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Saturday, 17 October 2015

Thoughts on the Chariot from various sources

Anna K Tarot
A. E. Waite Pictorial Key to the Tarot:
  • The sphinxes in the card were originally horses but were added 'to support a particular historical hypothesis.' 
  • 'It is the King in his triumph, typifying the victory that creates kingship.' 
  • Says Court de Gebelin was wrong in identifying Chariot as Osiris Triumphing, the conquering sun in spring time. 
  • He is 'conquest on all planes -- in the mind, in progress in certain trials of initiation'; he has 'thus replied to the sphinx', which is why Waite has included Elias Levi's having the Chariot drawn by sphinxes. 
  • The planes of his conquest are external
  • His power is limited to 'the bondage of logical understanding'
  • His triumphs are to be understood physically or rationally
  • He would not be allowed to open the TORA scroll in High Priestess, and would be unable to answer if she questioned him. 

Crystal Tarot 
 Aleister Crowley Book of Thoth:

Triumph, victory, hope, memory, digestion, violence in maintaining traditional ideas, the 'die hard', ruthlessness, lust of destruction, obedience, faithfulness, authority under authority.

Rachel Pollack 78 Degrees of Wisdom:

  • Kabbalistic title for number 7 = wisdom
  • Chariot is the triumph of the first line of the major arcana (1-7); it cannot address the 'great areas of the unconscious and super-conscious'. 
  • The developed ego, ie, the 'mature adult, successful in life, admired by others, confident and content, able to control feelings and above all direct will
  • 'an emblem of personal maturity'
  • Jungian 'persona'
  • Sphinxes signify the dualities and contradictions of life; the mediating force is will power
  • Maturity, accepting the limits of life, plus the faculty of speech
  • Not concerned with the inner man or the divine -- those come in later lines of the majors
  • A situation contains some contradictions and these have not been brought together but simply held under control

Druidcraft Tarot
 Plato Phaedrus:

Chariot = allegory for human soul
Charioteer = intellect, reason, seeker for truth
White horse = rational or moral impulse, positive part of passionate nature
Black horse = irrational passions, appetites, lusts

The charioteer directs the entire chariot/soul, trying to stop the horses going different ways and to proceed toward enlightenment.

Katha Upanashad (Hindu text c. 500 BE):

Hudes Tarot
"Know the self to be the master of the chariot. Know the intellect to be the charioteer, and the mind to be the reins. The senses are the horses, the objects in their way the view. When the self is yoked with the mind and senses, the wise call it the enjoyer."

Mary K Greer Tarot for Yourself:

"What mask (persona) are you presenting to the world? What emotional reactions are you hiding? What contradictions and tensions are you struggling to maintain control over? Where have you experienced recent victories or successes in your life? What progress are you making in testing your abilities in the world?"

LOTR by SceithAilm
 Affirmation: "By harnessing all my forces toward my purpose and controlling my fears, I victoriously meet my challenges."

Yoav Ben-Dov Tarot: The Open Reading:

"The illustration on the (TdM) card resembles medieval representations of a popular story about Alexander the Great. After having conquered many countries, Alexander decided to subdue the sky. He harnessed two gryphons to his chariot, and help a spear with a piece of meat over their heads. The hungry gryphons tried to reach the meat, and flying upwards they carried his chariot with them. On the way up, a flying wonder-man appeared and warned Alexander to give up his plan. Alexander lowered his spear and the chariot landed safely on the ground."
Illuminati Tarot

Merkabah (chariot) mysticism:

a school of early Jewish mysticism, c. 100 BCE – 1000 CE, centered on visions such as those found in the Book of Ezekiel chapter 1, or in the hekhalot ("palaces") literature, concerning stories of ascents to the heavenly palaces and the Throne of God.

Rachel Pollack Shining Tribe Tarot:

Wicca Moon Tarot
"The image comes from two mythical sources. The first is the book of Ezekiel in the Bible, where the prophet witnesses a heavenly chariot of fire. This vision has had a deep effect on both Jewish and Christian mysticism, leading contemplatives to ecstatic experiences of God. ... The other myth, from India, tells of the God Shiva who uses the power of all the other Gods to create a chariot from all the parts of existence."


  1. Interesting run-down. I hadn't read that part of the Yoav Ben-Dov book. So, how does that relate to interpretations? Know your limits? :) The Pollack take is the one closest to my own, no surprise given how much she influenced my learning :D

    1. Not sure what Ben-Dov's story has to do with anything, that's why it stuck out. It doesn't really line up with the later interpretations he gives. I just think it's interesting to see the chariot from different sources and in various guises.

    2. Definitely interesting, thanks for sharing :)

  2. Rachel Pollack's interpretation nails it for me with a combination of pith and eloquence. Thanks for this collation of views.

  3. Excellent collation, indeed! I always see the Chariot's ego aspects. Still a long way to go to ultimate self-mastery.

    1. I usually think of him as being proactive - or stuck - or both! It's nice to get a bigger picture than our usual ones. :)