The Chariot is sometimes a tricky energy for me to work with, especially when I’m feeling the pull to move forward but I’m not sure which way “forward” actually is. When there’s a 360 degree view of all the ways I could go, all of the options feel like no option at all. Or in the case where there are fewer choices, it feels like it takes a lot more courage and faith to go in the direction that might seem less logical, or less practical, or less acceptable. To leap, like the Fool, and go towards what feels right.
Once again I come to this full moon offering, not really knowing where we’re going, with the Chariot card in front of me to hopefully guide the way.
It was recently brought to my attention that the imagery of the Chariot represents a standstill. In the commonly referenced Rider Waite depiction, the person in the center is cemented in place, with the Sphinxes on either side refusing to move. If you had to paint your own picture of your Sphinxes, present to someone a visual of the people, structures, entities, and so on that have been holding your weight perhaps for too long, what would it look like? Are you the person in the center? Amassing more and more weight as you go, with growing confusion about why it’s getting harder to move, or one of the creatures who is no longer able to carry the load?
I’m not sure which one I am to be honest, and it seems to shift every day. Some days I know exactly where I want to go, others I struggle to listen to that inner GPS, and sometimes I feel that overwhelm of too much choice — which is a great problem to have — but requires a willingness to get in touch with my true desires, get in touch with the core of my values, and and work to understand which goals are fully and honestly mine, rather than given to me by someone else.
It’s been helpful for me recently to contextualize the Major Arcana cards with the cards that come before and after. In this case, to understand how we’ve come to this moment of some burden of choice and see where we may be able to go once we do the necessary work.
On either side of the Chariot, we have the Lovers and Justice (note that in the Rider Waite deck, Strength is the 8th card though some decks, like the Fountain Tarot pictured above, swap these cards). Duality comes to mind here, the dynamism of two people coming together, the reconciling of the subconscious and the conscious, and the effort to seek and maintain balance moving forward from there. This trio is bringing me back to the thought of the ideas we gain from others, re: learning if our goals are truly ours, and how we are to take that as we move forward as our individual selves.
Like I said, I don’t know where we’re going here, but I trust that this is making sense to someone.
I’m imagining the Fool’s encounters with all of the figures of the Major Arcana up to this point. From the Magician to the Hierophant, one through five, the Fool receives a lot of external information and guidance as the first steps in the Major cycle. Once we get to the Lovers, does that mean the Fool has come back to the ground? Out of the realm of these mystical beings, back down to Earth where they’re witnessing love and community, hopefully through a lens that they haven’t seen before. I’m struggling to find the words to get us to the Chariot, to tie some narrative thread that speaks on how the Fool, or I, or you, can go from what feels like a moment of bliss in community to being at the helm of a Chariot without a clear idea of where to go. Maybe you have a clear idea and I’m projecting my own confusion. I work with the Chariot a lot actually, as it is associated with my rising sign and is my birth card, so maybe it’s not shocking that as I come back to this card, the struggle of searching for something new to say isn’t much of a surprise.
I don’t know how you go from the Lovers to the Chariot, but maybe that’s because that’s where I am right now. I’ve received a LOT of information up to this point in my life — about how my worlds work, about how the communities I’m part of work, about how I should operate in these overlapping spheres. I’m in a moment where I’m working to understand whose goals I hold in the forefront of my mind — and to tie back to the progression of the Majors, maybe I’m just in the moment of work where as The Fool, I’ve heard from a range of figures who focus on different aspects of human experience, I’ve experienced forms of love so powerful that they’ve brought me down to the ground, and now I’m on my own, and I have to figure out what from all of these channels and experiences I want to take with me.
Usually when I read tarot for someone else in one on one sessions, I remove myself as much as possible. I see myself as a facilitator and a channel for a message that is not necessarily mine to offer, and focus on how the cards speak to the person on the other side of the spread. I try to use as little “I” statements as possible. Clearly, this offering is not one of those times. And it’s not meant to be, though I’m not sure what it’s “meant to be” entirely, but here we are.
I’m clouded, is what I’m trying to say, when it comes to finding the direction that I am to go. I am waist deep in the cement of all of the ideas that I’ve internalized from others — and by saying this, I don’t necessarily think the ownership of these ideas is completely on those around me. I think that the ideas and beliefs of others blend with my reception and perception of them to create some third place. A third place where I’m not always sure what the origin of the idea was but it has somehow taken root so deeply within my body and mind that I’m not sure where the roots begin and where the leaves end.
I’ll offer an example to make this make some kind of sense: I’m often self-conscious in my day job about working too slow. Usually when asked, “who’s telling you you’re moving too slow?”, I have no answer other than myself. I see this as a third place, where I’ve formed some understanding about how quickly one should produce based on snippets of conversations I’ve heard, opinions I’ve maybe received from others, or perceptions that I’ve formed based on witnessing others getting rewarded for an amount and pace of output that I’m not sure I would even want to try and reach. A third place, where I’m not sure where the seed of this belief was planted but some days it takes all the Strength (maybe this is where we could bridge from the Chariot to Strength in the Rider Waite order) I have to dig this invasive plant out.
I think what I’m getting at here, at least for me though it may apply to you, that in order to get to the balance of Justice, to get our Chariot properly yolked and equipped to move us forward, there has to be some balancing act between the information received from the external world and the guidance that comes from within. And maybe, even though the Chariot sometimes has that “get going, right now!” energy, our sense of urgency might be what’s slowing us down.
When I think of Justice I think of the association with Libra. A dedication to considering all possibilities, taking the time and care to decide which one to follow through. Libra, to me, lacks a sense of time when it comes to this decision making, or instead of “lacking” it simply chooses to remove time as an influence over the process, allowing it to unfold in the time and space that it needs. Cancer rising, Libra Mars here reporting for duty to tell you that I’m calling myself out as I know that my sense of urgency is often what slows me down. It often makes me feel like my decision making is more sloppy, even it if doesn’t seem that way to others all the time, and I end up more and more frustrated with the “result” that I’ve pushed out when I know I didn’t give myself the time and space to do what I actually wanted to do. When I haven’t given myself the time and space to narrow my 360 degree panorama of options, one by one, considering all of the possibilities, and using what I’ve found to move forward.
It’s a balancing act. Sometimes quicker decision making is necessary, but for me this Full Moon I’ll be asking — Where is this urgency coming from? Is it helping you in this case or holding you back?
I was with a friend the other day on a long hike, and I had to ask myself, “What will it take for you to fully be here right now?” An effort to savor the person in this moment, the experience, the time. To not worry about some “lack” of time, if there is one. To trust that if there is a need for more time to be shared, it will come.
Presence, in general, is something I’ve been working with more and more lately. And it is only through presence that I can fully take stock of the cement around me, fully absorb, sift through, release any information that’s no longer serving me, and trudge or glide forward, step by step, as the Sphinxes guiding my Chariot lead the way.
I’ve done a lot of musing, so this time I won’t pull a separate spread. But if you have a deck of your own or a journal nearby, start with the questions: “Where is this urgency coming from? What will it take for me to fully be here right now?”, and see where you might be able to go from there.