The Chariot Card and Getting Some Direction in Your Life.

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.


The Chariot Card

 

Chariot

Some authors interpret this card as a sign of triumph and victory, Caesar arriving in a chariot after defeating his enemies.  What this card is really all about is control, effort, and work. The black and white sphinxes represent opposing forces harnessed, unfortunately, to the same vehicle.  The charioteer is charged with maintaining control over forces which may be incompatible and pulling him in opposite directions, maintaining balance in the midst of chaos.  

Note that the Chariot is not going anywhere.  It’s sitting perfectly still and the sphinxes are pretty much sitting on their asses and staring off in different directions.  This indicates that the questioner is going to have to work hard to even get things moving and then work harder to keep them under control.  

There is also a strong element of the mystical and calling on higher powers for help in this card.  He carries a wand, showing that he is channeling power and inspiration from a higher realm of being and the square on his chest shows that he is integrating all of the four elements into his efforts.

All in all, this is a card that shows a period of hard work, the need for control over forces or people that may have opposite views or be totally unmotivated, and the need to channel inspiration and higher guidance.  The crescent moons on his shoulders indicate that the period of hard work may last about a month and – in all probability – there will be a favorable outcome.

On a very mundane level, this card can indicate that the questioner is about to get a new vehicle or do some serious traveling.

REVERSED:  This can indicate that things are – or at least feel – totally out of control.  A period of chaos in the questioners life when he or she feels that exterior forces or people are controlling her destiny.

People in 12 Step Programs often emphasize the need to acknowledge – gracefully – that we are powerless over certain things in our lives.  That can be a big key in dealing with this card. Don’t fight or lash out at people or situations; just acknowledge that this is something that you can’t control and turn it over to your Higher Power.

Again, on a mundane level, this can indicate some sort of a problem with your car or delays in travel arrangements.

Some Additional Thoughts About the Chariot:

The Chariot is a very weird card.  On the surface the Charioteer looks very butch.  He’s got his armor on and a really impressive crown and there are crescent moons sitting on his shoulders and he’s protected by a canopy of stars.  He’s the kind of a guy that if you saw him sitting in his chariot at a stop light you might think, “Wow!”

Or even, “Zounds!”

But if you take a closer look there are some obvious signs that something’s wrong with this picture.  As I said in the basic definition the sphinxes aren’t going anywhere. They’re sitting on their butts and pointing in different directions.  Not exactly champing at their bits. Because – hey! – there are no bits. And while we’re at it, there are no reins. And there’s no harness.

Hmmmm . . .

So what we have is this guy sitting in his magnificent chariot with no way to make it go anywhere and no way to direct it even if it does go somewhere.   Which means that if you pull The Chariot in a reading you’ve got to start off with the basics.

First of all you have to get both sphinxes pointed in the same direction.  They represent your motive force, your motivations, your desires to go somewhere and achieve your goals.  The Chariot points to the fact that you’re probably going through a period in your life where you have a lot of different goals and they may not be compatible with each other.  You literally feel torn in a lot of different directions.

You need to get your goals straightened out and figure out where you want to go.  You’re at Point A and before you can figure out how to get to Point B you need to figure out what Point B is.  What do you WANT?

Hopefully you figure out your goal, you get both your sphinxes turned in that direction and you’re all ready to go!  Except . . . wait . . . you still don’t have reins and the sphinxes still aren’t harnessed to anything. That’s the next step.  

The sphinxes are your motivation, your power to get where you want to go.  But you need to learn how to control the power that flows out of that motivation.  To discipline yourself, keep your shit together and keep going on the path that you’ve chosen without flying off in a million different directions.

That’s the paradox of The Chariot.  At first glance it seems to portray someone who really has it together.  A closer look shows someone who is going to have a tough battle ahead and isn’t prepared for it.  Yet. There are basic lessons about discipline and control to be learned before the wheels of the chariot even start to turn.

As I said, The Chariot is a very weird card.