Mental focus. Concentration. Perseverance. Triumph. Success.
The Charioteer faces ahead; he looks at you. He lives in the present, and focusses on the problems of now.
The Chariot tarot is about concentration and mental focus. It’s numbered seven, the number of contemplation, reflection, sorting out your options, thinking of alternative approaches, understanding, patient waiting, and planning. It’s about being in control of a situation.
The Chariot is also about perseverance, triumph, and success.
Reversed, this card can mean quarrels, dispute, or some sort of defeat. Of course, when reversed, the Chariot tarot can also have the same meaning as the upright position, but with some blockages; or it can mean that the energy is more internalized.
As always, look for imagery that jumps out at you, and that creates any special ideas. This is your intuition, and it would be wise to listen to it.
This card represents the use of confidence and control to overcome obstacles and achieve goals.
A spiritual quest is sometimes indicated by the Chariot tarot. It also represents yin/yang, the two principles of the universe, and how the mind can unify them when they sometimes pull in different directions.
The Chariot tarot is also about bringing different energies into harmony (the black and the white sphinxes represent different energies).
Traditionally, the chariot is portrayed as being at rest. In the Marseille deck, the wheels point to the side, and in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the chariot is clearly static. This is because the Chariot tarot is numbered seven, a spiritual number of respite, contemplation, and considering choices. It’s also a number of meditation and understanding.
In modern decks, the chariot often rushes forward, ignoring this meaning.
The chariot is pulled by two sphinxes or horses, one black, one white, symbolizing different energies, negative or passive, and positive or active (yin and yang).
The Chariot is astrologically related to Cancer, a cardinal sign. And the crescent moons on the charioteers shoulders represent this sign.
The mallet or gavel at the front of the chariot is a masonic symbol of self-control.
The stars above (in both the RWS and Marseille decks) shows how celestial influences guide him to victory.
The laurel and star crown show him moving on a spiritual quest, and the alchemical symbols on his clothing symbolize his spiritual transformation.