The Intersection of Love and Power: Who Do You Become When You Are With Your Lover?

Three of Pentacles reversed--Samurai TarotKnight of Pentacles--Samurai Tarot
Even old love can be new love. And when it emerges, it can stop you in your tracks. In the Samurai Tarot, the Three of Pentacles represents this emerging love — love that may so far exist only in a shared glance. And the Knight of Pentacles, represented by Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun, stands for clear goals, ardent military power, and discipline in spite of adversity. Ah, but while discipline can persevere even during adversity, can it persevere in the face of new emerging love? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Some common elements in these two cards: clouds, shadows. A rocky path. But, falling in love doesn’t cloud one’s thinking. It strikes like a bolt of lightning. Still, this bolt of lightning doesn’t illuminate everything — it throws certain issues into shadows, while lighting up only the lovers. Yet Yoritomo wasn’t known for clouded thinking but for the opposite: being utterly clear about his goals and brooking no opposition to them. For setting a certain, albeit rocky, path through the less clear thinking of those around him.  Interestingly, considering that he is appearing next to the Three of Pentacles, Yoritomo’s story also involves strategic seductions — seductions that in one case, secured him his freedom from a place of exile and in another, helped him consolidate his power.

So, I see several possible interpretations of these cards. One is of new love stopping lovers in their tracks, and interfering with other goals (goals related to security and power in the world). The other is a darker story of love sought for the sake of power (seduction as manipulation) — but this type of love doesn’t work or is blocked (these cards are reversed). A third, rather romantic possibility is the story of power given up, or set aside, for the sake of love.

Maybe, though, none of this is making sense to you in your life. But it can be distilled down into a more prosaic question: who do you become when you are with your lover? Does your love empower you to be the person you want to be — to pursue your goals and dreams with Yoritomo-like singularity of purpose? Or does it derail your hopes and dreams and cause you to think of nothing but love? Or is it a combination of the two? None of this is to suggest that a particular love is or is not good for you. If your love relationship isn’t having the effect on you that you wish it would, it’s always an option to work with the dynamics of the situation and make a change.

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