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The Chariot

Tarot Card Meanings

The Chariot shows that you should pursue the plan with a structured and ordered approach.
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The Chariot Tarot Card Description

The Chariot Tarot card depicts a valiant warrior riding in a chariot. He is dressed in armor adorned with crescent moons, which stand for what is creating itself, a tunic with a square (representing willpower), and other alchemical symbols (spiritual transformation). The laurel and star crown denotes triumph, achievement, and spiritual advancement. Despite having the appearance of being the driver, the charioteer only has a wand similar to The Magician, signifying that he has complete control over the vehicle through the power of his will and mind.

The charioteer is perfectly straight; he doesn’t believe in sitting down because he is all about acting and going forward. A canopy of six-pointed stars can be seen above him, indicating his ties to the celestial realm and the Divine will. A black and white sphinx, which stands for duality, positive and negative, and occasionally opposing forces, is placed in front of the car. The charioteer uses the sheer force of will and determination to steer the chariot in the desired direction despite the sphinxes pulling in opposite directions.

A broad river flows behind the chariot, signifying the need to advance toward your objectives and intentions while also being “in the flow” with life’s rhythm.

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.

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The Chariot Keywords

 Upright Keywords:
  • Control
  • Willpower
  • Action
  • Determination
  • Success
Reversed Keywords:
  • Self-discipline
  • Lack of direction
  • Opposition
  • Too much ambition

Upright Chariot Meaning

The Chariot is a card of strength, will, and determination. With the help of The Lovers card, you have learned how to make choices that are consistent with your values, and you are now acting on those choices. The Chariot is a sign of encouragement when it appears in a Tarot reading. You have set your goals and are working tirelessly to achieve them by drawing on your inner strength. You will be successful if you use discipline, commitment, and willpower to accomplish your goals.

You shouldn’t sit back and wait for things to go your way at this point. Regardless of any obstacles that may arise—and trust me, there will be obstacles—take focused action and stay the course. Your resolve and strength may be put to the test as you feel conflicting pressures. Others may try to obstruct you, divert your attention, or slow down the pursuit of your objective. The Chariot, however, is a call to use your willpower and focus on what’s most important to you to overcome the barriers in your path.

If you’re wondering if you have what it takes to achieve your goal or finish a major project, The Chariot is a sign that you will be successful as long as you stay focused and confident in your abilities. You must exercise self-control and willpower to focus on the task at hand. Cutting corners or choosing a simple path will lead to failure. Instead, consider this endeavor a test of your resolve and fortitude, and remember that success is possible if you persevere.

The Chariot calls you to take charge and show courage. You will not get your way unless you are bold in setting your boundaries and expressing your desires. You must believe in yourself and have a solid understanding of your identity and values (thus building off the personal belief systems and values established through The Lovers card).

The Chariot can, in a very literal sense, stand in for travel, particularly driving or going on a road trip. You might even be thinking about relocating by selling your house and getting an RV!

Reversed Chariot Meaning

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When The Chariot is upright, it’s time to press ahead with a major undertaking and get past any roadblocks that might stand in the way of your goals. Reversed, however, The Chariot instructs you to “back up the truck” or, as we Aussies say, “Chuck a U-y” (also known as “do a U-turn”). When you try to push a project forward when you should back off or change course, you might feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall. Another possibility is that you’ve lost your drive and are no longer as dedicated to the result as you were when you first started. Therefore, reassess the situation and check in to see if it’s an indication that you need to change course if something is not progressing as you had anticipated.

At times, The Chariot Reversed is a warning that you are allowing obstacles and challenges to get in your way, preventing you from accomplishing what you set out to do. You lack the will to continue because everything is becoming too difficult. If that strikes a chord with you, take a moment to reflect on the things that are most important to you and the reasons why you want to accomplish this. Will you let other people’s viewpoints influence you or give up as soon as things get difficult? Or are you going to follow through on your promise?

The Chariot Reversed may be a sign that you are devoting your time and effort to internal processes like self-control, inner resolve, and personal commitment before taking any action. You might focus on the goals that are in line with your higher self. Alternatively, you can use meditation and visualization to make sure your energy is in line with your objectives. These inward-directed actions are crucial to ensure that you are prepared to act when the time comes.

If you like to be in control of your destiny and have a plan for where you are going, seize this chance to tighten the reins and practice greater discipline. The key is to consider what you can control and what you cannot, even though feeling like you have lost control can be very demoralizing. Avoid worrying about things that are beyond your control because you cannot change them right now. Instead, concentrate your efforts on the things that you CAN control.

Consider your options for improving the situation.

Similarly, The Chariot Reversed makes the case that you might be trying to control every small aspect of your life, but in doing so, you end up feeling even more out of control. Release your hold and allow events to unfold naturally. Be receptive to offers of assistance and then express gratitude for what you get, even if it falls short of your expectations. You’re not always required to be behind the wheel!

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