The Esotericon

Lovers - Vav

A minister stands in front of a couple that is to be married. Cupid – with bow poised and ever-ready – hovers over the amorous couple. This positive manifestation of human emotion does not only consist of the reproduction of the species but also includes the numerous biological, psychological, and spiritual benefits that accompany the natural human instincts that desire monogamous relations and the development of the family unit.

The name of the sixth character of the ancient alphabet is linked to the sixth hieroglyphic symbol of the Tarot. The original design of this character (pre-1200 B.C.) looks like this...

the ancient letter of vahv

The name of this letter is "vahv." It is spelled by writing the character twice. This name and the letter itself have the meaning of “hook.” The letter also has the shape of a hook. When this letter is used by itself as a word in the ancient texts, it serves the function of a grammatical hook, i.e., the conjunction and. It later evolved into the letter V, which was also used as a both a consonant and vowel by the Romans, before it was later split into the letters V, W, and U for use in modern alphabets.

So when the symbolisms of the Tarot and the ancient alphabet are compared (hooked) together, there are a tremendous amount of corollaries (hooks) that can immediately be identified. The most obvious of which is the theme of connectivity (things that are hooked) that is ever-present between the two. The two lovers are connected (hooked) by the passion of Eros as well as the sense of familial duty and development, just as the hook is used to connect one object to another.

Another similarity between the two is the dual use of this letter as a vowel and a consonant. The letter has both feminine and masculine qualities and therefore is phonetically representative of the dual nature of human biology and its method of sexual reproduction. This phonetic marriage of consonant and vowel is even further highlighted by our species when the letter V was split into three primary parts, thus transforming the hermaphroditic letter V of the Latin alphabet into the feminine vowel U, the hermaphroditic pseudo-consonant W, and the masculine consonant V of the modern English language.

The Blindfolded Eros of the Noblet Version of the Marseilles Tarot

Four versions of the Lovers Trump from the Tarot de Marseile

The Lovers of the Rider-Waite Tarot

In the accompanying text to the Rider-Waite Tarot, A.E. Waite says, “The sun shines in the zenith, and beneath is a great winged figure with arms extended, pouring down influences. In the foreground are two human figures, male and female, unveiled before each other, as if Adam and Eve when they first occupied the paradise of the earthly body. Behind the man is the Tree of Life, bearing twelve fruits, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is behind the woman; the serpent is twining round it. The figures suggest youth, virginity, innocence and love before it is contaminated by gross material desire. This is in all simplicity the card of human love, here exhibited as part of the way, the truth and the life. It replaces, by recourse to first principles, the old card of marriage, which I have described previously, and the later follies which depicted man between vice and virtue. In a very high sense, the card is a mystery of the Covenant and Sabbath.

"The suggestion in respect of the woman is that she signifies that attraction towards the sensitive life which carries within it the idea of the Fall of Man, but she is rather the working of a Secret Law of Providence than a willing and conscious temptress. It is through her imputed lapse that man shall arise ultimately, and only by her can he complete himself. The card is therefore in its way another intimation concerning the great mystery of womanhood. The old meanings fall to pieces of necessity with the old pictures, but even as interpretations of the latter, some of them were of the order of commonplace and others were false in symbolism.”

The Lovers Trump of the Rider-Waite Tarot

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