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T HE L OVER’S P ATH T AROT by Kris Waldherr creator of The Goddess Tarot

by Kris Waldherr

creator of The Goddess Tarot

T HE L OVER’S P ATH T AROT by Kris Waldherr creator of The Goddess Tarot

Published by U.S. GAMES SYSTEMS, INC.

Copyright © 2004 by Kris Waldherr

All rights reserved. The illustrations, cover design, and contents are protected by copyright. No part of this booklet may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the author, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a mag- azine or newspaper.

First Edition

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Printed in China

ISBN 1-57281-468-3 (The Lover’s Path Tarot Set)

Design by Kris Waldherr Art and Words

Visit The Lover’s Path website at

Published by U.S. GAMES SYSTEMS, INC. 179 Ludlow Street • Stamford, CT 06902 USA

Adapted from The Lover’s Path Tarot book by AnnMarie Mclaughlin.


Many people helped me as I worked on this project in its many stages and forms of development, offering editorial feedback, encouragement, and friendship. It is with gratitude that I acknowl- edge their generosity: Ellen Dreyer, Elise Tobin-Dyer, Sharon Glassman, Stuart Kaplan, Elizabeth Kerkstra, Lisa Hunt Kramer, Thomas Ross Miller, Theresa Park, Stephanie St. Pierre, Lynne Twining and Karen Zuegner. I also wish to acknowledge those who modeled so patiently for the art. They include: Dale Dyer, Elise Tobin-Dyer, Jennifer Johnson, Thomas Ross Miller, Joe Paladino, Stephanie St. Pierre, Charles Schwartz and Christy Vaughn Schwartz. Thank you all!

INTRODUCTION A LL LOVE RELATIONSHIPS mirror our relationship with ourselves. They ultimately reflect upon our


A LL LOVE RELATIONSHIPS mirror our relationship with ourselves. They ultimately reflect upon our relationship with the world around us—how we think others see us, what we believe we are

worthy of. Our beliefs about love relationships can even embody our thoughts about how we feel the universe nurtures and supports us. This truth is a rewarding but complicated conundrum, which all humans confront throughout their lives, for we are surrounded by rela- tionships from our first breath. They begin with our dependence upon our parents for our very existence, and continue as we grow through our friendships. They reach their perhaps most intense expression in the mag- ical, self-contained world of lovers. In many ways, the ultimate expression of our connection to the world is to fall in love. Daring to love another brings us face to face with what- ever is going on within ourselves, for better or for worse. Love can be viewed as the bravest act of all, for in order to be truly intimate, we must be honest in our vulnerabilities. As we reveal our innermost selves to our beloved with all of our imperfect glories, we are truly exposed in both body and soul. Experienced authentically, love relationships offer the sweetest rewards and the thorniest challenges. They also present us with an unpar- alleled opportunity to gain awareness and wisdom. The Lover’s Path Tarot is a tool to examine and improve relation- ships—whether they be with yourself, with your beloved, or with the world. Examining our preconceptions about love, the ways we yearn to connect with another, what we desire in a partner, is an act of self-illumi- nation. More importantly, it’s one way to take personal responsibility for our lives.



T HE ART FOR The Lover’s Path Tarot was inspired by my first visit to Italy in 1990. Accordingly, the art for The Lover’s Path Tarot is

inspired by the art, architecture, books, and maps of the Italian Renaissance. The decorative borders for each card were painted in gouache upon handmade paper. Other elements incorporated into the borders—the map backgrounds, the oil paintings of the elements—were digitally assembled. The main card art was created with oil paints glazes, which were lay- ered over a watercolor underpainting sealed with acrylic gel medium. The paintings were modeled for by friends and associates, each person chosen because they reminded me in some manner of the character they repre- sented. In this way, the art reflects my personal belief that the human is divine, the divine human.


L IKE MOST TRADITIONAL tarot decks, The Lover’s Path Tarot contains sseventy-eight cards. These seventy-eight cards are divided into twenty-

two major arcana cards and fifty-six minor arcana cards. Each major arcana card is affiliated with a story of a famous couple from history or mythology. Accordingly, each card is named after arche- typal emotional states represented by the stories; these, in turn, are related to traditional tarot symbolism. In the minor arcana, the great themes explored in the major arcana are brought to earth, made relevant to our individual experiences. The minor arcana is divided into four suits of cups, staves, arrows, and coins, which are related to the elements of water, fire, air, and earth. Each suit repre- sents one classic love story, with each card progressively depicting an important scene from the story. They serve to impart the lesson associated with each suit. Meanings for reversed, or upside-down, cards are included here. These can be used as you wish. I prefer to think of cards as being strong or weak by considering the question asked, tarot spread position, and sur- rounding cards. For more information on reversed cards, see page 30.


THE MAJOR ARCANA O Q INNOCENCE Traditional Card: The Fool Lovers: Tamino and Pamina Keywords:



Traditional Card: The Fool Lovers: Tamino and Pamina Keywords: New Ventures, Innocence, Trust, Optimism

The Magic Flute was the last opera Mozart composed before his death in 1791. Some of its fairy tale plot was inspired by the rites of the Freemasons,

a secret society into which Mozart had been initiated. The Magic Flute tells

of a princess named Pamina and a prince named Tamino who learn to trust

their hearts, innocent and inexperienced as they may be. MEANINGS: The start of a great journey. Innocence that allows one to be open to possibilities, and protects from difficulties. Facing fears. Trusting your heart. Feeling protected by divine forces. REVERSED: Ignoring your better instincts. Cynicism and pessimism. Distrust of the self or others.


Traditional Card: The Magician Lovers: Merlin and Vivianne Keywords: Self Empowerment, Mastery, Actualization, Growth When we think of magic, we often think of Merlin. Famed as the influential advisor and wizard to King Arthur, Merlin fell in love in the winter of his life with the lovely Vivianne. In time, Vivianne used the very spells Merlin taught her to entrap him. Ultimately, the magic that empowered Merlin all his life had been undone by the only thing more powerful—love. MEANINGS: Developing the magic within yourself. Casting a spell on another to create positive change. A yearning to grow beyond perceived limitations. Renewed creativity and vigor. REVERSED: Blocked power. Feeling under the spell of another. Manipulating or using others. A need to control situations behind the scenes. Secrecy. Trickster behavior, which creates distrust.



