What does it take to bring joy and delight to one another? What makes it possible for two people to function in a state of oneness? It takes a well thought out agreement and lots of compromises to share power and find a balance. When you want to love, honor, and protect one another, it can be a romantic, beautiful affair, full of blessings, or an angry disaster. What will it be? Your attitude toward togetherness, and feelings about how you should treat each other is part of the choices you make.

“…what we can do is to choose our own self-concepts, emotions, thought processes and behavior. And the more choices we have in each situation, the more we can influence what is happening.”
Choice Centered Relating and the Tarot, (Gail Fairfield, Samuel Weiser, 2000)

If you watched the TV series “Downton Abbey,” there were 4 weddings and one more that wasn’t, when Edith (played by Laura Carmichael) was jilted at the altar. “I can’t do it” He said, and rushed out of the church where the chauffeurs piled on their hats and drove him away. She chose Sir Anthony Strallan (played by Robert Bathurst) hoping to marry him, but he chose to run away. When Matthew chose to marry Lady Mary (Michele Dockery) she (who was always in control) asked Matthew (Dan Stevens) to get down on his “knees and everything” to make a proper proposal of marriage, but she didn’t hesitate and chose to say “yes!” And then, for Mrs. Hughes, (Phyllis Logan) her choice was to say to Carson (Jim Carter) “of course I’ll marry you; you old booby.”  (The story of romantic love, and love lost for TV was by author Julian Fellowes.) Most people love a good mushy love story.

What about the long list of love affairs in literature of the past? Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Solomon and Sheba, and the Hollywood affairs of its famous stars: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy? In contemporary times, we are bombarded by the media with stories about what is happening with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; Jay-Z and Beyonce; George Clooney and Amal, and the choices they made.

When The Lovers card comes up in a reading it’s time to think seriously about what loving another person means to you. What are your expectations? What are your responsibilities? What do you care most about? Are you willing to share everything? Are you dependable, generous, and most of all, fun? For the future, ask yourself what you think will be, or has been, the outcome of giving your “heart” to someone?