Heroic Tarot Tuesday: Major Arcana X-Men, Part VI
6 The Lovers: Rogue
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ~C.G. Jung
Today we continue our look at the Major Arcana of the Tarot through the lens of Marvel’s X-Men comic book characters! Thus far we have discussed Professor X as the Magician, Storm as the High Priestess, Jean Grey as the Empress, Cyclops as the Emperor and Nightcrawler as the Hierophant! This week we celebrate Rogue as the Lovers!
Rogue debuted as a villain when she attacked the Avengers with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Avengers Annual #10). This incarnation of the Brotherhood was led by the shape-shifting terrorist Mystique who adopted Rogue as a young runaway and raised her with the mutant precognitive Destiny. Rogue was the Brotherhood’s secret weapon as she had the mutant power to absorb the memories, physical strength and special abilities or powers with whomever she came into direct skin to skin contact.
Mystique found Rogue as a young runaway coping with the traumatic experience of having put the first boy she kissed into a coma by accidentally absorbing his psyche. Mystique and Destiny took Rogue under their wing and trained her to be a terrorist. They teach her so well that in Rogue’s battle with the Avengers she takes down Thor and the Vision all by herself! It is in Rogue’s first appearance that she also fights Ms. Marvel, also known as Carol Danvers (and currently Captain Marvel, starring in her own solo title). Rogue fights Ms. Marvel and accidentally steals her powers and memories, and Carol falls into a coma.
After this encounter, neither woman is ever the same. Carol leaves the Avengers and later becomes the cosmic-powered Binary. Rogue has to deal with having two very strong psyches take residence in her brain. Her personalities as Rogue and as Carol Danvers eventually become so separate that they inhabit her body in a kind of grudge match. In addition, everyone that Rogue uses her powers on leaves a psychic imprint in her mind, further breaking her personality down. Rogue found that she had to leave the Brotherhood and ask Professor Xavier for help. This created a huge rift between Rogue and her foster mother Mystique, but also put her in a precarious position with the X-Men because they did not trust her. To make matters worse, Carol Danvers had been a personal friend and ally of the X-Men, especially Wolverine.
Rogue eventually gained the trust of the X-Men after she saved the lives of Mariko Yashida (Wolverine’s fiance) and Colossus. Rogue had been shown great kindness by Mariko and felt honor bound to save her. It was during this time that Rogue started to question her upbringing and whether she really wanted to continue on that path.
Unfortunately, Rogue was having blackouts when the Carol Danvers personality would take over and feeling like a stranger in her own body, Rogue’s mind began to further split into echoes of psychic fragments. This situation, combined with her inability to have intimacy, was taking its toll on her. Professor Xavier examined Rogue’s mind as well as he could, but he could only skim her surface thoughts as she had absorbed some of Ms. Marvel’s alien DNA. It was, however, Professor X’s opinion that nothing was inherently wrong with Rogue and that the secret to controlling her powers lay within her grasp.
A trip through a mystical portal called the Siege Perilous separated the personalities of Rogue and Ms. Marvel into their own bodies, but there was only enough life force for one of them. Magneto intervened and destroyed the Carol Danvers version.
Much later in her career, Rogue finds the ability to control her powers. She did this by understanding that she had created mental blocks from the trauma induced from using her powers. With help from Professor Xavier, she overcame these PTSD memories and found the inner confidence to use her powers instead of letting her power use her.
In the Tarot, the Lovers card represents combining the aspects of one’s head and heart, of feeling and intellect. It is a symbol of true synthesis. The Lovers card teaches us how to bring together opposites for a union of the divine and the mundane. The idea of partnership is integral to its meaning. We learn how to take responsibility for our selves and our relationships. Choice is determined between something new and something old and this helps us make better balanced decisions. Of course, this requires that our conscious and unconscious minds be in agreement.
Rogue best represents this archetype as she has long struggled with morality (Mystique’s path versus Professor X’s dream) and her relationships mirrored her self worth. When she was with Mystique she was brash, arrogant and unsure of herself. After her tenure with the X-Men she grew to love herself and eventually became a leader and teacher.
Her battles with the (literal) voices in her head gave her great compassion for the struggles of the human spirit and she eventually found a way to overcome them. She now has new found love for herself and can touch and be touched on her own terms. She is free from guilt and free from self-bondage.
In my X-Men Tarot system Rogue is represented by the fours, which relates to the body, rules and security. We have already seen that ideally Cyclops is a better fit for the fours as he embodies the quality of the Emperor. However, these days Rogue could give Scott a run for his throne as he has been representing the negative qualities of leadership (dictatorship). Conversely, Rogue has been taking on more responsibilities with the Uncanny Avengers and is attempting to bridge the divide between humans and mutants now that she has synthesized her inner and outer relationships.
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Artwork in this post by Jim Lee, Olivier Coipel, Marc Silvestri, John Cassaday, Olivier Coipel, June Brigman, Michael Golden, and Arthur Adams, respectively.
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