In the winter of my life, love left me like a thief in the night, stealing my dreams of a forever romance. The demise of a nearly four-year relationship left me shattered and broken. An incessant search for anything that would make me feel close to whole ensued. I followed my grief down the darkest parts of my psyche, and let myself come undone. I lost myself in music, I lost myself in yoga, I lost myself in work, I lost myself in food, I lost myself in gurus, I lost myself in DIY cigarettes, I lost myself in self-help books, I lost myself in fancy cocktails, I lost myself in friends. By now, you probably get the picture, I lost my self.
Despite the very painful feelings that accompanied my first real heartbreak, during my grieving period, I would learn that that the experience of heartbreak truly is a wondrous and miraculous thing. My broken heart cracked me open, and catapulted me towards my most significant growth spurt. In the glorious book, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, author and philosopher David Whyte speaks to heartbreak, “Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream…But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.”
For what we find along the way…
The Tarot was one of my first lifelines post breakup; a spiritual tool I found along the way to a more holistic and grounded lifestyle. When I first began my journey with The Tarot, I would often consult my Rider Waite deck, always hoping to pull The Lovers card. At the time, I still believed that being in union with another, would remedy my own demons and insecurities. Each time I pulled The Lovers card I would become elated, and surmised, that this was indeed an omen that “The One” was near.
While The Lovers card is sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) a sign that love, partnership and/or platonic friendship is on the way, I have concluded that The Lovers card possesses deeper wisdom that goes beyond the search for the other. Many other Tarot enthusiasts share this sentiment, and I am grateful for their enlightened reflections regarding The Lovers card. As Valentine’s day approaches, and the societal, cultural, and emotional pressure to be partnered intensifies, I invite you to explore the soul and medicine of The Lovers Tarot card.
In the Next World Tarot deck, illustrator and creator Cristy C. Road, reimagines The Fool’s journey in a post-apocalyptic world. This world is guided by radical acceptance of all genders, ethnicities, and bodies. Justice and love prevail, and set the stage for a journey that is intended to bring you back to yourself. Road’s depiction of The Lovers card beautifully captures this message; a woman stands in front of a mirror, her nude reflection lovingly gazes back, and reveals the woman’s innate worthiness and magnificence. It is an exchange between self and soul, one that beckons the question: how can we accept, care, and love ourselves more deeply, so that our own reflection is enough?
In the guidebook that accompanies the Next World Tarot, Road writes, “The Lovers remind us that love does not exist as one narrative where our connections are limited to people and places outside ourselves. Love is constant in a full heart or an aching spine. It’s the decaying of trees in autumn that remind us that struggle and change exhibit our most colorful talents.” In the context of my life, struggle and change have always been the catalyst for soul evolution. I met myself in a dark night, and with the help of The Tarot, walked towards a new dawn.
When I reflect on my past self, the young woman in search of love and validation, I hold her close to my heart. I have deep compassion for anyone who believes that wholeness is beyond their own reach. The Tarot, an excellent therapist, meditation, breath-work, and serious subconscious reprogramming, empowered me to meet my reflection with acceptance and a tender heart. Working intimately with The Lovers archetype, has taught me that everything I search for, is already alive in me and wants to be experienced and expressed through me.
I recently pulled The Lovers card during a late-night Tarot reading. This came at a moment when I felt burdened by life, heavy with its many obligations, and over-identified with the daily grind. I was chasing my ambitions, and soon enough, I was running on empty. Almost immediately, I knew that my mirror was dusty. My reflection needed to be cleansed, nurtured, soothed, and held. Pulling The Lovers card during this contraction, was a gentle push from spirit; my soul was calling me home.