The Lovers and The Magician

The full moon is in Gemini corresponds with the Major Arcana card The Lovers. Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury which is linked to The Magician.

The duality of Gemini is symbolised by the Twins. The mythology behind the Gemini Twins varies slightly in some accounts but begins when the trickster god Zeus disguises himself as a swan and seduces Queen Leda, the wife of Tyndareus the King of Sparta. On the same night she had also laid with her husband. Leda gives birth to 2 eggs. From one was born the twins, Castor who was mortal and Pollux who was immortal. The boys loved each other and were inseparable and so when Castor was slain while in combat with the sons of Aphareus, Pollux was distraught and pleaded with his father Zeus not to leave Castor alone in the underworld. So Zeus placed the two boys in the heavens in the constellation of Gemini, the Twins. From the other egg Clytaemnestra and Helen of Sparta, who became infamous as Helen of Troy, were born.

The mythology of Gemini is replete with difficult decisions. Pollux had to choose between living as an immortal god or joining with his brother where they would alternate between living in the heavens and with Hades in the underworld. Other choices involved their sister Helen. The trouble began when Helen’s father Zeus forgot to invite Eris, the goddess of strife, to a popular wedding. As revenge Eris sent a golden apple to the wedding with the inscription “To the most beautiful goddess of all.” Athene, Hera and Aphrodite all claimed the prize. To settle the dispute, the Trojan prince Paris was asked to judge which of the three Olympian goddesses was the most beautiful. He chose Aphrodite over Hera and Athene. The latter two had hoped to bribe him with power and wealth and victory in battle, but Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Aphrodite helped Paris to steal Helen from her husband, the Greek hero Menelaus. Helen did not need much convincing and fell for the handsome Paris. The Greeks went to war against Troy to reclaim Helen, who throughout the war was divided in her loyalty to the Trojans and to her native Greek compatriots.

In the Mythic Tarot the Lovers card (Gemini) depicts the scene where Paris has to choose between the three goddesses. In other decks such as the Rider-Waite, Trump VI is a representation of the biblical story of Adam and Eve. In either case, The Lovers represents relationships and choices and indicates a decision about an existing relationship, a choice between potential partners or the temptation of something close to the heart. The Lovers reminds us choices must not be made lightly as the ramifications will be long lasting.

Also known as the messenger of the gods, Mercury, akin to the Grecian deity Hermes, is associated with speed and agility and is the planet of communication, mental activities and the intellect. Mercury is the patron of communicators, of orators and wit, writers and poets, of boundaries and of the travellers who cross them, of thieves, pranksters and liars, of athletics, of weights and measures, of invention and commerce. As well as all this, if that weren’t enough, Mercury is a guide to and from the underworld and connects humanity with the divine.

In the Tarot, Gemini’s ruling planet Mercury is represented by The Magician who is often depicted as a man who, in his right hand, holds a wand heavenward. The wand is a conductor of energy from heaven to earth. His left hand points earthward and together they refer to the dictum “as above, so below.” Above his head is a lemniscate which symbolises infinity. On a table before him are symbols of the four elements: the wand of fire, the cup of water, the sword of air, and the pentacle of earth. All four magical tools can be picked up and used as needed. Around his waist he wears a belt in the form of an ouroboros, a serpent devouring its own tail, very possibly the same serpent we see coiling around the tree in The Lovers card.

The Magician card embodies the lesson of “as above, so below,” the lesson that mastery in one realm may bring mastery in another. Just as Hermes communicated between the earth and heavens so too on an inner level The Magician is a guide between our conscious and our unconscious, bringing to light knowledge which is unknown to our conscious minds. He is our inner guide who firmly yet kindly prompts us to develop and fulfill our potential. He offers us the tools to experience the four realms of experience: creative imagination, feelings, intellect and the material world.

The influential hermetic work, the Emerald Tablet, said to be the work of Hermes Trismegistus (“Hermes the Thrice-Greatest”) has been translated and used as the basis for commentaries by many, including Aleister Crowley. At the beginning of the Emerald Tablet appears the hermetic axiom “as above, so below”, words which circulate throughout occult and magical circles to this day, and is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. In his publication titled Equinox Aleister Crowley writes of an ancient magician named Hermes, who spoke of the Microcosm being like the Macrocosm, and vice versa, ‘That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below.’ Aleister Crowley went on to say that the objective of the magician is to unite the two, ‘the object of any magick ceremony is to unite the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.’

The Magician speaks of potential choices and opportunities being presented to us. He points to the talents and resources at our disposal. The Magician tells us to tap into our full potential and to actualise our desires through our creative force and will. There are choices and directions we can take. Though there are no guarantees, we must trust our intuition, as The Magician sometimes likes to play the trickster and could offer a dud. We have the power to manifest our goals. We need to create our own magic and in turn our own fate.

In both The Lovers and The Magician there are choices being offered to us and important decisions to be made. In both cards there is the message that we need to be careful what we choose. With The Lovers the repercussions of any decision must be thought through very carefully. However with The Magician, although we still need to choose with care, there is a call to action so as not to waste the magic on offer. If we know what we want and act with full consciousness and determination, miracles can happen.

Stella Luna © 2010 The Tarot Reader. All rights reserved.




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