The Chariot is the seventh card in the Tarot Deck.
The Chariot card represents the ability to pull your own Chariot. The Chariot represents you, your body and your mind.
Who is in control of you? You or something else -- food, work, relationships, belief systems or your emotions?
When you pull your own Chariot, making decisions are easier and goals are faster to reach.
The Chariot can be your friend leading you to great places.
Listen to Oprah Winfrey’s wisdom about staying on your path -- to me this sums up the teaching of The Chariot
Let’s look at the picture below of The Chariot. The picture is from the Rider Waite Tarot deck which was first published in 1909. It is a great deck for beginners because every card has a picture describing its meaning. Today the majority of Tarot decks are based on the Rider Waite deck. It is also a ‘deep’ deck because the creators of it put multi layered meanings inside it.
We see a man standing in a chariot. The chariot is not moving. It is pulled by two Spinx’s. The man wears armor and ceremonial symbolism. Behind him lies water, nature and a city.
Man in the Chariot
A man stands in the chariot. He looks stern and there is tension in his face. He is not super relaxed, in fact he is focused and we can imagine he needs to get somewhere. He is determined to succeed in whatever he does and he has the confidence to do it.
The man stands upright, back straight. He looks like a muscular warrior, ready to go into battle and achieve his aims. He is powerful and he knows it.
The mans expression is stern and tense. This is not a relaxed man. He has goals/destinations to reach. Not the type of person we want to get in the way of. This is someone with a balanced ego.
He knows who he is, where he is going and how to get there.
There is a lot of symbolism on this mans clothing. Lets take a closer look.
His skirt has symbols of ceremonial magic on it.
His belt has 8 sections with signs of ceremonials magic in each. A Magician also has will and determination and here we see the connection between the two characters. As Eliphas Levi the magician said, ‘All magic is in the Will’.
On his chest plate is a square representing the Kabbalistic notion of the Four worlds.
These shoulder plates represent Urin and Thummin -- the shoulder plates of the High Priest of Jerusalem.
They are also lunar shaped reminding us of the High Priestess and the fact that the Moon rules the astrological sign of Cancer. The Moon also represents the unconscious.
In order to be in control of our everyday life and habits we must understand and work with our unconscious. The faces on the shoulder plates are happiness and sadness, the two sides of our emotions. They remind us to take into account how we feel when we move forward to reach our goals.
The Charioteer holds a magic wand in his right hand. Unlike the Magician who holds the wand above him in order to get help from above, this man holds his wand down. He is in control of his destiny and uses his will and determination to get what he wants.
The headgear on the Charioteer is a laurel wreath representing Victory. There is also a crown with an 8 pointed star which represents ascension to higher levels.
The Chariot is made from stone and is stationary. It would seem to be heavy to pull. The man seems to actually blend into the chariot as if he is one with it. It might remind us not to get too locked up in our Persona, the Jungian psychology term for the mask we wear to present to the world. We can get too caught up in our image and who we think we are and blend with that image -- but we need to remember we are so much more than that.
On the front of the chariot is the red symbol of the Lingham / Yoni -- the ancient symbols from India representing male and female, Shiva and Paravati. Together they become one. The wings above the Yoni show that the joining of male and female within bring us closer to God / Great Spirit.
Canopy over Chariot
There is a canopy over the chariot which is covered in stars. It shows us we are connected to the stars and the higher divine energies. The veil behind the Charioteer also reminds us of the veil behind the High Priestess. In the Chariot nothing is hidden -- there is awareness of all levels of consciousness.
There are two sphinx -- black and white. They represent our senses -- conscious and unconscious. The black sphinx is the moon, the feminine and the unconscious. The white sphinx is the sun, the masculine and the conscious. Together they create harmony and balance. Because they are pulling the chariot they can pull it anyway they want -- BUT -- the Charioteer controls them with his will power and determination. His focus and ability to control his emotions and thoughts means he reaches his destination when he wants.
Castles / City in Background
The man is driving away from a city/castle. It shows he is civilized and educated. Ddecisions that he makes will be calculated and not spontaneous.
Green in Background
We see the possibility of fertility when we control our own Chariot. We can grow what we want when we want it. It also reminds us of the Empress card and her abundance. Abundance and rewards comes to us when we focus on our goals.
Water in Background
The water in the background reminds us that we can be emotional and intuitive when we pull our Chariot but that it should not control us. It also reminds us of the High Priestess where there was water in the background behind her veil. We should remain grounded and practical to achieve goals. Often routine is the best way to achieve goals. Yet we should not become so rigid and goal orientated that we ignore our emotions and intuition.
Gods / Goddesses
The Chariot is ruled by all the Gods and Goddesses of past and present that were strategic, intelligent and strong. The Chariot also represents victory so deities of war can be represented here.
Female: Astarte, Tanit, Inanna, Ishtar, Anat, The triple goddess Morrigan (Nemain, Badb and Macha), Freyja, Bast, Pakhet, Athena, Nike,
Victoria, Durga, Kathyayini
Male: Kokou, Maher, Huitzilopochtli, Belus, Teutates, Woden, Odin, Thor, Horus, Sobek, Aries, Mars, Hanuman, Murugan
The number of The Chariot is 7.
