Lovers hold each other, peaceful and content. Their eyes are closed, perhaps in sleep. They are safe together, and the blanket draped over them represents security and comfort. With their hands, they cradle each other. Their hands know passion, their faces know dialog, but now they silently commune in a peaceful sea of love.
Intimacy is more than sexual desire, more than the sharing between friends, more even than the companionship of lives united under the bonds of marriage or family. Intimacy demands emotional safety. The intimate relationship is a nest where smiles, kisses, tears, joy, and sorrow are all welcomed, all received and cradled in the shelter of loving arms. Without the freedom to feel, true love cannot grow.
Sleep is a profound symbol of vulnerability. When we close our eyes, we enter into a world of trust. We abandon vigilance, abandon urgency, abandon the pursuit of needs. We trust the powers of this world to bring us through the night, and we trust the loved one we sleep with, to be present, to treat our vulnerability as sacred, and -- if needed -- to protect us from harm.
After leaving the womb, we embark on a restless quest for security, love, safety, enclosure. And, as we mature, we feel a complementary need: to find the one who needs us, to shelter, to love, to keep our beloved safe, to enfold and enclose the one we adore. There is a great simplicity about this reciprocal need. Once encountered, it fills the psyche and seeks completion. Sometimes, as if by magic, lovers find each other and merge, a union of hearts.
Human beings are full of paradoxes and conflicting needs, and no relationship can exist purely in a state of emotional communion. Our desires, fears, beliefs, and circles of connection will keep any union lively and dynamic. But the surrender that is possible in true emotional union is a deep well of nourishment and sustenance for the partners. When they settle into each others' arms, and close their eyes, they return to the primal security of the womb, unconditional love.
The challenge of this card is to move beyond desire, beyond fascination and friendship, beyond the sharing of days and nights, into the deep, vision-filled landscape of vulnerability, to let your tears flow across your lover's bare skin, knowing you are safe.