Traditional Card: The High Priestess Lovers: Shahrazade and Shahriyar Keywords: Knowledge, Education, Enlightenment Over the course of a thousand and one nights, Shahrazade, the wise bride of King Shahriyar, tells many compelling stories. Shahrazade’s wisdom won the king’s love and trust. In doing so, she saved her life—as well as those of her fellow women of the kingdom. MEANINGS: Wisdom gained from education. Translating book learning into understanding. A teacher who will share with you what you are seek- ing. Using wisdom to transform a difficult situation for the better. REVERSED: Unwillingness to learn. Superficiality. Intimidated by intelligence or education. Feeling limited by a lack of knowledge or understanding.


Traditional Card: The Empress Lovers: Cleopatra and Caesar Keywords: Fecundity, Abundance, Growth Cleopatra, queen of the fertile Nile, reigned as empress of Egypt for over two decades. During this time, she became known throughout the ancient world for her seductive charms, musical voice, and unusual intelligence. Caesar immediately fell in love with the young queen and successfully helped her regain her throne. Together they had a child they named Caesarion. MEANINGS: Ruling over one’s life. A new marriage or special relationship. Practical action that manifests as physical product—children, artistic endeavors, or wealth. Pregnancy. REVERSED: Deprivation or sterility. Feeling the lack of material resources. Limitation that overwhelms.


Traditional Card: The Emperor Lovers: Arthur and Guinevere Keywords: Leadership, Responsibility, Authority The legend of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere appears in various forms in British, Breton, Celtic, and Roman history and folklore. From the first


moment he saw her willowy form, Arthur loved Guinevere, the daughter of King Leodegrace of the North. But Guinevere loved Lancelot, the king’s most loyal knight. Though Merlin warned Arthur that another woman would bring him greater happiness, the king’s heart was irrevocably set. Arthur used his power to marry Guinevere, just as he used his power to rule wisely. MEANINGS: The ability to use power wisely. Meeting an authority figure or teacher who can help. The ability to lead and inspire. REVERSED:

Oppressed by another’s power and authority. Insecurity. Passive aggres- sion. Using power to manipulate others for personal gain.


Traditional Card: The Hierophant Lovers: Romeo and Juliet Keywords: Structure, Conformity, Ritual Romeo and Juliet are considered the quintessential example of star-crossed lovers. Trapped by their families’ traditional hatred for each other, their love could only have a tragic ending. Sad as their tale may be, the love of Romeo and Juliet did bring an end to the tradition of intolerance that plagued their families. It gave way to a new tradition of peace and understanding. MEANINGS: Following established social structures. In love relationships, the desire for marriage or some other formal structure for the sake of security. Awareness of public image and the desire to control it. Possible rigidity. REVERSED: The need to throw out old social structures that con- strain. Fear of unconventional ideas and ways of approach. Nonconformity.


Traditional Card: The Lovers Lovers: Isis and Osiris Keywords: Love, Harmony, Passion, Sensuality The myth of Isis and Osiris illustrates the power of love and how it can trans- form us irrevocably. Isis and Osiris were blissful in their love for each other. Jealousy ate at their brother Set’s soul, granting him no rest. He trapped Osiris in a coffin and heaved him into the Nile. Using the power of her love, the goddess brought Osiris back to life for a final embrace.


MEANINGS: Awareness of the nature of passionate love, and what is needed to encourage it. A new, important relationship. Peace within oneself. Love that transforms the world around you as well as yourself. REVERSED:

Feeling unworthy of love. Manipulating others with sexuality. Immaturity and irresponsibility in love relationships. Game playing.


Traditional Card: The Chariot Lovers: Tristan and Isolde Keywords: Movement, Fate, Transition, Change Without family of his own, Tristan pledged his loyalty to King Mark of Cornwall, who loved and cared for Tristan as his own son. Through irre- versible twists of fate—and despite devotion to Mark—Tristan fell helplessly in love with Mark’s bride, Isolde, and she with him. MEANINGS: Being pulled by desire. Movement into the next phase of life. If you are feeling impatient, don’t worry—transitions will go smoothly, as if they are meant to be. REVERSED: Impatience. Trapped by desires that feel unquenchable. Inconvenient timing. Disregard or insensitivity to the portents around yourself.


Traditional Card: Strength Lovers: Siegfried and Brunnhilde Keywords: Courage, Strength, Leadership, Confidence The Valkyrie Brunnhilde was the favorite child of her father Wotan, divine ruler of the gods and goddesses. Brunnhilde angered Wotan by betraying him when she was moved by mortal Siegmund’s story of love. For the first time, she understood the power of love, which made her strong enough to go against her father’s will—she agreed to help Siegmund, though Wotan had ordered her not to. This led to Brunnhilde finding her own true love with Siegfried, the son of Siegmund. MEANINGS: The transformation of weakness into strength. Integrity. The strength to do great deeds. Confident leadership. REVERSED: Feeling insecure or fearful. The scattering of energies. Creating discord to weaken others.



Traditional Card: The Hermit Lovers: Abelard and Eloise Keywords: Withdrawal, Introspection, Retreat Peter Abelard was famed as a brilliant theologian and teacher during the medieval ages. Abelard quickly became known for mastery of philosophical dialogue and independence of thought; he even went against church policy and took positions sympathetic to pagan traditions. However it was his love for Eloise that caused the biggest scandal. The story of their forbidden love is set out in Abelard’s 1130 book, The History of My Calamities. MEANINGS: Listening to your heart. Retreat into inner life—at this time, your needs are not so focused on relationships with others, but on your relationship with yourself. REVERSED: Distracted by the world. Ignoring intuition. Superficiality. Feeling unconnected with your heart.


Traditional Card: The Wheel of Fortune Lovers: Danae and Zeus Keywords: Chance, Fate, Expansion, Prosperity King Acrisius had a daughter named Danae—a princess with a curse, for upon her birth it was predicted that one of the princess’s offspring would kill the king. When Danae came of age, the king walled her within a tower made of bronze. Despite this, Danae was loved by Zeus and together they had a son named Perseus. Perseus grew into a strong man and after many adventures, he did slay Acrisius—a just punishment for treating his only daughter so cruelly. MEANINGS: Positive fate. The generosity of the universe. The ability to be open to abundance. Awareness of beauty and love. REVERSED:

Uncomfortable feelings or disappointing experiences with chance. Feeling ignored by fortune—when will it be your turn?



