One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.
— Tony Robbins (leadership expert)
Having appeared for only the second time ever at Samhain, the threshold of the magical New Year, as if for emphasis, The Chariot reappears again, as we say goodbye to 2010 and celebrate the solar, mundane New Year.
It is a most powerful way to transverse the crossroads from the old year to the new. The Chariot is the lucky number 7 of the Major Arcana, and the image simply 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 riddle of the Sphinx and now is granted the ability to move forward. 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, including Rachel Pollack, 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 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 and 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 also reference 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.
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 of those elements that most affect us in our outer lives are mastered by the Chariot. 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 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.
Thus, we ride forward, leaving behind all that has been in the year 2010. What does The Chariot encourage you to look forward to?
Also this week, the challenging Mercury retrograde period that went into effect on Dec. 10 comes to an end. During this time, travel and transportation throughout Europe and the United States have undergone unprecedented disruption. What delays and difficulties have you experienced?
When Mercury changes direction on the 30th, like a car changing gears from reverse to forward, we may feel the most dramatic shift, but then things should begin to move forward more smoothly. With the strong steady determination of The Chariot, as long as we know where we are aiming to go, this resumption of progress should be welcome and powerful.
While I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, it would seem that The Chariot is a clear signal that we do need to set some goals, focus our will, and move forward towards mastery. This is not the time to dither, dabble, or take the path of least resistance.
What riddles have you struggled with? What challenges have come that only serve to steel your determination? What would it take for you to know you are giving your utter best?
Do not be discouraged, and do not scatter your energy. Focus your will and know this: great success can be yours, if you are willing to reach for it.
It is time to move ahead with confidence and rock-solid commitment, for this is the true path to mastery.