The Chariot

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Depictions of The Chariot from various Tarot decks

The Chariot is the seventh card in the Major Arcana in most traditional Tarot decks.

Rider-Waite Depiction

The symbolism of this card corresponds in all points with the ideas which it expresses. A Conqueror, crowned with a coronet, upon which rise shining Pentagrams of gold, advances in a cubical chariot, surmounted by an azure, star-decked canopy supported by four columns. This symbol reproduces the The Magician and The World cards in another order of ideas. The four columns represent the four animals of The World, and the four tools of The Magician. The Conqueror has three right angles upon his cuirass, and he bears upon his shoulders the Urim and Thummim of the sovereign sacrificant, represented by the two crescents of the moon on the right and left; in his hand is a scepter.

Two sphinxes, one white, the other black, are harnessed to the chariot. The sphinxes are female entities, the driver of the Chariot is a man. This not only symbolizes the subjugation of Nature by will-power, but also the fact that, while inwardly “woman rules the world,” rulership in the outer world lies with man, and it is his duty to keep within due bonds the forces of woman.

Upon the front of the cubical chariot, there is the Indian lingam, surmounted by the flying sphere of Egypt. The word Yod-he-vau-he is portrayed upon the front of the chariot by the winged globe, signifying the union of two principles. The two sphinxes correspond to the two principles, active and passive. The Conqueror corresponds especially with the Sword and the Vau of the sacred name.

Depictions in other decks

The Thoth Tarot deck shows the figure controlling four animals, a more specific allusion to magical animals found on The World card.

The Vlad Dracula Tarot shows Vlad the Impaler leading his troops into battle with his sword raised, ready to fight upon a white horse bearing a red mantle of war.

In the Hieronymus Bosch Tarot, the seventh card of the Major Arcana is called "Deception," and shows two strange creatures taking advantage of a sleeping woman.

Divinatory meaning

In divination, this card usually indicates aid in hardship, war, triumph, vengeance, and trouble.

In reversed position, it means: Riot, quarrel, dispute, litigation, or defeat.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot