Belial 8: The Lovers, Death, and the Illuminati.

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The Lovers, Death, the Eye of the Illuminati

From left to right, the sixth triad in our grand tableau is composed of the Lovers, Death, and Illuminati. Each card in this triad speaks about honesty, the recognition of limits, identification of boundaries, truth, clarity, restrictions, breaking points, and precision. This triad lacks imagination and fantasy, but gains equally necessary qualities such as practicality and honesty.

The thesis for this trio is the Lovers, represented by an optical illusion: is it a vase, or is it two faces looking at each other? Look closely, because this act of careful evaluation is exactly what’s demanded by the Lovers. Wherever the Lovers appear in a reading, they reflect a person, situation, or thing which is either confessing to another person, situation, or thing, or is simply being direct about the reality in which it lives. The reality behind the relationship of the Lovers is that it's sustained by complete clarity: young lovers thrive on the excitement and fantasy of lust, but mature Lovers understand that they must also bare themselves to each other—warts and all—lest May fantasies become August regrets. 

As much as the Lovers succeed by defining success before they pursue it, they would do well to respect the lesson of their complementary opposite—the Whore of Babylon—and remember that fantasy and imagination are also necessary for growth and development. If you want to divorce the lovers, then invoke the Tower of Babylon.

The antithesis of the Lovers is the Illuminati, represented by the eye of providence: a radiant eye within the detached, hovering tip of a pyramid. I chose this name and symbol for the twentieth trump because of the hysterical reaction it produces among the gullible, but also for the popular association the Illuminati have with the acquisition of knowledge and shaping reality. 

Wherever the Illuminati appear in a reading, they show a person, situation, or thing which has been wounded by scathing honesty. The world in which they thought they lived was stripped naked and fantasy is no longer a luxury. If reality were their lover, they're now forced to stare dead-on at bald spots, missing teeth, saggy breasts, pot bellies, gaping orifi, skin infections, and in-grown toe-nails. Both literally and figuratively, these things are a part of life. They're here, right now. Nobody and nothing are perfect, and you're only hurting yourself if you choose to believe otherwise. The Illuminati will disabuse you of those fantasies, and for that you should be grateful. 

Still, the Illuminati could benefit from the lesson of their complementary opposite—the Tower of Babylon—who teaches that illusion and deceit are quite often gladly welcomed in place of cruel honesty while still accomplishing the same end result. If you want to blind the Eye of the Illuminati, then invoke the Whore of Babylon. 

The synthesis of the Lovers and the Illuminati is Death, appropriately marked by a human skull. Wherever Death appears in a reading, it shows a person, situation, or thing which has chosen to abandon self-deceit and see his, her, or its reality exactly for what it is—no fantasy involved. We can deceive others and ourselves by painting and costuming our skin, but the skeleton remains. 

This truth exists at the core of any person, situation, or thing: rotten grapes can never become good wine, but they can surely be reduced into potent vinegar. This sour realization may be depressing, but the benefit of painfully honest self-awareness is that personal limitations tighten focus and raise intensity. Life is too short to waste productive energy on fantastical pipe-dreams. But you know, life is also too short to grow old before your time, and Death benefits from its polar opposite—the Hermit—who teaches the lesson that a little fantasy goes a long way.