What kind of question do you think a tarot card reader gets asked the most often? If you guessed love, you would be right! Relationships can be complicated and it’s common to seek guidance from the cards when we’re feeling stuck about what to do in love. But what happens when it seems like messages conflict? The Lovers Card and the Death Card being pulled together in a reading may send your mind spinning, but there is power in this combination and today we are going to explore Lovers and Death.
Understanding the Death and Lovers Tarot Cards
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You’ve pulled the cards, you’re ready for guidance, maybe crossing your fingers and toes for the Two of Cups or the 4 of Wands and you pull…. The Lovers and Death.
Love, we all get love! But then there is also a skeleton on a horse with a dead dude laying on the ground.
Okay, you tell yourself, death isn’t literal, maybe this just means….? Our love is dead?! Commence panic and pulling one million clarifier cards!
Fear not, dear reader, if this was your guidance. The Death and Lovers tarot combination may actually be giving you a lesson on how to love each other, and ourselves, better.
Both the Lovers and Death card are Major Arcana cards, which means we are dealing with significant life lessons and archetypal themes. The Lovers card is number 6 and the Death card number 13. So let’s dive into each of these cards individually before interpreting them together.
The Lovers Card
Firstly, let’s explore the Lovers Cards. In the Rider Waite Smith deck, we see an Adam and Eve picture. A naked woman, Eve, stands on the left with the tree of knowledge and a snake behind her. Adam stands to the right with a burning tree behind him. Above them both in the center is an angel opening their arms to them.
Looking closer at the imagery, you’ll notice the direction of their gazes. The Eve figure looks up to the angel, and the Adam figure looks to Eve.
This artwork shows us that we’re being guided to make a choice, and it needs to be done by connecting to our higher selves. The Eve figure represents our receptive, content, intuitive side. This is the part of us that receives guidance from Spirit. Adam represents our driven, goal-oriented, linear side. This part of ourselves looks to what our receptive side has received from our higher selves, represented by the angel, and then acts on it. In this way, our receptive side has received guidance from Spirit, or guidance of love, and our linear, action-oriented side acts on it.
The Lovers teaches us that when we listen to our higher selves, or to Spirit, when we embrace our receptive side and our active side, and we follow our loving guidance, we walk paths of love and make choices that are truly in our highest good.
Lovers and Devil Cards
If you look at the Devil card in the same deck, you’ll see the same figures as the Lovers card, only they’re chained to the Devil. In this case, we are making choices that trap us instead of liberate us. In the Lovers, choices of love liberate and heal us, making us whole. We all must learn what our demons are when the Devil appears to recognize where it is our demons making the choices for us, instead of our higher selves.
In the Death card, we see a skeleton on a white horse standing above a group of people. The king lays on the ground at the horse’s feet, a religious figure raises their arms to Death, a woman is on her knees, and a child offers Death flowers. The sun sets in the background between two towers. To read more about the Death card, head over to our article here!
Death Card Meaning
What the Death card represents is the “death,” or the ending, of the grip of our egos on our lives. Like the Lovers card, notice that the spiritual entity is above the people in the cards. The angel above the Lovers, Death above their little crowd. These cards teach us to get out of our heads and that things are not all about us. They teach us that there is a bigger picture, and it’s not all about the ego. It’s not all about our way and how we want things.
In alchemical imagery, the death of a king often represents the death of our inner tyrant, which is the control of the ego. Pride, fear, judgment. Kings have the most power and the most control. They can make people do things, they create laws, they punish, they rule. Death teaches us that we do not have total control over the world, we do not have dominion over everything. We must surrender to change, as change is the only guarantee in this lifetime.
More Lovers and Death Tarot Cards
Here are the Lovers and Death tarot cards from a few other tarot decks so you can see how other artists have approached the artwork of these powerful cards.
Death and Lovers Tarot Combination
Death and Lovers together may be telling you that your ego, the part of you that wants to control everything, may need to be put aside so that you can connect with your higher self and make a better choice. It may be asking you where you are trying to control or micromanage everything, or where you are resisting change.