Traditional Card: Justice Lovers: Penelope and Odysseus Keywords: Justice, Wisdom, Fairness, Detachment The story of Penelope and Odysseus is told in Homer’s The Odyssey. Though Odysseus had been gone for ten long years, Penelope waited loyally for his return. However, she was overwhelmed with suitors who wished to fill the empty place in her marital bed. Through her cleverness, she managed to delay their advances. Pretending to be a new suitor, Odysseus won a contest Penelope had devised and slew all the suitors before claiming his wife anew. MEANINGS: Justice will be done. Confident patience. Need for a more detached viewpoint of a troublesome situation. REVERSED: Frustration with bureaucracies or organizations. Impatience. The appearance of this card shows that this is a temporary situation.


Traditional Card: The Hanged Man Lovers: Orpheus and Eurydice Keywords: Impasse, Surrender, Patience, Compassion Orpheus was the son of Apollo. With his songs Orpheus moved the hearts of humans and gods. He was loved by the nymph Eurydice and he loved her wildly in return. Eurydice was killed soon after they wed. Distraught and mad with sorrow, Orpheus decided to rescue her with his song. He stood before Persephone, goddess of the dead and sang until she relented and hon- ored his request, but with a difficult condition: Orpheus must not look at his wife until they were safely home. Orpheus failed this test as he sacrificed his quest to ease Eurydice’s insecurities. MEANINGS: Being caught between worlds. Short term sacrifice to reach a long awaited goal. Taking care of others’ needs, even if they’re not in your personal interest. Gaining compassion from difficult experiences. REVERSED: Feeling unable to make the sacrifice a situation requires. Creating difficulties for oneself.



Traditional Card: Death Lovers: Persephone and Pluto Keywords: Changes, Endings, Beginnings Demeter, goddess of the harvest, had a daughter named Persephone whom she treasured more than the earth. When Persephone was abducted by Pluto, god of the underworld, Demeter cursed the soil to be barren until Zeus final- ly agreed to reunite Persephone with her mother—but only if she had not eaten while in the underworld. Persephone had eaten six seeds of a pome- granate. Thus a compromise was reached: Each year, Persephone would live six months in the underworld (winter) and six months on earth (spring). MEANINGS: Transformations. The need to allow something to die in order to create room for the new. Fear of loss from change. Creating life out of death. REVERSED: Stagnation. Resisting transformation. The need to move in a new direction, but the inability to do so. Rigidity.


Traditional Card: Temperance Lovers: Venus and Vulcan Keywords: Harmony, Self Control, Equilibrium, Artistry Venus was first worshipped as a nature goddess associated with the arrival of spring, only later gaining notoriety for her sensual exploits. To balance her nat- ural exuberance, the gods wed her to Vulcan, the lame god of the forge. Venus did not appreciate her husband’s skillful craftsmanship and she did not hesi- tate to share her affections with others. Despite this, Venus and Vulcan’s mar- riage endured. Each was necessary to the other as opposites often are. MEANINGS: Integration and moderation. Balance between opposites. Union of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche. REVERSED:

Imbalance. Discomfort. Inability to find peace within or with others. Lack of inspiration.


Traditional Card: The Devil Lovers: Paolo and Francesca Keywords: Inner Turmoil, Obsession


Francesca Da Polenta of Ravenna was married to Giovanni Malatesta to strengthen their families’ political bonds. But there was one problem:

Francesca loved Giovanni’s brother, the handsome Paolo. Tempted by love, Francesca and Paolo’s story could only end in sorrow. These true events inspired the poet Dante, who had a vision of Paolo tenderly embracing Francesca to protect her against the forces swirling about them in Hades. Dante retold their sad story in his Inferno, the first book of The Divine Comedy. MEANINGS: Tempted by forces one cannot control. Obsession in the form of envy. Sensual desires. The need to be controlling. REVERSED: Freedom from temptation. Experiencing the envy of others. Transforming a weak- ness into a strength.


Traditional Card: The Tower Lovers: Dido and Aeneas Keywords: Depression, Difficulties, Release Queen Dido of Carthage was walking upon the beach when she found Aeneas and his soldiers. She was charmed by the handsome stranger and soon fell in love. Aeneas loved Dido in return. But he was a man with a cause larger than the love he could bear for any woman. He claimed it was the gods’ will that he journey to found a new Troy in Italy. Distraught, Dido built a funeral pyre at the top of a tall tower and set fire to it. As Aeneas’ ship cast off into the sea, Dido climbed the tower and lay down upon the pyre. MEANINGS: Feeling overwhelmed or oppressed by circumstances or emo- tions. Confusion. Inability to change our lives for the better. A pause before moving into a new phase of life. REVERSED: Though your situation may feel overwhelming, hidden forces are at work. Be patient and trust- ing—things will improve.


Traditional Card: The Star Lovers: Dante and Beatrice Keywords: Inspiration, Hope, Dreams


Beatrice’s presence made such an impression on Dante that he felt as though his spirit had been infused with light. He was convinced that she was truly an angel and was unable to speak to her when they met. Since he said noth- ing, Beatrice did not suspect Dante’s love. Soon after she wedded another, the anguished Dante had an inspiring dream of Beatrice with the god Amor. He awoke resolved that his love for Beatrice would be no earthly passion to expire when they died. Instead, he would immortalize Beatrice with poems that would last forever. MEANINGS: Love that inspires us and inspires others. Turning dreams into reality. Awareness of goals. The belief and self esteem to meet them. REVERSED: Not following your bliss. Insecurity. Feelings of unworthiness. Ignoring intuition.


