The Tarot Chariot card meaning in a nutshell:
- but beware of its consequences
The Tarot Chariot card is about triumph in worldly matters. Like Caesar returning from a successful campaign, riding a chariot when receiving the cheers of the Romans. A moment of greatness, but also a risk of megalomania. Success can destroy character quicker than adversity builds it.
The Roman emperors used to have a slave with them on the triumphal chariot, whispering repeatedly in their ear: "Remember that you're only human." It was to help them stay grounded through all the praise.
Julius Caesar ended that tradition. It didn't do him any good. Below is a painting of Julius Caesar on his chariot, made by Andrea Mantegna in 1492.
A triumphant and grim faced Julius Caesar on his chariot. Painting by Andrea Mantegna in 1492.
Triumph is indeed cause for concern. There are two main risks with it: one's own state of mind and the easily reversed feelings of the people. When you are adored, you quickly lose perspective and see yourself as larger than life in any mirror. People who loved you in your moment of triumph will love to despise you as soon as they see you fail.
So, at the moment of success - beware!
If the Tarot Chariot card relates to a person, it's someone who grants success with whatever is at hand - also yours, even if your accomplishment might not have been decisive. If the Tarot Chariot card relates to an event, it indicates a most fortunate outcome, but you have to consider what the long-term consequences might be, envy from others definitely being one of them.
The trick to accomplish lasting success is to be modest about it, and that's not always easy.
A. E. Waite's Texts
7. The Chariot. This is represented in some extant codices as being drawn by two sphinxes, and the device is in consonance with the symbolism, but it must not be supposed that such was its original form; the variation was invented to support a particular historical hypothesis. In the eighteenth century white horses were yoked to the car. As regards its usual name, the lesser stands for the greater; it is really the King in his triumph, typifying, however, the victory which creates kingship as its natural consequence and not the vested royalty of the fourth card. M. Court de Gebelin said that it was Osiris Triumphing, the conquering sun in spring-time having vanquished the obstacles of winter. We know now that Osiris rising from the dead is not represented by such obvious symbolism. Other animals than horses have also been used to draw the currus triumphalis, as, for example, a lion and a leopard.
About the Tarot Chariot Card
The Inner Symbolism of the Tarot Chariot Card
An erect and princely figure carrying a drawn sword and corresponding, broadly speaking, to the traditional description which I have given in the first part. On the shoulders of the victorious hero are supposed to be the Urim and Thummim. He has led captivity captive; he is conquest on all planes - in the mind, in science, in progress, in certain trials of initiation. He has thus replied to the sphinx, and it is on this account that I have accepted the variation of Eliphas Levi; two sphinxes thus draw his chariot. He is above all things triumph in the mind.
It is to be understood for this reason (a) that the question of the sphinx is concerned with a Mystery of Nature and not of the world of Grace, to which the charioteer could offer no answer; (b) that the planes of his conquest are manifest or external and not within himself; (c) that the liberation which he effects may leave himself in the bondage of the logical understanding; (d) that the tests of initiation through which he has passed in triumph are to be understood physically or rationally; and (e) that if he came to the pillars of that Temple between which the High Priestess is seated, he could not open the scroll called Tora, nor if she questioned him could he answer. He is not hereditary royalty and he is not priesthood.
Divinatory Meaning of the Tarot Chariot Card
Succour, providence also war, triumph, presumption, vengeance, trouble. Reversed: Riot, quarrel, dispute, litigation, defeat.
The Tarot Major Arcana
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant
- The Lovers
- The Chariot
- The Hermit
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Hanged Man
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Star
- The Moon
- The Sun
- The World
- The Fool
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