The Lovers Meaning
The Lovers has practically identical imagery to The Devil, suggesting a natural correlation between the two.
The Major Arcana is riddled with ups and downs... highs and lows. And this card is definitely the beginning of a high—before it meets its first low a couple cards later. With that said, it has a similar feeling to The Devil—whose imagery is symbolic of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. This is such a good feeling that we don't see the dangers ahead of us. In fact, in the traditional Rider-Waite imagery, The Lovers has practically identical imagery to The Devil—suggesting a natural correlation between the two. The motto here might be that pleasure is good... in moderation. Too much pleasure or "fun" in a partnership can backlash and bring heartbreak and pain.
With The Lovers being associated with the zodiac sign Gemini ("The Twins"), it's obvious where where the partnership theme comes from. But this sign is also heavily associated with children, siblings, and "childish fun." So, we might see The Lovers appear in a situation where people forget their responsibilities, throw caution to the wind, and act like children again. The Lovers can also symbolize siblings (especially twins). Finally, it can also represent literal children—such as being around children, such as a daycare, for a living.
The Lovers Upright
Seeing The Lovers upright is always a good sign. It's always a good time too! Anytime we see this card in such a position, it brings a lighthearted nature to anything it touches. So, if you see it in a love reading, the relationship may be completely new or the couple might feel like they're falling in love all over again. In a career reading, this could mean bringing levity to the workplace via socialization (such as making games at work, throwing work parties, or engaging in an actual office romance).
After all, The Lovers is mostly about (lighthearted) connection. So, seeing it upright can mean that we're making positive connections with others—both platonic and romantic.
It can indicate that your networking efforts are paying off. Or, perhaps, you're going on many dates. Or that you're making new friends. Whatever it may be, that connection is meant to stay surface-level. So, this isn't a time when we're really "bonding" heart and soul with another person. We may think that, or assume that's what's happening, but this can be a slippery slope (that shows up when the card is reversed).
Because this card is ruled by Gemini, there is an association with Mercury: the planet of communication. So, while the "connection moments" may be fleeting, there is still the illusion that you're seeing the full, raw picture. If not the illusion, then the very real glimpse of who someone is—for a brief period of time. But this card is like a summer romance: It's there, and then in a flash, it's gone.
The Lovers Reversed
The Lovers brings natural levity to everything it touches. But in reverse like this, it may suggest going "overboard" on the levity. In a relationship situation, this could mean carrying on a partnership that's going nowhere, or sticking with someone who's non-committal. There's a "surface-level" attitude that can become toxic.
Speaking of toxic, a reversed Lovers is also a clear indication that a toxic connection has taken place. Whether it's in relation to another person, a career path, or lack of love for yourself, this card in this position tells us that some "connection" you have with something has gone sour. It's very similar to The Devil in reverse—however, that situation can reveal even worse toxicity such as depression, drug misuse, or emotional abuse.
Additionally, this can mean a "missed" connection. For some, it could indicate a karmic relationship that just wasn't meant to be in this lifetime. It may have started intensely and died out quickly. It may also just be an issue of bad timing (think: star-crossed lovers).
Finally, a reversed Lovers can also represent feeling out of balance or out of sync in some way. Usually, this is just a signal that it's time to look at the bigger picture—as you may have had some rose-colored glasses on that have blocked your true vision.