Tarot, Psychology & DSM – “The Lovers”

In my May 2020 weblog post I started this series on my current perceptions about the connection between certain Major Arcana cards, psychological challenges, and the DSM. I encourage you to review that post for my introduction to this series.

Here we are on Valentine’s Day, a time when romance is promoted and often expected. Along with this expectation can come disappointment, most likely due to programmed attachments and cultural comparisons to the commercialized image that tries to set the “norm” for this date (pun intended)…the romantic ideal of binary/heterosexual coupling, flowers, chocolates, cards, dinner, movie, and sex.

But, please allow me to look at the dark underbelly of the Tarot’s template for romantic coupling, “VI The Lovers”, where the “feminine” and “masculine” energies meet, and possibly merge.

Rather than focus on the typical interpretations of relationship, marriage, and/or choice…the core experience is one of “Relating with otherness”…but how or with what?

Here are some of the dis-eases that can manifest when our ability to relate with others or otherness is arrested in some way.

  • Poor self-esteem
  • Codependent, enmeshed relationships, jealousy, can be abusive, including self abuse by exposing oneself to disrespectful treatment
  • Can also be Borderline Personality, Attachment disorder, and possibly Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personalities)
  • Passive-Aggressive
  • Attachment styles: Dismissive Avoidant, Fearful Avoidant, and Anxious
  • Candidate for many addictions; sex/romance/relationship, alcohol, numbing drugs, XTC

For an explanation of “Codependency” I recommend this link.

Beneath the codependent coupling can be hidden “Attachment Styles”, often characterized by one partner being distant, lacking emotional availability matched with someone who craves attention and connection, with the relationship swinging back and forth as each type flips to the other extreme, ultimately establishing a dance that avoids intimacy. This is the typical push-pull dynamic. Ironically, this kind of pattern is romanticized and perpetuated by songs, movies, books, and more that glorify romantically entangled people. No wonder so many fall into these traps for modeling healthy relationships is considered to be boring…not enough drama…which is a subtle addiction in itself.

To learn more about “Attachment Styles” that influence every relationship, here is one resource link. The best YouTube videos on this topic are by Thais Gibson and The Personal Development School.

I look forward to sharing future posts highlighting other Major Arcana Tarot cards. Please feel free to ask questions or add comments, below.

If you are interested in learning more about this spiritual opportunity vs. challenge way of viewing Tarot cards, please purchase my recorded class, Psychological Challenges in Tarot’s Major Trumps.

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