The Chariot - Revealing the secrets you always wanted to know
Understanding the Chariot can bring a bout of confusion. The card in itself can have contradictory meanings; however its history and significance remain rooted in focus, goals, and power of will. Does this mean it will guide you to achieve your goals, or have you become too aggressive in pursuing the wrong areas of your life? It is important to look at the many symbols within this card and consider their spiritual connections to you before jumping to conclusions.
Story and evolution of the card
Some sources like learntarot.com describe the figure on the card to be Julius Caesar returning to Rome in triumph. However, many other sources describe him as being a "princely figure" which could be any prince or king. In the Viking Deck we see Thor, and in many we see Ares. The common theme is a strong and successful king, prince, god, or other warrior guided buy two animals of contrasting color.
We typically see a canopy of six pointed stars alluding to celestial happening at work. This is combated with alchemy symbols, usually on our princely figures clothing, which show man's hand in dealing with the supernatural and accepting spiritual transformation. The fine detail in most tarot decks will have no reigns anywhere to be seen, and all major characters face away from a city or town in the background. This is to show the act of putting aside worldly influence and purposefully focusing on spiritual guidance.
Interesting decks in which it play a special role
While we have already mentioned the Viking Deck in which we see Thor, the details of the card in this deck are very fascinating. Thor is standing tall and proud, the celestial hammer Mjölnir in hand and true to other traditional tarot decks: he holds no reigns. Being the God of Thunder, there is no doubt this card can mean a great triumph or life change in the near future.
Another deck in which this card is unique is the Druid Craft Tarot Deck because it is one of very few in which our hero is a woman. Also unlike many others, she does indeed hold the reigns of two horses: one black and one white. This could mean the choice to allow good and bad to achieve natural balance in your life as opposed to taking action into your own hands.
Meaning of the card (standing)
The meaning of the card can be interpreted as success or victory of a goal, self-motivation and willpower, or assertiveness and strength. This can often be confusing because of this question: how can my own will and strength be found in these tarot cards when so many spiritual symbols show a divine force is in charge?
While there are spiritual hands guiding the way, you may have come to an open door that has been placed before you. A Chariot card means that it is up to you to walk through that door; your spiritual guides are not going to do it for you. Simply put, this card means you now have all the will and strength you need to achieve your goals, now you must choose to use that power to succeed.
Self-discipline and encouragement can also be found in this card. It means you have the authority to control an important aspect of your life that has worried you in the past and now you must will yourself to take the next steps and let your spiritual reigns guide you. Another interpretation is a revelation of truth. An epiphany can be just around the corning brining clarity and focus towards your future goals and plans.
Reversed meaning of the card
Look to the light and dark, good and bad, or black and white. This card not only shows great strength as a positive thing, but it can also so how an excess of power or imbalance of emotion or discipline can cause things to become faulty. The black and white sphinxes represent opposing forces, but notice how one is not bigger than the other.
This card can be a reminder to regain control but it can also be a sign to loosen control in an area where too much attention and focus has been places. When seen with the Tower, a humbling experience is to come. Perhaps too much aggression or strife has caused arrogance or spitefulness?
Tarot in Pop Culture: "Christine"
This is my favorite example of tarot in pop culture. A horror-ridden example of our Chariot card is shown in Steven King's classic flick, "Christine". This in every way portrays power, strength, and aggression that the downtrodden and mistreated teen had hoped for.
Basic meaning of the card if the question refers to:
Whether your concern is love or friendship, a Chariot will point towards the confidence and ability to pursue your desire. However, with the Tower or Eight of Swords you may find discouragement as a sign to move forward and part ways.
Business Life and Career
Leadership and discernment can be found. If a major career move has been on your mind, this could be confirmation that the risk is well worth it. Now is the time to move.
When loved ones are concerned, strength and aggression can be taken many ways. Look at other pairings for confirmation. With the Hanged Man or Ten of Swords you may find that someone has been feeling neglected and you need to put them before yourself. Likewise, you may find that your assertion and power could be a beacon for your family to follow.
Overall the Chariot is one of the symbols in tarot that will bring enlightenment and encouragement to your life. It can mean will power, discipline, and victory to come. Even humility is a positive corner stone of life that many kings and gods of old have a tale for: do not be discouraged by your own shortcomings for failure often builds the greatest leaders. For an interesting experience don't forget Viking Deck and the Druid Craft Deck as the unique spiritual symbols in these tarot cards give a personal reading you may not get elsewhere. Please comment below with any questions or concerns.