|Thoth, Crowley & Harris|
Bottom to top, top to bottom, and side to side, this card is filled with alchemical references that have nothing at all to do with Valentine's Day (even if Cupid is at the top).
Right, so there's a giant Gandalf - I mean The Hermit - with his hood up, arms outstretched, head bowed in suitably wizard-like concentration, his long white beard flowing down, some sort of magical scroll/light ray/divine doo-dah forming around his arms, and he holds his hands over the heads of two small figures wearing ermine-trimmed robes. One of them's black and wears a gold crown, the other is white and wears a silver crown. Black kid on the white woman's side, white kid on the black guy's side. Red lion one side, white eagle the other. These have nothing to do with multi-culturalism but instead to do with the mixing of opposites, on a cosmic sort of level. In the upper corners, we've got what's meant to be a lascivious woman on the left, and a pure woman on the right (she's got her hands in prayer pose). Cupid, or Eros, is fluttering around up there. There are steel swords or some such pointing upward in the background. A winged Orphic egg sits at the bottom of the card. There's a heck of a lot going on.
So we've got a card full of opposites. And as we know, opposite forces do not repel one another; rather, they tend to attract. This card full of opposites is about attraction. (It's about a lot more than that, but for divinatory purposes, there's not much point in going into it. Plus it gives me a headache and I don't understand it. Alchemy. Feh.)
There is a rather beautiful passage in Gerd Ziegler's Tarot: Mirror of the Soul about the opposites:
'This duality which is reflected in every aspect of existence, is existentially experienced in the relations between man and woman. Every attempt at approach, union, connections, is an expression of the passionate urge to re-establish lost Oneness. Every individual, every man and every woman, contains the duality of male and female.'
The interpretation of this card in a reading, then, concerns either: attraction and the desire to merge with things outside oneself, the need or desire to merge the forces within oneself, OR the need to separate and sort out things either inside or outside oneself.
There's a lot more to the Lovers card than smoochies.