Today’s card is The Chariot. This is one of my favorite cards in the deck, second only to the High Priestess which is my favorite. The symbolism of The Chariot is very interesting to me and really represents this time of my life in a positive way.
This is a card of balance and the actionable result of the balance. If you take a card like The Lovers then you can see the progression of this energy. The Lovers are the opposite of the Devil which represents lust in contrast to love. One is master over the other. In The Lovers, the union is symbolized by a glowing angelic figure. The result of their love. The Chariot shows this same energy, but it is not displaying the result of the love, but the ACTION of the love.
The Chariot driver is like the mind and the horses are the senses. At least this is a most basic way to look at the situation presented. There is much power in the horses, a symbol we still use to this day with engines and cars. If the horses are not under control through discernment then their energies are dangerous and they can cause harm. If the driver is in control of the sense, then the power becomes his power and he is a king. It all depends on what is using what.
Coming back to The Lovers and the Devil cards they display this perfectly. In the lovers, the man is looking at the woman and she is looking at the angel. The angel is looking down at her and is sending blessings and shining light back represented by the hand gesture of giving. Here we see a completion of the circuit. Love is being used for what the power of love is there for. To make the light-bulb shine. By practicing love we complete the circuit and the light turns on.
On the Devil card we see a very different state of affairs. Here, the man and the woman are chained to the beast. This is symbolizing the fact that the senses are in control over the man and woman. They are chained to their own desires and their own impulses. Here the man is looking at the woman but the woman is looking away. The devil seems to be looking directly at you and there is no completion of anything, there is simply a glowing stare that wants more, more, more!
So in one case we see love as being a positive and beautiful thing; a thing that shines light and brings harmony through unification. On the other hand we see the senses using the man instead of the man using his senses. It is similar to smoking cigarettes. At first you find it repulsive, but if you do it a little you find at first a little pleasure and then more pleasure. Pretty soon you are back to where you started and the cigarettes bring you no pleasure but you still have to smoke them. At that point the cigarettes stop being smoked and start smoking you.
The Chariot shows the middle ground between the results of The Lovers and the Devil cards. Through discrimination of good and bad, the driver can steer the senses one direction or the other and cover the distance to the goal. Otherwise, it is like the drivers is asleep at the reins and the horses are running any direction without any sense or reasoning. They may run over others or lead the chariot over a cliff with the driver along for the ride.
The horses have names as well. One is mercy and compassion and the other is severity and harsh punishment. These two forces are also shown in many symbols, most specifically the Yin and Yang. These two forces are controlled through discretion which is very powerful. Some situations require kindness and compassion. Others absolutely require you to be appalled and repulsed. If you can tell the difference between these two paths, then you can always be sure that you are traveling in the right direction.
The Chariot shows these two forces under control, in their proper amounts at the proper times. This is the middle ground that can lead in two directions. Either to bondage or freedom. Into ignorance or knowledge. From sleeping into being awake. The Chariot shows us the way to controlling ourselves and therefor discover ourselves. If a canine is a wolf it will attack you and kill you without even thinking. If man has shown love to a canine for many years, overtime the wolf understands the human and the human the wolf. The wolf ceases to be a wolf and turn into what has been called “man’s best friend”. At this point the once wolf that would kill a man without a second thought becomes a creature that would give it’s life for its master. That is the great power of love and it is very real.
Let us make our natures like the trustworthy “man’s best friend” and not like the savage wolf. Let us all be friends to all people and lovers of all things. For that is the nature of one who is in control of their senses. This is the nature of the entire universe!