Traditional Card: The Moon Lovers: Odette and Ivan Keywords: Fantasies, Intuition, Emotion, Enchantment Princess Odette, heroine of the popular ballet Swan Lake, was cursed by a sorcerer to remain a swan forever except at night. The only way her enchant- ment could be broken was by a vow of eternal love—however, if this vow were broken, even by chance, she would die. When Prince Ivan met her, he promised to love her and to return to claim her as his bride. But the sorcerer tricked Ivan and he soon heard a heartrending cry in the distance—the cry of a dying swan. Ivan ran to rescue Odette, but it was too late. MEANINGS: Enchanted by love, for better or worse. Confused by illusions that may or may not be real. Intense emotions. The need to know what’s real. REVERSED: Delusion. Deception. Discomfort with emotions or rela- tionships. Lack of satisfaction.


Traditional Card: The Sun Lovers: Cupid and Psyche Keywords: Creativity, Success, Fertility, Optimism Venus was jealous of Psyche’s outstanding beauty. She instructed her son Cupid to pierce Psyche with his arrow, so she would foolishly love the first creature she saw. But Cupid loved Psyche. He rescued her and secretly took


her as his bride. Psyche burned Cupid by accident when she tried to see him by lamplight and the angered god flew away. Venus put forth many trials to Psyche when she pleaded for her forgiveness. Cupid and Psyche were soon rejoined, awakened to the preciousness of their love by its testing. MEANINGS: Emotional awakening. An expansive, life-affirming energy that brings opportunities and optimism. Love and sexuality. Creativity and procreation. Relationships with children. REVERSED: Unwillingness to accept affection. Problems with children. Creativity blocked by exter- nal or internal forces. Refusal to grow.


Traditional card: Judgment Lovers: Tannhauser and Elisabeth Keywords: Choices, Passages, Changes Though Tannhauser loved the virtuous Elisabeth, he left her to wander the world in search of adventure. During these travels, Tannhauser enchanted Venus, the goddess of love. She quickly seduced the minnesinger and brought him to her magical kingdom. In time, he longed for his true love—Elisabeth. Unable to prove himself worthy of her to others, he went on a journey to repent. Upon his return Elisabeth collapsed into his embrace and expired, leaving only her pure love behind. MEANINGS: A choice that must be made, sometimes between higher and lower impulses. Passage into the next phase of life. Self knowledge. REVERSED: Stagnation. Inability to act. Blockage. Giving up control.


Traditional Card: The World Lovers: Ariadne and Dionysus Keywords: Expansion, Success, Travel, Closure Princess Ariadne helped Theseus slay the Minotaur by teaching him to use a golden thread as a path within the labyrinth where the Minotaur lived. Ariadne thought they would live together forever, but Theseus abandoned her upon the island of Naxos. Bereft as she was, Ariadne did not know she was fated for a greater love—Dionysus, god of divine intoxication. He loved Ariadne for her passionate bravery and loyalty. Now a goddess by marriage, she went on to live in blissful triumph with her immortal husband.


MEANINGS: Triumph after difficulties. Feeling supported by the universe. Happy closure to a phase of life. Travel and communications. REVERSED:

Fear of expansion. Feeling pessimistic—even if you’re uncertain how your future will manifest, you are moving into a more hopeful period.


The Suit of Cups

LOVERS: TRISTAN AND ISOLDE I N THE LOVER’S PATH TAROT, the suit of cups represents the path of emotion. It is associated with Tristan and Isolde, represented upon

Desire (VII), the eighth of the twenty-two major arcana cards. The story of Tristan and Isolde presents a heady example of lives ruled by extreme emotions such as love, desire, sorrow, yearning, and anger.


Keywords: Receptivity, Emotion, Inspiration, Satisfaction MEANINGS: The beginning of a new cycle ripe with potential for happi- ness and satisfaction. Joy. Start of an important love relationship or nur- turing friendship. Creative inspiration—a visitation from the Muses. REVERSED: Rejection of others’ affection. Creative blocks. Disillusionment with love. Sadness or melancholy.


Keywords: Harmony, Partnership, Love MEANINGS: Enchantment. The integration of masculine and feminine aspects within oneself. An attraction that may become an important friendship or love relationship. REVERSED: Infatuation. Overindulging in sensuality for the sake of the emotional “high.”


Keywords: Celebration, Joy, Happy Unions MEANINGS: Great satisfaction. Peace between family generations or ene- mies. A celebration involving women. Possibly a wedding feast. REVERSED:

Overindulgence. Procrastination. Time to get back to work!



Keywords: Dissatisfaction, Overindulgence, Boredom

MEANINGS: Taking something for granted—love, talents, beauty. Need for

a more authentic life. Reevaluation of a relationship that feels superficial. REVERSED: Acceptance of the situation, though discontent is still present.

A passing phase.


Keywords: Disappointment, Sadness, Pessimism MEANINGS: Feeling trapped. Concentrating on problems instead of assets. Not seeing opportunities. Creative blockage or infertility. REVERSED: A growing awareness that relationships are what you make of them. The ability to appreciate what one has.


Keywords: Memories, Children, Innocence, Peace MEANINGS: Children and childhood memories. Shedding sad thoughts and constraints. The ability to create sweetness within the home, incor- porating the strengths of the past into the present. REVERSED: Feeling restricted by the past or memories. Lost harmony. Cynicism.


Keywords: Choices, Indecisiveness, Fantasy MEANINGS: Overindulging in thoughts of what the future may bring. Daydreams. A decision must be made in order to move forward and rejoin the world. REVERSED: Allowing fantasies to influence how you view life. Projecting onto others instead of seeing things as they truly are.


Keywords: Leavetakings, Disillusionment, Transitions MEANINGS: Time to move on. Need for more substance in life—whether that be more satisfying relationships, or a more authentic way of life. REVERSED: Lingering too long in a difficult or superficial situation. Uncertainty about a relationship, whether to stay or leave. Doubts.



Keywords: Ecstasy, Granting of Wishes, Sensuality MEANINGS: Joyful sensuality. Reunion with a loved one. Some consider this card to be the“wish”card, meaning a wish will be granted if it appears in a tarot reading. REVERSED: Complacency. Taking a relationship for granted. Overindulgence. Inability to receive pleasure. Dissatisfaction.


Keywords: Joyful Closure, Fertility, Happiness, Community MEANINGS: Satisfying emotional life. Abundance. Deep emotional satis- faction. Endurance in love relationships. Expansion of family or friends in your community. REVERSED: Dissatisfaction though uncertain why— everything looks perfect on the surface. An inability to experience joy.