In many traditions 7 is a very special number. In the Bible / Torah, God rested on the 7th day which became known as Shabbat. The number 7 is one part of a moons cycle.
4 x 7 is 28 days which is just under a moons cycle -- this card is ruled by the Moon which directs the astrological sign of Cancer.
The astrological sign Cancer rules this card. Just like the crab with the hard shell but the soft exterior, the Chariot can also be hard on the outside. Sometimes in order to reach goals we have to be disciplined and focused. If I want to lose weight I cant eat ice cream every day -- I need to be hard and disciplined.
The Moon rules Cancer so the Moon will also come up in this card.
The creators of the Rider Waite Tarot deck were members of the Golden Dawn, a group that had many teachings based on the mystical Kabbalah of the Jewish nation. When I say Kabbalah forget about monotheism, Judaism, God, and religion for a moment. Kabbalists are mystics in a sense. They believe God is neither male nor female and in fact has many aspects. Their systems are all about learning why we are here, the mystery of the universe and what the big plan is.
Inside the Rider Waite deck is a multitude of Kabbalistic meanings. I will briefly explain a few of the Kabbalistic meanings within The Emperor card. Believe me when I say you could learn for the rest of your life about Tarot and Kabbalah and still only scratch the surface. I’m keeping it superficial but easy to understand. I am also using on purpose the word Kabbalah rather than Cabala.
The number 7 in Kabbalah means Victory. The Chariot has the ability to achieve victory.
The Chariot is represented by the letter Chet ח . Chet represents a fence. Our mind is our protection (fence) from the outside world when we have a strong healthy ego. However the mind can also fence us off from great things if we stay narrow minded.
The Chariot on The Tree of Life sits at the 7th Sephirah, Netzach which means Victory.
Speech is the main sense associated with The Chariot. Speech can help us expand and explain complicated ideas. Speech however can limit us because we cannot also convey experiences through words. Speech therefore can liberate us or bind us. So too with the Chariot -- we can have too much control or too little. The trick is to find the balance.
Merkabah Mysticism (earlier version of Jewish mysticism) taught that the goal was to reach Gods chariot / Throne by ascending through the 7 heavenly halls.
The name of The Chariot is ‘Intelligence of the House of Influence’. Intelligence influences our life by the decisions that we make.
KEYWORDS / KEY PHRASES
Your life is in your hands. That is the essence of the Chariot.
Will, perseverance, control, victory, reaching goals, focus and intent, discipline. Self determination, resilience and power.
The ability to stay on course and true to your purpose.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHARIOT
The Chariot wants you to know that victory is possible and every goal is attainable with the right mindset, focus and will power. When people say, ‘…but I cant’ they are not utilizing the power of The Chariot.
In the Bhagavad Gita, there is a quote, ‘The Self is the rider in the Chariot of the body, of which the senses are the horses and the mind, the reins’.
To me this quote, sums up The Chariot in its totality. Be the mistress of your mind and senses. We also see symbols in this card representing all the cards that came before it. It as if the Charioteer has integrated all the past lessons and now uses them to achieve his goals.
Fool -- ability to move forward
The Magician -- the wand
The High Priestess -- the water, sphinxes and the veil
The Empress -- the green fertility
The Emperor -- the stone chariot and the city
The Hierophant -- the shoulder plates
The Lovers -- the lingham and yoni
Ask yourself these questions:
How do you drive your Chariot? With balance?
Do I know what my current goals are?
Do I feel I am in control of my life?
What goals do I need to reach in the next six months?
How can I take control of my life?
Do I know where I want to go in life?
Am I feeling confident in reaching my goals -- what do I need to do to get there?
Have I the ability to reach my goals by controlling my passions?
Do I believe I will succeed?
Allow yourself to focus on the power that sits within your mind. The mind has the ability to control and sometimes this is exactly what we need in order to move forward.
THE CHARIOT REVERSED
When I see a reversed card I simply see the energy blocked or inhibited in some way.
How would The Chariot be inhibited?
Imagine feeling stuck, unable to move forward with an inability to reach goals. Imagine failing over and over again to reach your goals and the utter frustration that can bring.
If you get The Chariot reversed for yourself or someone else some questions to ask might be…
Am I failing to reach my goal / destination?
Do I feel stuck? Where do I feel stuck?
Is my energy scattered?
What bad habits do I need to break that hold me back?
Do I feel confused and pulled in many directions?
Do I feel unfocused and all over the place in regards to my goal?
Do I make plans and lists but fail to implement anything?
Do you feel your Ego is weak?
How can I reach my goals -- what steps forward do I need to take today?
Am I pushing myself too hard and not allowing some gentleness into my life?
If you get The Chariot reversed it is warning you to wake up and see how your life is being controlled by your emotions, habits and outside influences.
TO SUM IT ALL UP…
The Chariot invites you to understand that when you do not make conscious decisions, decisions will be made for you. If you really want something then go for it! Do not wait for permission or an easier day. Start now! We only have the now.
Do you want a relationship? Do you want a child? Do you want a promotion at work? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to run that marathon or get a degree?
So start now to do WHAT YOU CAN. Yes, we might need outside help along the way, but at least make the choice to reach your goals, even on the hard days.
Victory is possible when we use our will, determination and passion with focus.