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The Chariot Card in Tarot and How to Read It

Andrea has a background in astrology, Myers Briggs, and pop culture with expertise in relationships and dating.

The Chariot is pulled forward by two sphinxes. The rider is crowned and holds a sword or wand. The rider is victorious and moving forward with their goals.

The Chariot is pulled forward by two sphinxes. The rider is crowned and holds a sword or wand. The rider is victorious and moving forward with their goals.

The Chariot Card in Tarot

The Chariot is all about momentum. It is the seventh trump of the Major Arcana and comes after the Lovers (VI) and before Justice (VIII).

Description

A figure stands in a chariot and is holding the reigns. In some versions, he holds a wand and uses it to direct the chariot. He is pulled by two sphinxes or horses—one is black and one is white.

Sphinxes were ancient Egyptian stone figures with the body of a lion and the head of a human or other animal. Sphinxes are considered riddles, and those who can't solve them may suffer consequences.

Direction Matters

If the sphinxes or horses pull in different directions, it will provide no net force, and therefore no acceleration as the forces cancel out each other. There is tension in the line because there are opposing forces at each end.

If the two horses work together, the chariot will pull the rider along faster than if he only used his legs. The horses are symbols for logic and emotion or the conscious and unconscious. If the two forces aren't unified, it creates friction and blocked energy.

Mercurial Imagery

The rider wears a crown or helmet with wings on the headgear. The wings are a symbol of the god Mercury, the messenger god who could travel easily to Earth and Mount Olympus. The god was a jack of all trades. He often delivered messages from Zeus to mortals and also guided souls to the underworld.

The rider's helmet implies it is important to try many different roles. You likely won't be the best in anything. However, you can have a diverse skill set and make yourself a strong asset to any team.

Self-Control of Free-Will

The mallet, or gavel, on the chariot's coat of arms is a masonic symbol that represents self-control. When you unite two forces, both forces must compromise and use self-control to make it happen.

The stars above the rider hint at the celestial influences guiding the Chariot. We're all in a balance of fate and free-will.

The Chariot card can be seen as:

  • The querent's car.
  • A vehicle of transportation.
  • Trips from work and back to home.
  • Longer trips and vacations.
  • Mechanical forces.

The element driving the card is water. The card is an indication that if you want to move forward in life you must know your emotions. The card is ruled by the Moon, which means the Chariot could represent a person with the Cancer sign.

The Chariot is about two unifying forces pulling a rider in a distinct direction. The concentration from the two forces allows the rider to go faster than if she simply went by foot.

The Chariot is about two unifying forces pulling a rider in a distinct direction. The concentration from the two forces allows the rider to go faster than if she simply went by foot.

Card Alignments

Upright

A journey, emotional growth, ambition, confidence, drive, overcoming obstacles, direction, unifying forces, flow, speed, vacations, travel, trips, movement, dexterity, energy, victor, success, control, action.

Reversed

Lack of direction, scattered energy, stagnation, self-doubt, blocked energy, no union between emotion and logic, delays, stalled, postponement, hiatus, cancellation, setbacks, loss.

Symbols

Moon Imagery

The driver is a warrior. He is decorated with crescent moons, which represents what will come. The Moon is Cancer's ruling planet. This card is about moodiness and the struggle to unify forces and make decisions.

Tunic With Square

A tunic with a square represents free-will. You have the option to carve out your own path and charge after your own goals.

Crown

The laurel or star crown represents victory and spiritual evolution. The crown relates to the celestial, the zodiac constellations, and the Divine.

Mysterious forces brought the warrior into the world. His existence was fated in the stars. This would be predestination.

The warrior gets to decide what to do with the reigns, this would be free-will. In order to go far, he needs to accept both fate and free-will.

He stands rather than sits, making him appear more active. The rider expresses his will. He doesn't idly sit back.

The River

Behind the chariot: a river. It is a symbol of water and emotions. The chariot driver may have wishes and a desire to do what he wants, but he will still have to go with the flow. Going against the current will only end in anguish.

The Chariot is about momentum. You have an objective and with the right energy and attitude you can achieve what you want. Enjoy the journey, and expect ups and downs.

The Chariot is about momentum. You have an objective and with the right energy and attitude you can achieve what you want. Enjoy the journey, and expect ups and downs.

Upright Chariot

The Chariot is about determination, strength, victory, and momentum. The card comes after the Lovers (VI), which represents two opposing forces coming together in a union.

Once those two forces from the Lovers card come together and successfully unite, the Chariot appears with the power to move. The forces behind the Chariot must work together or else no movement will take place.

When the Chariot appears in the upright position, it's a positive sign. It's an encouragement that things are moving in the right direction. You have set objectives and you are using the right energy to go toward them. When you apply discipline, consistency, and willpower to your goals, you'll put yourself in line with achieving them.