Keywords: Gentleness, Intuition, An Invitation, Loyalty MEANINGS: Grace and talent. Emotional receptivity. An enticing invita- tion. REVERSED: An empty offer or invitation. Fickleness or immaturity of affection. Inconsistent or unreliable messages. Ambivalence. Codependence.


Keywords: Inspiration, Grace, Pleasure, Artistry MEANINGS: Grace and talent. Making dreams into reality. A young man who represents the forces of love, beauty, and emotional richness and has the ability to inspire. REVERSED: The need to be more receptive to beauty, love, and harmony. Overindulgence in fantasies.


Keywords: Soulfulness, Emotion, Inspiration, Receptivity MEANINGS: Emotional mastery of all the suit of cups represents: Art, beauty, intimacy, love. Seductive emotions. The ability to express love, to nurture others. REVERSED: Overwhelmed by emotions that need sorting. Need to take control of these feelings. Disharmonious relationships.



Keywords: Practical Artistry, Mastery, Emotional Wisdom MEANINGS: Learning from love relationships. Ability to live up to ideals and dreams. Emotional maturity, wisdom, and integrity. Someone who symbolizes these forces. REVERSED: Desire to have more control over one’s artistic aspirations. Need to stop fantasizing and get to work. Inconsistency. Unreliability.


The Suit of Staves

LOVERS: SIEGFRIED AND BRUNNHILDE T HE ACTION-PACKED suit of staves arrives after the mysterious realm of emotions explored within the suit of cups. In The Lover’s Path

Tarot, the suit of staves is associated with Brunnhilde and Siegfried, rep- resented upon Strength (VIII), the ninth of the twenty-two major arcana cards. The story of Brunnhilde and Siegfried shows how the force of love can spur us to great deeds,making us strong where we were once weak.


Keywords: Energy, Growth, Action, Creativity MEANINGS: Beginning of a focused period of growth. Inspiration that inspires action. New opportunities. The masculine, or yang, aspect of life. REVERSED: Difficulties with new ventures. The need to focus.


Keywords: New Ventures, Partnership, Ideas MEANINGS: Beginnings of a new venture. Helpful influences. A dynamic partnership. Transforming inspiration into action. REVERSED: Venture that loses momentum after a promising start. Disappointment in proj- ects. Frustration or impatience. Needing help.



Keywords: Waiting, Successful Enterprises, Planning MEANINGS: An enterprise about to cumulate in success. The ability to transform goals into realistic action. Focused activity. REVERSED:

Ambitious plans that may not be grounded in reality. Frustrating delays.


Keywords: Stability, Creating a Home, Closure MEANINGS: A new home. Accomplishing goals and enjoying them. First success of a new venture. Satisfaction. Possibly a marriage or domestic partnership. Closure to an unstable situation. REVERSED: Wanting stabil- ity. Frustrations or disappointments at home.


Keywords: Conflict, Competition, Dissension MEANINGS: Ego-oriented competition. Losing sight of what’s important because of petty disagreements. REVERSED: Moving beyond petty con- cerns and worries to understand what’s important. Unifying forces.


Keywords: Triumph, Honor, Heroism MEANINGS: Enjoying success after much hard work and struggle. Acknowledgment and honor from those around you. The fruits of courage and integrity. REVERSED: Victory is elusive. You’ve done the work, you deserve the honors, but they haven’t come—perhaps because of a lack of awareness in those around you. Lack of courage or honor.


Keywords: Defense, Combat, Struggle MEANINGS: Instability. Success is possible, but only after dealing with difficult people or situations that oppose your intentions. Be careful not to let their mess become yours. REVERSED: Feeling overwhelmed. Being your own worst enemy. Creating problems to distract from what is really going on.



Keywords: Sudden Communications, Movement, Release MEANINGS: Energetic movement. Quickness and suddenness. Unknown information finally released that makes sense. REVERSED: Waiting too long for communication. Perhaps it is time to take the initiative, to create waves. Waiting for others to make the first move. Passiveness.


Keywords: Responsibility, Pause Before Success, Work MEANINGS: Temporary success. A pause in work to rest, to reconsider plans. Need for protection or separation from others who may not be fully supportive in order to finish a project. REVERSED: Feeling over- whelmed by work. Need for a break. Denial of responsibilities.


Keywords: Cumulation, Success, Creativity MEANINGS: The cumulation of the creative venture begun with the one of staves. Success that becomes overwhelming with its responsibility. REVERSED: Overwhelmed and burdened by responsibilities.


Keywords: New Ideas, Communications, Enthusiasm MEANINGS: Important communications. Need to listen to inspiration. An inexperienced young person who may be very passionate but not very experienced. REVERSED: Too much energy and not enough focus. Ideas and messages that fizzle out after initial enthusiasm.


Keywords: Passion, Integrity, Action, Movement MEANINGS: The ability to create change in the world. Initiative. New ideas or ventures that must be acted upon immediately. REVERSED: Scattered energy. Hesitation. Inability to focus on matters at hand. Need to develop skills to bring dreams into reality.



Keywords: Power, Cleverness, Talent MEANINGS: Intelligence and power applied to creating pragmatic actions, material goods, business expansion. Wit and wisdom. Enthusiasm and action. Support. REVERSED: Waiting too long to use your forces. Not showing the world your strengths. Feeling powerless.


Keywords: Confidence, Mastery, Support MEANINGS: Dynamic, stable enthusiasm. The ability to bring ideas to fruition. Creative inspiration and help. REVERSED: Wanting to harness these forces, but not quite strong enough to do so. Someone who seems supportive, but isn’t reliable.


The Suit of Arrows

LOVERS: CUPID AND PSYCHE J UST AS FIRE, associated with the preceding suit of staves, burns us to take action in our lives, arrows prick our consciousness into awaken-

ing. In The Lover’s Path Tarot, the suit of arrows is associated with Cupid

and Psyche, represented upon Awakening (XIX), the twentieth of the twenty-two major arcana cards. The myth of Cupid and Psyche depicts how love grants wisdom. Love transforms us, just as Cupid’s magical arrows transforms all who are struck by them.