Remember that time is not viewed as linear on a spiritual path, but rather cyclical. What follows death is birth, or rebirth. This ending in the Death card may be necessary for a rebirth that is more in alignment with what is truly in the highest good of all.
We can view changes in our lives as death and rebirths. When someone becomes a mother, it is the death of their pre-parent life and their birth into parenthood. When someone gets a divorce, it is the death of a marriage and the rebirth of a new single path. There are many changes that happen in our lives that involve endings that lead to new beginnings.
The Lovers is about making choices from a place of love, not fear, selfishness, or anger. The Lovers may be encouraging you to open yourself up to love so that you see what has to end in order for a better beginning to be born.
A Message of Self-Love
Self-love is often associated with the Lovers, and with the Death and Lovers combination, something might need to end in order to love yourself more. I realize this sounds like a self-help term that has been tossed around endlessly on the seas of social media, but loving and accepting ourselves is important. Like the saying goes, we can’t love in slices. The Lovers and Death cards may be asking you where your ego is making you think only parts of yourself are lovable. Where are you loving yourself in slices? This doesn’t mean that we don’t make changes or that since we love ourselves, we’re perfect. From a place of self-love, we generally make the choices and changes that are truly in our highest good.
Lovers and Death Card in Relationship Reading
If the Death and Lovers tarot combination came up for you in regards to a relationship, you may want to examine if fear is controlling your choices, and if you need to surrender to love to see the best choice.
It may also be showing you that something has to end in the relationship in order for the path of love to be lived. Perhaps one partner is overworking, or you’re always on your phones and not connecting, or you only ever watch TV. Death may be asking you what needs to end so that a more loving path can be born. And then to make the choice to follow that more loving path.
Similarly in making choices from fear or selfishness for ourselves, this may be happening in a relationship with this card combination. It would be helpful to check in and see where fear is controlling your choices, or where surrender is necessary, or where we can be more compassionate and accepting in our relationship.
For a happy relationship, we do have to put the ego way of me me me aside. A relationship is teamwork. Selfishness generally does not yield happy results. Each person’s perspective matters. We have to listen, we have to compromise, we have to forgive. We can’t control each other, like our inner Kings may want to do. Like the child in the Death card, we can only face the unknown with flowers and faith, or else we will get knocked on our butts like the King if we try to control everything and everyone.
In a romantic relationship or not, this combination reminds us that we are in relationship with ourselves, each other, and the whole world around us. Death and the Lovers tarot combination may be a spiritual assignment in connection. When we’re in our egos, we see things in a very black and white way. Good, bad. Yes, no. This, that. When we are walking the path of the Lovers, we see ourselves in each other, we see that life is often both/and as opposed to either/or. We allow ourselves to be a dance of polarities without trying to stuff everything into tidy, separate, little boxes. This path teaches connectivity and oneness. Therefore this combination may also be asking you to reflect on where you are leaning into separateness, and how this may need to end.
An example of this is seeing ourselves as separate from nature. We are nature, and what we do to nature, we do to ourselves. This illusion of separateness has caused great suffering and damage to nature, including people, plants, and animals. The illusion of separateness allows us to create hierarchies of value and decide who goes where in ranking of worthiness. The Lovers defies that, embraces differences, while encouraging connectivity. If we truly knew we were all connected, how differently would we show up?
Lovers and Death Cards are Powerful Together
As you can see, there are many possibilities with these two cards. Remember that these are just suggestions, and that your own intuition may be guiding you down a different path. Know that you do not lose when the Death card appears, rather you surrender what is ready to meet twilight so that it can be reborn in the dawn of a better day. The Lovers will guide you, to help you connect to your higher self, so that you’re always making choices from a place of love for the highest good of all.
The Mystic Mermaid
Jenny is a professional shamanic practitioner and tarot reader. Her academic background is in French and Spanish translation studies. Through her academic and spiritual studies, she realized we are all spiritual translators, translating our feelings, experiences, and messages from spirit. Jenny endeavours to help people see the light within themselves, each other, and nature, to dream a healed dream into being for ourselves and the world.