The Chariot: Bringing yourself into being

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Editor’s Note: If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread. You can visit Sarah’s website here. –efc

By Sarah Taylor

Last week, I invited your comments on The Chariot, and received valuable contributions that felt like small but perfectly formed conversations between intellect and intuition — entirely appropriate given the card we’re addressing.

The Chariot - RWS Tarot deck.

The Chariot from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot deck. Click on the image for a larger version.

This week, I’m going to take a closer look at this, the seventh card in the major arcana, incorporating aspects of those comments with what stands out for me in the card, as well as some ideas introduced by the writers of two of the accompanying texts to the cards: The Tarot Codex by clinical psychologist Michael Owen, and Tarot of The Spirit by deck co-creator Pamela Eakins, Ph.D.

What I’ve noticed about The Chariot in my own readings with clients is that its appearances are relatively rare; it is definitely not one of the old familiars that visit with some frequency. What’s also interesting is that I really haven’t given it due attention, until recently. I don’t believe for a moment that these two statements are unconnected.

I think that those times when The Chariot comes up are exceptional because it speaks of something exceptional that is seeking expression. It reflects the idea that much is being asked of us, and we are being encouraged to take a deep and courageous look at who we are, our beliefs, and where we are going. Maybe The Chariot only appears when we develop the inner sight to acknowledge and understand it.

All three versions of The Chariot (The Warrior in the Xultun Tarot deck) have elements of the cosmos as a key part of their imagery. The charioteer’s crown in the Rider-Waite Smith (RWS) version, for example, has a crown that is evocative of the one worn by The Empress four cards before it in the major arcana; The Warrior in the Xultun deck sits under a starred cloth; the figure in the Tarot of The Spirit (ToTS) has a beam of stars linked to its crown chakra. There are astrological glyphs on the charioteer’s clothing in the RWS version, Moons and Sun in the RWS and ToTS cards.

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Sarah Taylor

About Sarah Taylor

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9 Responses to The Chariot: Bringing yourself into being

  1. Sarah Taylor sarah taylor says:

    Yes, Fe, The Chariot is associated with Cancer, and I too see great synergy between the tarot and astrology articles.

    Charles – exactly. :)

  2. Charles says:

    Perhaps the “matter balanced with spirit” is the balancing point of the expression of spirit through matter. The Chariot represents the point of furthest advance of spirit, as expressed by our Selves (on behalf of the Universal Spirit) into the world of matter.

  3. Fe Bongolan Fe Bongolan says:


    I remember reading somewhere that the sign Cancer is assigned to the Chariot card. If so, your title and Amanda and Gary’s words on the Daily make a perfect exclamation point for the concept of coming into being. An amazing juxtaposition.

  4. Sarah Taylor sarah taylor says:

    Synchronicities abound, Amanda! Those kind of nudges are hard to ignore, aren’t they? The Chariot seems to be having its time right now – well, I can relate to it personally as well, and there seems to be an energy of The Chariot in a significant number of the posts and comments I’ve been reading here. It ties in with the astrology well.

  5. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    the chariot has definitely popped up for me at times of internal struggle — of the sort where i can kind of see where i want to be, but have a lack of faith i can get there. in particular, it appeared two or three times last fall.

    one instance was particularly amusing: a friend had a massive pile of several tarot decks mixed together, and he asked if i’d get them all facing the same way while he finished something (dinner, maybe?). he and i have a fairly complex, multi-faceted friendship, and not all facets were going too smoothly; i was definitely struggling with what i wanted vs what i seemed to be getting vs what perhaps i needed.

    once the super-deck was sorted, i separated it in two piles. and just for the heck of it, i cut one in the middle and set the new top card face up: the chariot. i did the same for the other stack: the chariot from the other deck. i just had to laugh.

    a few weeks later i thought i’d try playing with the online celtic wings spread. again, feeling very lacking in faith that i could ever grow into the needs/demands of a creative partnership (or even come close to growing into my own potential), i asked a question along those lines. i had to use online card definitions to piece together a loose interpretation (which seemed mainly positive, but describing a path not without effort), since i really don’t have great familiarity with tarot.

    but guess which card sat in the first spot, terribly apropos? the chariot.

  6. Sarah Taylor sarah taylor says:

    Reading for yourself is a particularly tricky thing to do – a lack of objectivity being the main thing, and then the desires that are attached to that lack of objectivity.

    If you click on my name, you can get more information on my reading approach.

  7. chutzpah says:

    I will have to check back over the readings, i get them both, not sure how often together though! Im glad you can see some claity there as i cannot, ive stopped doing readings to be honest.

    Maybe i should book myself in for a reading if you do them? ;)

  8. Sarah Taylor sarah taylor says:

    You get it with Lust? What a potent and compatible combination, chutzpah! That’s definitely saying something to you, one clarifying and working with the other.

  9. chutzpah says:

    I get this card fairly often along with Lust ( Strength) Ive never really understood it but you’re description of the battle between will and desire makes so much sense to me.

    Interestingly i also have Moon square Sun in my chart, which i guess also plays out as a mismatch between my emotions and my ego.

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