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The Lovers
by jmd

Card Meaning
Artistic Media
Artist's Bio


For the design of this card, I again decided to add to various ambiguities by playing on both a visual perspective - this time from the viewpoint of the Lover himself and his gaze - and on the various ambiguities as to whom the two women refer to.

The card therefore shows two women, one apparently younger looking than the other.

The card number is to be read in its additive form - as 'one-and-five'. The title, L'amoureux, reflects the Marseilles tradition from which my own reflections stem.


I decided to request this card for the project after some reflections from a couple of passages from Against Heresies, by Irenaeus:

This Marcus [a Valentinian] then [...] declares that the infinitely exalted Tetrad descended to him in the form of a woman [...] and expounded to him alone its own nature, and the origin of all things, which it had never before revealed to gods or men

It may be worth remembering that card VI follows card V, and relevant to that final part of the last sentence above - but let me continue:

Moreover, the Tetrad, explaining these things to him more fully, said: << I wish now to show thee Truth [Aletheia] herself; for I have brought her down from the dwellings above, that thou mayest see her without a veil, and understand her beauty - that thou mayest also hear her speaking, and admire her wisdom [Sophia] >>

[...] When the Tetrad had spoken those things, Truth looked at him, opened her mouth, and uttered a word. That word has a name, and the name is this one that we now speak of, viz. Christ-Jesus. [...] For Jesus [IHCOYC] is a name arithmetically symbolical, consisting of six letters, and is known by all those that belong to the called.

Here we have not only two women that are invoked in this passage, but even the only number referred to is that of the card to which I refer: six. Furthermore, within the Christian tradition, it is clearly linked with that of the greatest of virtue, ie, Love.

Truth utters the hexagrammaton in two parts with an open-ness that only Love may accept. The choice which is at times implied in this card may very well be to open one's heart to the intimacy of divine Sophia. Her words are in Greek and Hebrew, uttering those same words as quoted above.

Behind them is that most important of Greek 'philosophical' letters - the Greek-Y. To the left-hand path is indicated a broad trunk, upon which most of humanity travels with ease. Deosil is a thin branch, directing one's gaze to that which none but oneself travels.

Above and in-between them is that letter denoting the sacred - Phi - which heads Philos (Love), and of course Philosophia (Lover of Wisdom). It is as the Sun beyond the Sun.

The arrow descending from the spiritual realms points towards Truth, completing the arrows similarly felt from her very utterance.

Card Meaning

I normally pair each Atouts according to their Roman numerals, and therefore see a close rapport between this and Atout XVI - La Maison Diev (with even more relevance given the above quote of the Tetrad) - as a matter of personal interest, this latter was one of the cards I completed for the previous Aeclectic project.

The card in a reading may indicate that a choice needs to be made, and a decision reached - but careful attention needs to be given to that small voice of Truth which may otherwise be muted.

Artistic Media

Coloured pencils, watercolours and wax crayons on quality paper. The original, which was without border, is approximately A3 in size - larger than my scanner, and thus had to scan centrally the image, losing some of the work at the edges inthe process.

The border and titling was added using PhotoShop v7 on an Apple PowerBook G4 Titanium.

Artist's Bio

jmd has been exposed to the Tarot since birth, but only began serious investigation of this and other esoteric arts and sciences since his early twenties. Since 1982, he has also held various ritualistic positions in a number of esoteric orders located in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to previously teaching philosophy at University, he has also taught Tarot, Astrology, and Kabbalah courses at various other adult educational institutions. jmd now teaches in a Steiner (Waldorf) high school and teacher-training institute. Go back to the project index, read the traditional card meaning, or get a free tarot reading with this deck.

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