I have to admit that I read Tarot cards for years before I flashed on the fact that there are no reins attached to the sphinxes in The Chariot. As I said in my basic definition, this is a very deceptive card on its’ surface. The charioteer looks like he’s totally in control of the situation but, upon closer examination, there’s no sign of control at all. The sphinxes are black and white, representing opposing forces, and they’re sitting on their butts, not moving forward. And they’re not harnessed to The Chariot. The charioteer might as well be a lawn ornament for all of the real action that’s involved.
What The Chariot is really all about is figuring out what your goals are going to be. And, since this is a card of the Major Arcana, it’s not about figuring out what your minor goals are going to be. It’s not about what you want to do next week or next month or even next year. It’s about figuring out what you want to do with your life.
Put it this way: goals, desires, life purpose are what puts harnesses on the sphinxes and puts the reins in the charioteers hands. Your goals are what motivate you, what cause you to go forward and evolve instead of just sitting in place. You have to know where you want to go before you can start your journey.
And, like The Chariot, that can be deceptive on the surface. Most of us hustle and bustle through life being good at what we do. We do a good job for our employers, we’re good parents, we’re good sons and daughters and friends. And, as long as we’re, “doing good,” we figure that’s enough. We fill our busy schedules up with so many details that we don’t even have time to think. We don’t question why we’re here. We’re here to work hard and buy IPhones, right?
We usually don’t contemplate if that’s really all that there is until, unfortunately, we encounter a tragedy or a catastrophe. The death of a life partner or our parents or children, a terrible divorce, losing all of our possessions and going bankrupt. And then we get hit smack between the eyes with those very troubling questions. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? Is this all there is to life? Is there some purpose to all of this that I’m supposed to fulfill?
And then there’s a big surprise. Those are REALLY HARD QUESTIONS!!! You can go through a lot of fortune cookies and not find the answers, believe me.
One way to get started is The Subtractive Method. If you can’t quite figure out who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing, then figure out what you aren’t and what you’re not supposed to be doing.
There’s a Feng Shui exercise where you walk into a room and you just feel its’ energy. You try to sense what’s harmonious in the room and what isn’t. If there’s something that feels like it doesn’t fit with the energy of the room and your personal energy field, then you subtract it. And you keep subtracting until the energy feels right. For example:
“Hmmmm . . . this is my meditation room. I have my statue of the Buddha and my painting of Red Tara. There’s my altar bowl with the incense in it. Altar, meditation pillow, check. The quartz crystals on the window sill feel good. And . . . um . . . that giant stuffed giraffe with purple polka dots that my boyfriend gave me. That’s wrong. That’s definitely wrong. I’ll subtract that . . .”
And you can do the same thing with your life. Remove what’s NOT you until what IS you starts to emerge.
Here’s a neat trick that life coach Tambre Leighn suggests in her course on dealing with the grief process:
A – get a pen and paper and write out one word listings of things that are important to you. These might be things like love, serenity, happiness, music, art, friendship, etc.
B – go back and write a brief sentence for each word describing what they actually mean to you.
C – arrange them in order of importance, most important to least important.
So now you have a list that you can call your, “core values.” These are the things that are most valuable to you in life, therefore they are clues as to why you’re here and where you should be going.
Keep the list handy. When you’re faced with decisions like, “Do I really want this job?” or, “Am I really interested in this person?” take a look at your list. Is the job or the person really compatible with your values? If quiet and serenity is important to you do you want to get involved with a guy who’s a party animal? If peace of mind is important to you, do you want a high pressure job with a lot of extra demands?
As you continue to eliminate or subtract people and situations that are incompatible with your values the real you will start to emerge. You will start to instinctively move toward energy that’s compatible with your higher purpose and you’ll be on your way.