The Lovers and Cernunnos (The Devil) from The Druid Craft Tarot by Philip & Sephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington.
The naked truth is: when I pulled these cards I ran for cover. It’s taken me a while to return (I tried to escape by writing two unrelated blog posts).
This happened for two reasons:
I asked for one card and was given two (they popped out together, as close as a hot couple);
I felt alarmed – it’s a lot of hard work when you’re talking The Lovers and The Devil. But then, not at all surprising that the Universe insists their story be told in unison.
It has taken me seven days to gird my loins and return to the verdant undergrowth. Appropriately, I pulled the cards under a full moon in Taurus (ruled by Venus, the lovey-dovey planet).
Let’s part the forest curtain and enter the erotic, passionate, powerful, sensual, potent, fertile, compelling, brooding, intense, musky, and often addictive, glade where the inhabitants experience and explore intense, consuming pleasure. And pain.
To simplify the story I will speak of The Lovers as just that – a romantic, sexual entanglement. The energy can be applied to any union or partnership that feels as if it’s ‘written in the stars.’ It’s a creative, fecund, ardent, inevitable, destined coming together, whether in business, a creative project, or even a turning point in our relationship with ourselves.
Act I: The Lovers
I have named them Pip and Peach.
You only have to glance at Pip and Peach to see the alluring intensity of their love. They’re inhaling it (and each other). It’s the perfect union of yin and yang, the feminine and masculine – he with his Pan-like horns, and she with her flowery crown.
It’s an enchanting scene, redolent with sex-saturated days, and a I-want-to-climb-into-you soul recognition.
Pip and Peach are inseparable. Two pieces of a perfect, juicy whole.
The forest is holding its breath because this is such an exquisite, lush, rare, and poignant moment in the jungle of everyday life. The gentle deer witnessing the flawless, breathless moment is easily startled…but not today. Today, it pauses to gaze at the captivating couple who display an achingly pure, passionate, consuming, divine love.
In Pip and Peach, we see all we long for, all we want to create, all that brings life into being and life into our being. It’s what makes our belly tighten and our heart ache. We want to experience this love in our life; a blending that peels away our defenses and answers to a fragile, and often elusive, tugging sensation present in our soul.
Pip is earthy and practical; so practical he’ll build Peach a hut in the forest with his bare, bold hands, and use the leftover twigs and thatching to make her a serviceable hairbrush.
Dreamy Peach picks herbs and tells whimsical tales of forest creatures and their endearing lives and habits.
They’re so different. Pip gets to the core of things, is grounded, and focused on expansion and growth. Peach is soft and tender, and roundly rolls from one day to the next, happy to ripen herself, and their plans, in the sun.
If Pip and Peach choose to recognize and maintain their uniqueness, interests, and personalities, their dreams will be brought to fruition with only a little worm to contend with here and there…
Act II: The Devil (or Cernunnos)
Here we tiptoe past a sleeping Pip and Peach.
They’ve undoubtedly had the best sex ever. The Devil does bring sexual chemistry and sizzling attraction to the forest floor. Replete and worn out, they succumb to peaceful slumber. Now…
Is that looming, bulked-up, brawny, big-horned, furry, frightening, intimidating, and magical Cernunnos a sinister or positive omen? (Note the different feelings evoked by the deer in The Lovers, and Forest Man in The Devil).
It depends on who you are when he shows up.
It also depends on who you’re with, and what you’re doing together, and what you’re doing when apart.
Pip and Peach are, at this time, blissfully unaware of the impact The Devil will have. Will he be constructive or destructive?
The Devil is so much bigger than us. He’s the intoxicating, primal, wild abandon and sensuality of a nature spirit, unencumbered by civilization’s socialization and constrictions.
When we’re at ease with: who we are, our sexuality, our ability to give and receive love and pleasure (and we’re not just talking sex here); when we’re confident, no longer dominated by our fears, and have acknowledged and examined our shadow side – that’s when we’re inhabiting the light side of The Devil.
His is a lust for life and pleasure that has us eating a mango with sucking noises, juice dripping everywhere, and then licking it off the everywhere to make sure we’ve extracted all the bliss a mango offers, without shame, inhibition, or self-consciousness.
So how does this get dark?
Well, let’s stick to Pip and Peach to understand the addiction and entrapment lurking in The Devil.
Pip loves Peach, but one spring morning he wakes up and thinks about how he can get more of the same, and in larger quantities. He’ll get hooked on finding more Peach varieties because one, familiar, and now fuzzy Peach, is not satisfying Pip’s thirst for heady pleasure.
This will upset and hurt Peach, it will make her jealous, but she’ll tag along just to be close to Pip, who still lights her fire and gives her fruity kisses.
Then Pip will stumble upon a happy man in a vineyard who’s making his own fermented grape juice, and Pip will take slurping sips and be lost in sweet sensations. Then Pip will steal a crate of fermented grape juice to hide in his secret, hollowed-out tree trunk. He’ll stagger and stumble around the forest, picking fights with the elves, and inappropriately propositioning fairies, and forget to chop wood for the fire he needs to burn to cook food and keep warm.
His life will be out of balance, controlled by his lust for many Peaches, as well as his need for fermented grape juice. He’ll be lost in the eternal thirst and wanting we call addiction. He is bound to The Devil, chained in servitude to his own unacknowledged, unaddressed, darkness.
Peach has opted for a ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’ approach, and suffers under the delusion that she can change Pip, preserve their now toxic relationship by ignoring his forays into the darkness, because she can’t live without his wandering hands and bleary, puppy-dog eyes.
She’s trapped in codependency – only feeling peachy when Pip has weaved his way home and promised to keep his capable hands on her and their dreams.
Anyway, life is sure to improve because Peach has discovered a healing weed in the sunny spot out back that makes life so pleasant when she smokes it all day, every day. She gives Pip a few healthy puffs, and together they smile at the leaking, rotting roof and collapsing hut, and forget about Pip’s upcoming trial for elf assault because life is lovely under a pungent cloud of happy smoke.
To get to the light side of The Devil, both Peach and Pip will have to confront their demons.
Peach will walk out on Pip, taking her medicinal weed with her, and facing her fears about what lies in the deep darkness of life without Pip, his lovemaking prowess, and her aversion to being alone (because that feels like abandonment).
Pip will be left to clean up his own mess – the vomit, the trial, the scorned and fierce multitude of Peaches who haunt him and insist he takes responsibility for the children he sired under every bush in the forest. He’ll come clean.
The light side of The Devil is what brings Pip and Peach back to their true selves, reclaiming a power they gave away to addictions, entrapment, fear, and insecurity.
What led them there, to giving their power away? The dark side of The Devil.