This card shows us a young man in his Chariot, which is being guided by his two sphinxes. This card means that The Fool (in his journey through the Major Arcana) has reached the point of adolescence. He is ready to leave “the nest”, or his comfortable surroundings, to forge a path of his own in the world. We could delve deeper into this concept and ask how the Chariot (often ourselves or our client) feels about this. Are they ready and in control? Do they know where they are heading?
Are you setting out on your own path today, moving away - even slightly - from what is familiar and comfortable?
Other questions we might ask are: Who is in control of the Wagon - the Chariot or his sphinxes? And does he know where he is going? What is your plan for today? Who is driving this plan, you or someone else?
At this stage we are given more and more autonomy over our actions and decisions in life. This can be very exciting and liberating. It can also be frightening and uncomfortable. A negative meaning for this card is that we are not in control of the Chariot and are being pulled in different directions as indicated by the sphinxes.
It could also mean that we now have some ‘wheels’ of our own. However, if we don’t know where we are going yet, we might end up in less than ideal situations. We could just be driving around in circles, we could end up lost or not get to where we wanted to go, all because we did not set out with a clear plan to start with.
As with any developmental stage it comes with its joys and freedoms as well as with responsibilities.
In line with the positive meaning for this card, I could relate this card back to my University Degree. It was a clear goal, with a clear path that I followed to completion. This was very exciting as no one in my immediate family has a degree and it was in breaking with the norm, leaving the ‘village’ or comfortable surroundings behind (as you can see in the background of this card).
This card is shown fairly similar across the different decks, sometimes the sphinxes are replaced by other animals like horses or dragons. Mostly the two animals at the front are two opposite colours, indicating the duality - the two sides of decision making before we can follow our plans. It also shows our need to control the situation if we want to get ahead.
The Chariot himself is shown in different ways, mainly in the way he holds himself. This means that his personality appears to be different between decks. In the Robin Wood deck for example he appears to be singing to himself, he appears to be very much enjoying himself on this start of a new journey. The Rider Waite deck as displayed above, shows us a more serious personality where he appears more goal focussed and have more direction.
Seeing different aspects in different cards might also give us a clue as how prone this person is to taking detours and getting off track. On the flip side it could be showing us that we need to enjoy the journey as much, or even more so than the destination.