The card encourages you to stay active. Be focused and ready for challenges to arise. You may get pulled in a different direction: this will test your conviction to your goals.

Others may try to get in your way. They may step in your path. The Chariot gives you permission to work around obstacles.

Be focused. Remain confident. Don't let your ego be easily shaken. Don't get taken away by wins or losses. You'll have both. Stay passionate about developing skills: the best way to do so is to consistently give time to them.

Reminders of an upright Chariot:

  • Cutting corners or taking the easy route won't give you the experience you need to grow.
  • Failure, setbacks, and mistakes are part of the process for growth.
  • Endeavors are tests of conviction.
  • Victory isn't the only goal. Victory is just the cherry on top.

Be bold in expressing yourself. Have faith in yourself. Know your fundamentals, what you believe should take place in this world. If you met with the Hierophant (V) then you should already know your principles and have a solid belief system. If you're struggling to move forward, you should go back to the Hierophant to have your eyes opened and to gain direction.

Encouragement to Travel

The Chariot often represents travel in a reading. You may be considering a long road trip or backpacking through Europe. It's important to exercise daily: this strengthens both your body and mind. Intentional movement looks like: a daily walk, going kayaking, climbing walls, taking up archery, swimming, skiing, jumping.

  • Emotions and logic demand movement. Your soul isn't meant to sit idle and reject the body. You have a body for a reason: to get up and move.
  • Travel is essential for growth. Seeing more of the world will challenge you, help develop your perspective, and get you to try new experiences.
The Chariot pulls the victor. The victor is seen in public. People celebrate this person, and marvel at the technology he has at his disposal.

The Chariot pulls the victor. The victor is seen in public. People celebrate this person, and marvel at the technology he has at his disposal.

Reversed Chariot

In the reversed position, the Chariot encourages you to back up, slow down, rethink your route. You somehow got on the wrong track.

You've lost the point of the plot. You don't know up from down. You're clarity has taken a hit. You're trying too hard to force something to happen.

If you're up against a wall and you keep trying to make something happen, it probably means it's not going to happen. Sometimes you have to accept that things won't work. You've got to try something new.

Instead of trying to focus on the main plot, do some side quests. Run around and get some other things done. Sometimes things are blocked up for a reason, and all you can do is have patience.

It's good in life to be malleable. Look for different opportunities and possibilities and to try new things. You may have to stop what you're doing to do something else.

Reminders of a reversed Chariot:

  • Cool down, relax, go on a side adventure.
  • Reevaluate your goals. Maybe you're trying to do something that's ill-suited for your talents and skills.
  • Maybe you're in a toxic environment and trying to grow and get somewhere is futile.

You're in a battle with your ego. You have to know when it's time to stop and when it's time to go. Stop thinking about things in terms of wins and losses.

If you can only handle things in a competitive way, you'll eventually lose the plot. Instead try embracing collaboration.

  • Think more about how your words and actions come off to others. We share this world. It doesn't belong to just one person.
  • Live by grace and humility, not arrogance and aggression.

Embrace Introspection

The upright Chariot is about victory and public display. The reversed Chariot is about sneak attacks and private reflection. The upright Chariot is about following instincts and trusting your free-will. The reversed Chariot is about being cunning and getting out of an auto-pilot frame of mind.

  • If the challenges you're facing are creating too much stress: then put things on pause.
  • If you're not making headway on something, then try something else where you can make headway.
  • You may need different tools to go forward.
  • Sharpen your emotions and logic.
  • Sharpen your conscious and subconscious.

The reversed Chariot could be a warning that you're letting obstacles and challenges build-up. You're getting overwhelmed by blocked energy. Your life is basically in a constipated state. It's not going to feel better until you go with the flow.

You can still follow through with your commitments while also putting things on pause. The Chariot isn't about quitting; it is about rerouting your path and expectations.

  • Use meditation and visualization to consider if your energy is aligning with your goals.
  • Don't concern yourself too much with what is out of grasp.
  • Examine what you can do to improve the situation. Make a pros and cons list.
  • Stop trying to take control of everything. When we try to control everything it backfires: we lose control of everything.
  • You don't always have to be in the driver's seat.

Travel Concerns

When the reversed Chariot card appears, you should expect Mercury retrograde like troubles.

You'll run into delays, miscommunication, and hidden charges. People will seem more cranky than usual. Your luggage will go missing. Your car will suddenly stall on the highway.

The reversed Chariot might be an indicator that you should check to make sure your car is up to date. Do you have insurance cards on hand? Have you changed the oil recently? Are your tires in good shape? These are important things to check before you go on a big trip.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

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