By Michelle Railey
We humans tell ourselves many, many things: that there is a reason things happen; that things were or were not meant to be. The universe has lessons for us. There is a right time. There is kismet, fate, serendipity. The future is predictable; the lines of our palms hold secrets. Magic and myth; truth, meaning, symbolism.
Some things we tell ourselves are true. Others, not so much.
Tarot cards as divination devices have a relatively short history: the most reliable (or at least serious-seeming) sources seem to agree that while tarot decks date back to the mid-fourteenth century in Italy for a game based on “triumphs,” or “trumps,” called tarocchini (tarot in French; Tarock in German), the use of a 78-card tarot deck as a means of divination can be dated only to about 1750 (playing cards as a means of divining the esoteric truths of things can be dated earlier, to the fifteenth century but these were not tarot cards per se).
There are some who believe in these tarot cards; there are some who believe they actually trace back to ancient Egyptian practices or the mystical Kabbalah.
We tell ourselves many things.
The Lovers card is the sixth of the Major Arcana of the modern tarot deck. Its meanings tend to concern decision making, partnerships, temptations. Despite the romantic-seeming nature of the card, it doesn’t need to be interpreted as a “love” card. “You are at a crossroads” seems to be one very common interpretation (according to the Internet, at any rate). Well, and what is life if not a series of crossroads, be they emotional or financial or romantic or psychological or even literal?
It’s an all-purpose sort of thing. It means everything; it means nothing. If the shoe fits. The things we tell ourselves.
Well, neuroscience would tell us that love is a series of currents banging against synapses and it’s chemical and biological: that love is something we tell ourselves we feel but it’s, truly, all in our head. Science would not locate emotion in the heart, just a muscle, but in the brain: something we believe in because we are wired that way.
There is something in humans that needs love, though, that needs to be loved, that needs to be at the crossroads of The Lovers with meaning and purpose and eternal cause and effect. Or, maybe we just need to believe it. The things we tell ourselves. Some are true and others are not.
Whether it’s fate or whether it’s wiring; if it’s chance or chemical reactions, well, it’s nice to think — to believe in, maybe, or even to insist upon— love is all we need. It is everything.
Say it often enough and perhaps it becomes true. You are at a crossroads.
We are always at a crossroads. And love is all we need.