Know the self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect the charioteer, and the mind the reins. -- Veda Upanishads
In the last few weeks, I have read Tarot at some events where I have reading after reading. During these readings, I notice some universal themes and cards arise. The intuitive message that Spirit is giving me about these cards is that this is a cycle we are in, rather than applicable just to that person. My message is usually to tap into this energy and ride the wave. One cycle trend I have noticed is the Chariot. Number VII of the Major Arcana, the Chariot is about victory, accomplishment, action, and movement and further, driving one's own fate.
I love the quote from the Upanishads, (and I noticed after I picked it that Marcia Masino uses a similar quote in her book Best Tarot Practices). So much of this card is about understanding the Self and using every aspect of yourself to achieve. The underlying themes of this card is self-will, control, action, motivation, progress...The Chariot often comes after a period of hard work and action. It is the card that nods to your hard work, willpower, determination, and diligence. Spirit acknowledges you in that way. And acknowledges that you could have taken this path by dishonest means, or even easier means, but you kept your integrity. The hard work remains an important aspect of your path. This is an important part of this card--Integrity. I often talk about turning one's will over to the Divine, and so often, the cards ask us to trust in our path, or in Spirit to hold us and care for us. Our needs will be met. And certainly, Spirit still reminds us of that when we talk about the Chariot, but this is a card of ACTION. Da-Da-DUH! You must be the Charioteer, controlling your responses to things, seeing the road in front of you, and navigating the inevitable potholes.
Seven, in numerology, is a very mystical number. The number of faith, it is most psychic, or rather intuitive, number, and often the role of Seven is one of spiritual completion and wholeness--seven chakras, seven days to create the work, seven pillars of wisdom. It can indicate a completion and period of solitary reflection. Indeed, the King (yes, he is a King) on this card is alone, but you get the sense that he has an army behind him.
We might say that this card represents that cliche, "God will move mountains, but you need to bring a shovel." Or maybe even you direct a team of people with shovels. The King, adorned with breast plate and scepter, stands proud. His crown holds a star above his head, which is hovering around the crown chakra. This is such an important aspect to me as a crystal and energy healer. I look for clues into chakra work. And so, this card, which seems so action-oriented, is grounded in the crown. Huh? It is because his work is grounded in integrity and alignment with his soul path. Look at his kilt (skirt, I almost said). It has all the signs of the Zodiac, and driving his Chariot are two Sphinx.
Let's talk about the Sphinx, because it is a terribly important part of this card. These Sphinc represent the logic and mind at work as well as his travels out of his land. (Some say they also mirror the Pillars on the front of the High Priestess.) The symbolism of the Tarot resides heavily in the Ancient Greek myths that has become part of our cultural language. And the myth of Sphinx tells us something about this card. The Sphinx, the head of a Woman and body of a Lion, tests the brave to answer her riddle. She torturously killed anyone who fails, but rewards those who truly understand life and death.
Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?
It is Man in all the phases of his life. And so the wisdom here, the man who tames the Sphinx, forcing the phases of man to work on his behalf, drives his own chariot. The Sphinx is this pull between our animal strength and our intellect. In this way, the Chariot asks us to recognize the power in self-restraint and the taming of our own internal beasts. This card often has a strong underlying sexual tone, as the Chariot is the card of sexual prowess. So, when I pull this card in the challenge position, I sometimes ask how power comes into sexual relationships for the questioner.
The curtains above this King, as the crown, harken to the Star, the card of great hope and optimism. Where this King's thoughts go, energy flows, and he keeps his thoughts aligned with the Divine and his ultimate goal. Though his body is shielded in metal, his heart is a strong clear block in the center of him. His heart is aligned with the Highest Intentions. The Chariot is a beautifully positive, victorious and multi-dimensional card to receive. But remember the words--action, integrity, hard work, self-will aligned with Divine will, power, self-knowledge.
A great affirmation for this card might be:
I align my will with Divine will.