Keywords: Wisdom, Understanding, Intelligence MEANINGS: The incisive powers of the heart. Clarity and good judgment. Truth. Beginning of a cycle of intellectual growth. REVERSED: Need for thought. Self-recrimination and rejection of personal power to blame others. Confusion.



Keywords: Peace, Truce, Impasse MEANINGS: Understanding a difficult situation. Balance attained, but eventually issues will have to be confronted. Emotional control. REVERSED: Discomfort with a decision. Overreliance on intellect, leaving emotions unconsidered.


Keywords: Loss, Sorrow, Oversensitivity MEANINGS: A sharp pain to the heart—disappointment, end of a love relationship, separation. Sorrow that can enlighten or debilitate. Time for healing. The need to transform grief into understanding. REVERSED:

Overindulging in grief for the sake of drama. Slow easing of sorrow.


Keywords: Healing, Introspection, Isolation MEANINGS: Need time to heal or rest. Peace after emotional disappoint- ment. Detachment from the everyday world to regain balance. REVERSED:

Enforced isolation. Loneliness. Needing a more detached view of problems.


Keywords: Struggle, Distrust, Arguments MEANINGS: Lack of trust that leads to conflict. Possible defeat or feelings of defeat. The need for self-protection or caution. Discomfort or struggle with a situation. REVERSED: Disingenuous surrender. Defeat because of indecisiveness. Paranoia. Dishonesty.


Keywords: Transitions, Travel, Movement MEANINGS: Transitions that go smoothly. New knowledge that helps one move beyond current limitations. The lessening of difficulties. Detachment to better understand a situation. REVERSED: More under- standing of a situation is needed before it can change. Travel delays.



Keywords: Defense, Caution, Self-Protection MEANINGS: Feeling vulnerable. The ability to defend oneself in a difficult situation. Need for caution and examination. REVERSED: Paranoia. Feeling defensive. Guilt. Denying need for protection.


Keywords: Depression, Entrapment, Victimization MEANINGS: Entrapped by emotions and sorrow. Inability to move. Feeling victimized. Extreme sorrow. REVERSED: Things may not be as bad as they seem. Obsession with personal problems to the detriment of others. Problems that may come from within. Narcissism.


Keywords: Anxiety, Unresolved Issues, Insomnia MEANINGS: Worries that keep one awake. An issue that needs to be looked at more closely—only then will it be transformed. Trials and tribulations. Guilt. Psychic disturbances. REVERSED: The fading away of these worries. Catharsis. Understanding. The ability to transform pain into strength.


Keywords: Understanding, Cumulation, Wisdom MEANINGS: Perfect emotional wisdom gained through experience. The ending of a difficult situation. Sharing knowledge with others. REVERSED:

More needs to be considered before complete understanding can be gained. Overwhelmed by too much information. Getting lost in details.


Keywords: Messages, Education, Articulation MEANINGS: News that brings sense to a situation. The ability to create influence and bring understanding, using the power of words. REVERSED:

Waiting for news. Not understanding as much as one would like to. Ignorance. Confusion.



Keywords: Decisiveness, Clarity, Determination MEANINGS: The ability to move in an incisive way. Creating clarity from confusion. Being able to defend oneself brilliantly. Helping others with words. REVERSED: Not understanding as much as one would like to. Feeling unable to stand up for oneself, inarticulate.


Keywords: Brilliance, Honesty, Wisdom MEANINGS: Wisdom in matters of the heart. Self knowledge. Brilliance in writing and speaking. REVERSED: May symbolize loss or wounds—despite good intentions, sharp words wound people and affect relationships. Psychological or emotional manipulation.


Keywords: Authority, Responsibility, Detachment MEANINGS: Calm authority and integrity. Perfect understanding. Incisive intellect. High values that demand hard work. REVERSED: Placing too much trust in the intellect. Being too critical. Emotional detachment.


The Suit of Coins

LOVERS: DANAE AND ZEUS C OINS SYMBOLIZE the best the world can offer us, which can only be manifested by undergoing the three preceding suits of cups, staves,

and arrows. In The Lover’s Path Tarot, the suit of coins are associated with Danae and Zeus, represented upon Fortune (X), the eleventh of the twenty-two major arcana cards. The myth of Danae was considered during the Italian Renaissance to be a metaphor for the courtesan—a


woman, much like a geisha, who was able to create her own independ- ent fortune by accepting coin for conversation and affection. Danae’s journey, as she grows from an innocent princess to the wealthy respected mother of a hero, depicts the power of the suit of coins to transform lives.


Keywords: Fertility, Growth, Prosperity MEANINGS: The beginning of a new phase filled with good fortune. Attainment of material goals. Contentment in personal life. REVERSED: A desire to reap the fruits of labor. Elusive success.


Keywords: Choices, Juggling, Balance MEANINGS: The ability to juggle several situations at once—jobs, oppor- tunities, ideas. Opposing desires. Balance between the earthly and the spiritual worlds. REVERSED: Taking on too much for now. Feeling over- whelmed by demands. Overcommitting oneself.


Keywords: Building, Manifestation, Construction MEANINGS: Building of career, relationships, or home. The ability to man- ifest material goods or business success. Cooperating with others to con- struct such a venture. REVERSED: Recheck plans for expansion—are they practical? Time to confer with those who may be more experienced.


Keywords: Wealth, Security, Inheritance MEANINGS: Stability of material forces in one’s life. A family inheri- tance—this could be a talent, money, land, or a quality that adds richness to life. Satisfaction. REVERSED: Being miserly with wealth, talents. Conversely, being an overly generous spendthrift. Need to conserve and protect resources.



Keywords: Poverty, Insecurity, Spiritual Richness MEANINGS: An experience of poverty that forces one to look within for greater resources. This poverty may be personified as a lack of wealth or in a sense of emotional sterility. REVERSED: These feelings are transitory. Have faith in the future—a more prosperous phase of life is on its way.


Keywords: Generosity, Helping Others, Charity, Fortune MEANINGS: Appreciation. Trusting in the prosperity of the universe. Helping others who are less fortunate. REVERSED: Using wealth to manip- ulate others. Giving with expectations. Resenting those who need help.


Keywords: Patience, Expectations, Nurturing MEANINGS: Waiting for a harvest of a creative project, personal relation- ship, or any venture that time and work is invested in. Tending your“garden.” REVERSED: Impatience. Insecurity about whether the reward received for the work rendered will be worth it.


