Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator.
And change has its enemies.
Robert F. Kennedy
In this very busy astrological week, one that irrevocably flings open this year’s doors of change, we welcome The Chariot.
Coming up in the next seven days, we have Venus turning retrograde on Tuesday the 15th. Then, on Sunday, the 20th, at 11:16am (EDT), the Sun moves into Gemini. Only a few hours later, at 7:06pm, the Moon then also moves into the sign of The Twins and is immediately followed by a New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Gemini at 7:48pm. For more about how this may affect things, I recommend this article about the Venus retro, and this website that discusses the eclipse in depth.
Saddle up, my friends. We’re in for “interesting” times. And as the age-old questions asks, is that a blessing? Or curse?
The Chariot offers a hopeful answer. It is the lucky number 7 of the Major Arcana, and the Rider-Waite-Smith image fairly overflows with magical symbolism.
Arthur Waite describes this card as “conquest on all planes – in the mind, in science, in progress, in certain trials of initiation… He is above all things triumph in the mind.”
The Chariot is drawn by the two Sphinxes of duality (black and white), indicating that the charioteer has answered the ancient riddle of the Sphinx and now is granted the ability to move ahead. Thus, he has passed the first degree of initiation by solving a vital, difficult question, or perhaps making a challenging choice.
This interpretation is reinforced by many Tarot scholars, who divide the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana into 3 groups, from 1-7, 8-14, and 15-21, with The Fool, as zero, standing alone as beginning and end.
In her book, Tarot Wisdom, Rachel Pollack notes that, as the final card of the first sequence of three, the Waite-Smith Chariot contains a reference to all of the preceding Trumps.
The charioteer holds one of The Magician’s wands (the stick The Fool carries is also frequently thought to be a wand). The two sphinxes are reminiscent of the pillars of The High Priestess (however, it is my opinion that the canopy and the position of the buildings in the background are a more direct reference to her). The Empress’ star crown appears as the canopy above the charioteer, and The Emperor is recalled by the stone-like cube of the chariot.
You might notice that the position of the sphinxes echoes the acolytes in The Hierophant, and lastly, the symbol of the wings, hovering over the joined lingam and yoni is a reference to the image of The Lovers.
In other words, all of those elements that most affect us in our outer lives – as portrayed by the first seven cards of the Major Arcana — are mastered within The Chariot.
Therefore, it usually portends moving successfully forward towards a goal, and the completion of the cycle.
In psychological terms, this is the victory of the developed ego, the fully mature adult who is now ready to steer the course of his or her life based on determination and desire. The next steps in the journey of self-actualization will be inward.
And so this week, it is time to ride forward.
Because of its timing, I feel The Chariot suggests that we prepare for an unusually charged period, which one astrologer characterizes as potentially stormy, perhaps even dangerous.
But even if there are obstacles in the days ahead, there are also profound energies in this eclipse, retrograde, Sun sign change, and New Moon, and more on the horizon.
So yes, there may be setbacks, detours, and distractions. There are always enemies of change.
Never mind, The Chariot assures us. Pay attention, stay strong, and keep your eyes on the prize.
Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable. But ensuring whether that change is progress is up to us.