Q: I did a reading for myself, about my relationship with my boyfriend. What does the Lovers in the past position of a card layout mean? Does this mean the relationship is over?
A: Relationship readings are the most difficult to do to my way of thinking, because you are almost always missing half the picture. In my experience, it is a rare, beautiful and loving gift when another person lends their energy to a reading without direct knowledge and consent. That kind of soul-level or ethereal consent and participation really is an honor when it happens. And, honestly, I don’t sense any of it here. So that puts this back to the usual level of reading…meaning it only reflects your part in this, and you have to deal with your boyfriend’s part in this the old fashioned way…by talking to him.
That being said, I suspect the answer to your question is essentially “no.”
First of all, keep in mind the Lovers card does not symbolize long term committed relationships or a heart to heart kind of Love. The Lovers card is about our “hearts desire”, lust and wanting. The Lovers, a major arcana card, isn’t limited to any one area of life. It can symbolize any desire in any aspect – career, family, wealth – anything. So no, The Lovers in the past position isn’t an automatic bad omen for an existing relationship, especially if it is a particularly long-term or loving one. The two of cups is actually the card most associated with that level of intimacy and marriage.
Also, I always approach readings as a way of understanding…not strictly timeline. The past doesn’t mean “the past” any more than the future card predicts exactly what is going to happen. In my experience, both cards are more powerful when they are used to build a better understanding of your current situation, and all three cards (past, present, future) join together to make one whole…one whole idea about how to move forward. All three together point to the choices that take you down the better path. Make sense? The past card add dimension, yes, but does not make an absolute pronouncement.
I always approach the “past” card in any spread from the perspective of learning from old mistakes and successes. What worked before (in this relationship or in past relationships) so you can repeat the stuff that works again? What failed before so you can avoid that mistake?
To understand even more, it would help to know what kind of question you originally had in mind. Why did you do the reading in the first place? Did you intend to read only about the relationship? Were you reading about something else but the relationship came to mind and intuitively demanded your attention? It could very well be that the Lovers card doesn’t have anything to do with the relationship at all. If other issues were part of your attention or intention, they the Lovers card could be talking about those.
If you were looking at the relationship specifically, what do you desire for the relationship? What about the relationship has gone well? What about the relationship has you worried? What have you done right that you should keep doing? What mistakes have been made? Are there any places to make amends or make changes? Do you desire the relationship to move into the past? Or do you fear it moving into the past and desire more security?
When you take all of that into consideration, does the Lovers card in the past position automatically doom your relationship? – no. Can it give you insights into the relationship? – Yes, but context is needed. Is the card is even talking about the relationship, or if it is guiding you about some other deep seated heart’s desire?
Here is something that might help. Pull the Lovers and the Two of Cups cards from the deck and put them on the table in front of you, side by side. It doesn’t matter which card is on which side. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and relax. Take a few deep breaths, and think about the relationship. Think about all you hope, fear, want, believe and feel about the relationahip. Slowly open your eyes and look at the two cards. Which one catches your eye first? Which one draws you in and tugs at your heartstrings as you think about the relationship? Which card do you intuitively connect with as a symbol for the relationship? Go with your heart, your gut, your deep down knowing.
If it is the 2 of cups, that might be a reassurance about the relationship and your clue to look at the Lovers in the first reading in terms of other life-desire. If you are most strongly drawn to the Lovers card while thinking of the relationship, then you might do well to think of the relationship in terms of desire: Is this a relationship you still want? Is is workable? Do you love him? Does he love you? What do you and the two of you want? Many, many questions could apply. If that is the case, and you feel yourself spiraling into a vortex of uncertainty…set the cards and the questions aside. After some time – minutes, hours, days, whatever feels right – when you are feeling clearer, then do a fresh reading that is just about the relationship. The Lovers may or may not re-appear. Whether the card is in the new spread or not, my guess is it will be a clearer message for you now that you know which direction the original Lovers was pointing you to go.
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