Keywords: Talent, Compensation, Work MEANINGS: Fair payment. Meeting deadlines. Developing talents for the marketplace. Working with integrity and discipline. REVERSED: Avoiding work. Need to bring talents to the next level—perhaps it is time for voca- tional education. Dissatisfaction with payment for work done.


Keywords: Luxury, Prosperity, Fertility, Pleasure MEANINGS: Feeling blessed by life. Enjoying the fruits of one’s labors. Material prosperity—now that this has been accomplished, perhaps it is time to create a family. REVERSED: Overindulgence in material pleasures, perhaps to the point of compromising financial stability. Guilt over pos- sessing so much; inability to enjoy it. Fear of envy or jealousy.



Keywords: Cumulation, Prosperity, Expansion, Property MEANINGS: Great satisfaction. Creating a family to share wealth with. The successful cumulation of business plans. An inheritance. REVERSED:

Discontent at home or difficulties with family relationships. Elusive suc- cess on the material plane.


Keywords: Taking Responsibility, Messages, Fertility MEANINGS: Gaining the knowledge necessary to make an idea a reality. Practical planning. Mail or messages that bring possibilities for expan- sion. Business opportunities. REVERSED: Too much time thinking, not enough doing. Waiting for money, business news. Unrealistic planning.


Keywords: Opportunities, Hard Work, Development MEANINGS: The hard work and wisdom necessary to create growth. Seeking opportunities for development. Taking care of the self on the material level, and enjoying the pleasures associated with this. REVERSED:

Inertia or laziness. Not taking action or responsibilities.


Keywords: Fertility, Prosperity, Beauty, Generosity MEANINGS: Creating prosperity and harmony. Fertility, possibly parent- hood. Loyalty. Warmth and affection. Love. REVERSED: Need to ground oneself.An overmaterialistic orientation to life.Disappointment in the home.


Keywords: Persistence, Business Acumen, Riches, Success MEANINGS: The ability to create wealth. Real estate transactions. Investments—money or emotional. Steadfastness and persistence. REVERSED: Need to be more realistic. Involvement with people who may promise more than they are able to deliver.



T HE SIMPLEST WAY to work with The Lover’s Path Tarot is to meditate upon a chosen card. Use its images and symbols as a starting point

for self-examination, the same way you would a dream and its accompa- nying symbolism. While you do so, you might like to try a technique sometimes used in Gestalt therapy. As you gaze at your card, see if you can experience it from the point of view of the card itself. Try to create a first person narrative as you do so.

What follows are some other techniques for working with The Lover’s Path Tarot.

Choose a Card QQQ

If you have an issue on your mind that requires guidance, try choosing a tarot card at random. To do so, spread the deck face down upon a table. Close your eyes and place your hand over the cards. Allow a card to pull your hand toward it. You could also shuffle the deck at random, cut the deck in half, and choose the top card. Consider this card an oracle granting you the infor- mation you need at that moment. Read the entry for the card in this booklet. Take note of the thoughts and emotions that arise as you gaze at the card. While you could use any tarot card for this exercise, working with the major arcana alone is a great way to learn about each love story represented in The Lover’s Path Tarot.

Have a Conversation QQQ

Another useful technique is to have a conversation with the cards. Just as you would speak with a friend to clarify an issue, tarot cards can be used in a similar back-and-forth manner. This exercise is also helpful in build- ing a relationship with The Lover’s Path Tarot. Shuffle the tarot deck while you consider your issue at hand. When you are ready to begin your conversation with the cards, start by posing a single question to them. Your question may be as simple as “Is it in my best interest to go on a vacation with this person?”or as complex as“What is the purpose of my life?” Then randomly choose one card in answer to your query.


Depending on the card chosen in reply, new questions may arise. As you would in a conversation, continue to choose cards until a satisfying closure has been achieved.


T AROT SPREADS ARE created by placing a number of cards into a pre- ordained pattern. Different tarot spreads fill different purposes—

some are contemplative, others predictive. As used in the following two spreads, the word “couple” is meant to signify two people who may or may not be romantically involved; the couple could be lovers, friends, business associates, even two aspects of your psyche you yearn to reconcile. For simplicity’s sake, the terms “cou- ple” and “partner” are used when describing these variations. They refer to the two people doing the reading, not necessarily a romantic partner. Whichever spread you decide to use for your tarot reading, as you look over the cards chosen try to think of each one as a chapter in a story you are telling. What do the pictures tell you? How can this story be changed, if change is wanted? What lesson is being taught, what challenges offered? Personal feelings or memories may also surface as you gaze at the images before you. These are important and should be noted as well. Also take note of the proximity and position of a card, whether there is a preponderance of any one suit or arcana. When major arcana cards dominate a reading, it suggests significant life events or issues at play. Minor arcana cards often fill in the details of everyday life. Court cards— princess, prince, queen, king—can symbolize people in our lives as well as particular aspects of ourselves.

Preparing for a Tarot Reading QQQ

Before a tarot reading starts, a question needs to be decided upon. How to phrase this question is an important consideration. Generally questions that receive the best responses are those that are posed with the greatest clarity. Choose your words carefully; wording is important and implies an awareness of the responsibility involved. Next comes the choosing of the tarot cards for the spread. Cards are usually chosen for a tarot reading by shuffling the cards a preordained number of times to assure randomness, and cutting the deck. I often


think of tarot as a talking book, where various pages can be reordered to tell different stories. Shuffling the deck allows this story to emerge. Some tarot readers prefer to shuffle their cards themselves, allowing

the querent, or the person who is asking the question, only to handle the deck while cutting it. This can relieve the querent of the belief that they must choose the “right” cards—the responsibility is literally taken out of their hands. Other readers prefer to have the querent shuffle the cards as

a way to participate in his or her own reading.

Another thing to consider before you choose your cards is whether you wish to include reversed, or upside-down, cards in your readings. These can be created by turning some of the cards around as you shuffle. Some people believe that reversed cards add another dimension of clarity to readings; these cards serve as focal points, showing where energy may be blocked or special attention is needed. Others feel that all the informa- tion needed to create a full picture is already contained within the seventy- eight cards of the tarot—reversed cards just muddy the water. Again, this

is a matter of personal preference.

