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The Chariot Card Meaning

Depending on the deck you look at, the Chariot Card will be an emperor or prince on his “mobile fighting platform,” a priest on (or as above “part of”) a chariot, or a shiny red corvette. Thus, the subtle inferences change, but the basic meaning is clear to all. This man wins. 

The Chariot card shows us victory and power, but it does so in a style that equates being “right” (winning) with “being right” (as in “God” speaks through me—not you).

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Chariot Card Description

Okay, take a nice, slow, deep breath . . . Warrior-priests riding about freely dispensing (their idea of) “justice” is as arcane a concept in most parts of the world today as chariots. The man here is not royalty, not a military hero, nor is he a wealthy merchant. He is the archetypal “warrior-priest” and “he is one with” his chariot of stone (faith, solidity, resoluteness, strength) which is, unsurprisingly, drawn by mythical beasts, thereby strengthening his “righteousness.”

Forget the fact that the religious symbolism of this card is drawn from a dozen highly-incompatible religious beliefs. This man is sacrosanct. He is “the law” and the adjudicator of the law. He can’t fail (an impossibility) because “God” (over a dozen actually) supports him.

Esoteric Interpretation

Depending on the deck you look at, this card will be an emperor or prince on his “mobile fighting platform,” a priest on (or as above “part of”) a chariot, or a shiny red corvette. Thus, the subtle inferences change, but the basic meaning is clear to all. This man wins. This card shows us victory and power, but it does so in a style that equates being “right” (winning) with “being right” (as in “God” speaks through me—not you). It shows us an indignation that only The Hierophant (or the Queen of Swords reversed) can match.

The danger of this message can be a “win-at-all-costs” mentality, or such a passionate, fervent belief in something that it blinds one into a mindset where the only option is the one that the ensorcelled mind perceives. This is the card of zeal and several Tarot authorities assign to it the qualities of the astrological sign of Sagittarius. Personally, we couldn’t agree more. It has “politics” written all over it.

Traditional Meaning

Victory, but more. Righteous victory without having to sacrifice one’s morals or personal beliefs. This is a card of strength. You don’t win because you “got lucky.” You win because you are good at what you do, and/or you have powerful friends and resources. You succeed because you keep your animalistic rages under the control of your disciplined and highly-skilled mind. You harness the power of masculine and feminine (esoteric principles) and you are steadfast and resolute in your quest. Of course, sometimes this card can also simply mean “a brand new car!” or some long distance travel. In either case, however, it will be spelled out by clarifying “minor” Arcana.

Compare this to the rune “Fehu” which means: domestic cattle, mobile wealth, possessions won or earned, abundance, financial strength, success and happiness. Also: social success, vibrant energy, foresight. And interestingly enough when reversed, this rune matches The Chariot rather nicely as well: loss of personal property, esteem, failure. Cowardice, poverty, loss of freedom, and so on.

Traditional Reversed Meaning

Loss; almost always through a lack of skill, preparation, or a lack of “moral fiber.” Defeat due to either weakness or weakness of character. Being “knocked off of your high horse” (or fine social standing) through treachery and deceit. This is often called “character assassination” (which is a deliberate manipulation of facts to present an unfavorable, and usually untrue, picture). Cowardice leading to downfall. The “fall from grace.” The long and the short of this is that as a concept card, this indicates severe and sudden loss and needs to be clarified (like all “major” Arcana) to ensure clarity, and to prevent you from giving bad advice.

Reversed, this card can even indicate auto accidents. (If you really suspect an accident, get all kinds of verification before you start spreading the news of impending doom, and even then be extremely careful what you say and how you say anything.)

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