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card meanings [home |  tarot | astrology | shop | free newsletter | about me]
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The Chariot
What an elegantly simple card for something as true then as now: Control. The word 'balance' is so hideously cliched in tarot circles that I'm almost afraid to use it but with this card it has a place. Controlling and allowing yourself to be controlled are central to our interface with the world whether it is an issue between us and a partner, or with the government, a colleague, the boss... anything. We need to establish and take control of our lives but not to the extent that we attempt to control every situation we go into or might go into...

Again the idea of duality is very strongly represented in this card making it one of the tarot's great 'conjunction' cards, linking themes and ideas together.

 the chariot tarot card marseilles deckA reader once interpreted this for me as a warning against reckless driving.  I laughed at this, being then some 20 years with never a point, and promptly copped a speeding ticket on the way home.  The power of suggestion.  What this card does represent – and it’s the most consistent, graphically, across the various ‘classic’ and original Tarots – is control.  This can be very desirable and necessary, as in the control we must exert over our emotions.  The civilizing mind ruling the savage instincts of our baser natures.  Here the image of the chariot is instructive. It is difficult to drive, requiring the balanced control of two or more horses and the balance to stand firm in the light vehicle itself.  Bends and bumps can threaten disaster – so look at the context of the card.  In battle, the chariot is not used head on but as a fast, light attack, wearing down an opponent gradually.  Aspects of control can be looked at in relationship terms where the chariot can represent heroically maintaining control, the danger of losing control or, sometimes, an attempt at controlling – often through constant, small ways that can erode an otherwise firm basis. 
    The Chariot stands for the great leap forward. It shows that we can detach ourselves from our familiar surroundings and go our own way. In doing so, the desire for freedom, ambition, the search for paradise lost, or simply our own need for recognition are driving forces. The Chariot is the only Tarot card that shows the departure to be full of confidence and joy. In all other cases, parting is shown to be characterized by feelings of heaviness and fear. Here, however, is a vigorous, undaunted push forward, initiative, and a great willingness to take risks. The card shows a vast amount of skill (steering the chariot), but also inexperience (entering an unknown world). It must therefore be additionally understood as a warning not to overestimate one's own powers and act too self-confidently and euphorically. Instead, we should, in good time, gain the insight that we still have much to learn.












© Jeremy Rogers 2007 Document made with Nvu return to top