However you decide to proceed, it is important to focus yourself before the reading. A simple ritual, such as lighting a candle or closing your eyes for a moment, can help create a properly receptive atmosphere.


T HIS TAROT SPREAD, taught to me by tarot reader Melanie Hope Greenberg, is valuable for exploring complex questions where two

people are involved—perfect for The Lover’s Path Tarot. In The Relationship Cross, three cards are read as one to sum up each area explored, creating a more complete portrait than can be revealed by a solitary card. This spread is also unusual because of the order in which the cards are examined. Instead of reading from the first card to the last, cards are read by group position.

When reading The Relationship Cross, you’ll need to first examine cards 13 through 11, which represent the past. Then move onto cards 1 through 3, symbolizing the present. Cards 5 to 7 represent the other per- son in the situation, while cards 8 through 10 depict the future as it may play out. Finally, card 4 offers an overview for the entire reading.


Reading the cards in groups may sound complicated—it’s really not, so don’t be afraid. Try to see them as elements making up one big picture, a snapshot of the specific area being examined. After shuffling and cutting the deck, choose thirteen cards from the top. Place them according to the diagram below.





123 { {
{ {












{ {



Cards 1 through 3: These three cards, which are read together, represent the querent’s present role in the relationship. Card 4: The overall outcome of the question regarding the relationship, if things continue along the path they have been. Cards 5 through 7: These three cards, which are read together, represent the other person involved in the relationship. It also symbolizes his or her current situation, for better or worse. Cards 8 through 10: These three cards, which are read together, reveal the future of the relationship, if things continue as they have been. Cards 11 through 13: These three cards depict the past, or history, of the relationship. It shows how it has affected the present situation under examination.

Variation for Two:

The Relationship Cross can be easily adapted for couples seeking to explore an issue in greater depth. Alternate deck shuffles with your partner while concentrating upon your relationship. Proceed as described earlier for cards 4, 8 through 10, and 11 through 13. However, cards 1 through 3 and cards 5 through 7 should be read as follows. Cards 1 through 3: These three cards, read as one, represent the first per- son’s role in the relationship and his or her current situation. Cards 5 through 7: These three cards, read as one, represent the second person’s role in the relationship and his or her current situation.

three cards, read as one, represent the second person’s role in the relationship and his or



A TOOL FOR MEDITATION, The Lover’s Path is intended for times when aa romantic relationship requires deep examination—not because

there are problems, but because you want to become more intimate with your loved one. This spread studies the relationship on four levels, mirroring the elemental areas of water, fire, air, and earth, as symbolized by the four minor arcana suits of cups, staves, arrows, and coins. It offers a complex picture of the relationship as it is at that moment, providing food for thought. The Lover’s Path is unusual in that the major and minor arcanas are used separately. The major arcana emphasizes the core issues propelling your relationship, while the minors fill in the details. The first step in creating The Lover’s Path is to separate the major and minor arcanas. Once you have two piles—one bearing only major arcana cards, the other only minor arcana—shuffle each pile separately, focusing on the relationship under examination as you do so. When you are ready, choose eight cards from the minor arcana pile, and four cards from the major arcana pile. Then take the remaining cards—they should still be in two piles—and shuffle them together to choose one card; this is card thir- teen. Place these thirteen cards as shown in the diagram on pages 34–35. Cards one through eight are minor arcana cards; cards nine through 12 are major arcana cards; card 13 could be either major or minor arcana. Cards 1 and 2 (minor arcana): These two cards symbolize the water, or emotional, nature of your relationship. They reveal how you express your feelings, what fulfills your soul. Card 1 represents the first partner’s emo- tional needs; card 2 represents the second partner’s. Cards 3 and 4 (minor arcana): These two cards symbolize the fire, or active, nature of your relationship. Every person has his or her way of cre- ating change in his or her personal and professional life. Card 3 represents the first partner’s way of moving through life, how to achieve the goals he or she set; card 4 the second partner’s. Cards 5 and 6 (minor arcana): These two cards symbolize the air, or intellectual, aspect of your relationship. They suggest how you communi-





9 1 2
1 2
10 3 4
3 4

cate, the wisdom you offer each other. Card 5 represents the first partner’s intellectual needs and communication style; card 6, the second partner’s. Cards 7 and 8 (minor arcana): These two cards symbolize the earth, or physical, aspect of your relationship. They reveal how you show affection and express sexuality. Card 7 represents the first partner’s sensual needs; card 8, the second partner’s. Card 9 (major arcana): This card offers an overview of how water, or the emotional, supports your love for each other. It’s a summation of the emotional issues faced within your relationship. Card 10 (major arcana): This card offers an overview of how fire, or the active, supports your love for each other. It’s a summation of the goals set and attained by your relationship, how you work together in the world. Card 11 (major arcana): This card offers an overview of how air, or the intellectual, supports your love for each other. It reveals the wisdom you gain by loving each other. Card 12 (major arcana): This card offers an overview of how earth, or the physical, supports your love for each other. It shows how you please each other, ways you can invite joy into your romantic life. Card 13: This card is chosen randomly from the remaining major and minor arcana cards, which have been shuffled together. It presents an overall theme for the love relationship, suggesting how each partner is transformed by loving each other.


11 5 6
5 6
12 7 8 13

Variation for Two:

The Lover’s Path can be used as easily for two people as it can for one. Since this spread is intended as a meditative tool, take time to create a conducive environment: candles, quiet music, or anything else that feels transformational. Couples should alternate shuffles, and take turns choosing each of the cards used within this spread. After laying out the cards and examining them, spend some time talk- ing about your reactions with your loved one. How accurately did the cards reflect your relationship? Where can you create change, if change is desired? This exercise can be a powerful intimacy builder, opening up new vistas for your consideration.

builder, opening up new vistas for your consideration. It is my hope that The Lover’s Path

It is my hope that The Lover’s Path Tarot brings harmony and enlighten- ment to your life and personal relationships. As you work with The Lover’s Path Tarot, you may want to keep a journal of your experiences. A tarot journal is a potent tool for processing your thoughts as you grow and learn. You can record your “tarot conversations,” tarot readings, as well as specific cards chosen for guidance.


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