10 of Hearts

Two faces press together and appear to merge. Their blue eyes reflect the watery nature of the suit of hearts, and bring us back to its beginning in the ace.

The sublime emotional culmination of love is a feeling of blissful communion with another human soul. In its intense manifestations, this feeling can be profoundly spiritual - a reunion with the cosmos itself, not simply with one's lover. This sense of bliss is not the exclusive prerogative of romantic love, either. It can happen between parent and child, between siblings, or between friends. It can even happen in the absence of another, when a person becomes aware of being completely at home in life, and needing no barriers to hold the world and the divine away.

Although this bliss is not a state that most of us maintain over the long term, our excursions into it leave their mark on our personality. The person who has known this melting away of the ego finds it easier to forgive, easier to relax, easier to be patient. Love for another is one of the ways we can find this magical reservoir of peace and learn to drink from it.

Finding bliss in the overlapping of our emotional worlds is perhaps the most pristine of the rewards of love's long labors. Boundaries dissolve, we forget our personal needs, and forget, for awhile, that they mesh only imperfectly with the needs of the beloved.

The feeling of bliss carries some dangers for the unwary, though. The experience of communion can feel so complete, be so obviously real and true, that we are tempted to see the more mundane levels of relationship as trivial, and neglect the processes of emotional negotiation that keep intimacy alive between the moments of magic. Knowing that one has found a soulmate will lend great motivation and power to the tasks of forging and maintaining a relationship, but if one comes to see it as rendering those tasks superfluous, the relationship will degrade and this bliss itself will receed out of reach.