For the first time in all these years of my posts, we are visited by The Chariot. How perfect that it appears this week, as we enter the time of Samhain and stand between the worlds, for it is truly the archetypal transport for carrying us into the dark half of the year.
The Chariot is the number seven of the Major Arcana. Of course, seven is a most magical number of luck, success, and power, and the Chariot reflects this.
The Waite-Smith Chariot image is a particularly fascinating one. Rachel Pollack, like many Tarot scholars, divides the 22 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 excellent recent book, Tarot Wisdom, she points out 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 two sphinxes are reminiscent of the pillars of The High Priestess; The Empress’ star crown appears as the canopy above the charioteer, and The Emperor is recalled by the stone-like cube of the chariot. She notes 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.
Thus, all those elements that most affect us in our outer lives are mastered by the Chariot, making this card one of triumph. It portends moving successfully forward towards a goal, and the completion of the cycle. In psychological terms, it is the victory of the developed ego, the fully mature adult. So it is the turning point between external, worldly matters and the spiritual, inner journey.
We too stand on such an edge this week. We depart from the outwardly active time of year, and move inwards at Samhain. Like Persephone, who was abducted by Hades on His chariot, we are carried at this time deep into the dark of the year, and our own underworlds.
In such a journey, like the charioteer, we may be challenged to hold it all together. Yet the charioteer holds no reins; his sheer determination and focused intention direct the opposing forces of the black and white sphinxes.
Like him, if we have self-discipline, confidence in our abilities and the determination to move forward, we can create our own victory.