Friday, June 19, 2009

Anima and Animus in the Lovers Card

I want to say more about Tarot readings done around the theme of twinning on June 7th, and regret that I’m not able to get my posts out faster. In another example from our session, one participant got the Lovers as her twins-theme card, using a deck I’m not familiar with, but in sort of an Asian-Middle Eastern theme. As I recall it, in this version of the Lovers, a man and woman are seated on the grass in a pose that makes me think of something one might see in illustrations for the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”

The woman is on the left side of the card, and holds a vessel, which could be a wine jar, but resembles illustrations of the vase of precious dew that is iconographic of Kwan Yin, goddess of mercy. The left flanking card is the Queen of Wands. When a flanking card in a twins reading is a court card, it may denote a distinct personality through which one of your inner Twins archetypes expresses itself. So if the Lovers says something about a person’s inner male and female, the anima and the animus, this person’s inner woman is identified with the active, creative energy of the Queen of Wands. The Queen of Wands is noted for the visionary power of her ideas, and her ability to kindle a creative fire in others. Wands are primarily associated with fire (though in some systems, air), so it may be that the vessel held by the woman in the Lovers provides nourishing moisture to prevent the Wands’ expression of heat from being too harsh.

The man in the Lovers card is to the right, and flanking him was the 9 of Cups. When a flanking card doesn’t represent a personality or Major Arcana archetype, but a Minor Arcana portrayal of some objects, it likely represents a resource that one of the twin selves provides. Because the 9 of Cups can represent fulfilled wishes, it may show that this person’s animus plays a supportive role, nurturing her dreams. To appreciate how these two Selves may be in harmony, consider how this reading might have been different if the Lovers had been flanked by court cards with characters who were looking off in different directions, showing they don't see eye-to-eye, or cards portraying other images that would be at odds with each other.

If you would like to do a Tarot reading to get information specifically about the relationship between your anima and animus, you can do this by posing the request, “Please tell me something about the relationship between my inner male and female,” while shuffling your cards. Then, thumb through the deck until you come to the Lovers, and take note of how the flanking cards may inform your inner masculine and feminine selves. (Actually, I believe, like Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of “Women Who Run with the Wolves,” that we have a whole tribe of inner males and females, but the Lovers card can tell you which ones are particularly present for you at the present time.) Note: in some cases, if you have a deck that portrays the Two of Cups as a man and woman coming together, and you get to that card first, it can also tell you about your anima and animus; being a Minor Arcana card, the flanking cards would show you how their energies are being applied to more mundane concerns.

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