Sunday, July 29, 2012

In For the Ride of Your Life - Reflections on the Chariot

The card numbered 7 in the Tarot is the Chariot. This card depicts a warrior about to arrive to receive a hero’s welcome - or a bittersweet homecoming, the end result is dependent on a few variables. The Charioteer is decked out in formal attire patterned with stars, a crown, and ornamental zodiac symbols upon his belt; they are typically faced forward, confrontational, and commanding. Hoisted off the ground by the Chariot, they are a cut above their peers on foot. The Chariot is different from the cards we have seen thus far in that it is the first card to represent something more than a concept embodied by or in an individual. It is a vehicle. It is describing a process or tool, not so much a persona.

The Chariot is the journey, the process, the unfolding of events. The characters in the card are important but work as part of a whole. The Charioteer commandeers the vehicle, but he alone does not manifest his ultimate victory. He relies on two Sphinx who pull the chariot. One is white, one black, reminiscent of the pillars in the High Priestess card, representing the internal, intuitive, and receptive nature as well as the outward, active, and projective powers. These two opposites provide a balance but in the present situation they also represent two opposing drives or forces that bring progress to a halt. A stalemate is reached and further action is delayed until the Charioteer finds a way to overcome the stagnation caused by these two drives cancelling each other out. Success is not out of the picture, nor is the near completion of a project or task, but the chariot is brought to a halt by a conflict that forces closer examination.

The opposing forces in this card are not typically signs of outside interference. It is not an enemy caravan that blocks the road ahead, nor is it debris left by a careless traveler. It is a part of the vehicle itself that has ceased to work. The wheels of the chariot have been sabotaged not by foreign intervention, but by a breakdown within the vehicle itself, namely the forces being called forth to drive it in the first place. We see the Sphinxes as being part man and part animal, and in this card, the forces that create motion to begin with; in this sense, they are not an innate part of the Charioteer but have become a part of his process of action, behavior, routine, and conquest. They have served him well for the majority of his journey but suddenly what has been driving him will no longer suffice.

This is the message in this card. Ideals are important, the finish line is within reach, and outwardly, much effort has already been expended. What remains is the internal work, the recognition of forces that compete rather than enhance each other. This is where one must now focus to recharge their mission and find an integrated source of motivation, mission, and power to continue onward.

In a mundane sense these obstacles can look like someone who has put effort into getting an education to prepare them for a career only to fall victim to last minute doubts and fears that slowly sabotage the launching of what would otherwise have been a successful business. It could also be the nagging doubts that keep one from making a significant positive change to their lifestyle even though a part of them relentlessly dreams about this change. It is the vision of having what you have worked for and desire, darkened by the tension and anxiety about what it would mean to finally have the results you want. Stalling, or worse, self sabotage are possible here, but so is growth, transcendence, and success.

The key is in finding the energy to push forward. When the Chariot appears, success can be yours, but internal re-organization needs to occur. Old baggage, outdated thoughts and routines are weighing you down and will not allow you to pass the crossroads successfully if they are not dealt with soon. In order to reach success a full commitment must be made, and this involves belief in one’s self and willingness to take risks in order to finish the journey rather than settling for “good enough.”

Article by: Angela Kaufman.  Angela is a Priestess for the Dragon Warriors of Isis Coven in Upstate, New York, and the co-author of Wicca: What's the Real Deal?  She is a professional tarot reader.  For more information about Wicca: What's the Real Deal? visit

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