The next step on our journey to awakening is The Chariot. A young man rides a chariot pulled by two horses, although here they appear to be sphinxes. He carries a sceptre and is crowned with a star. This is card number 7 which stands for unity within complexity, being a combination of the numbers 3 and 4. This makes the Charioteer the progeny of the Empress and Emperor. Seven is the number of progress, self-expression and independent action.
The Chariot shows that the right choice was made in The Lovers, and the hero has successfully moved away from conforming with the established order. He now seeks an independent path and has control of his own psychic energy rather than being dominated by it. The psychic energy is the libido or life force, symbolised by the horses. So the Charioteer harnesses his animal instincts and drives his chariot without reins because he has self-mastery.
The horses are black and white, indicating the conscious and unconscious sides of the mind. The chariot represents the persona used by the individual to travel through life. The crescent moons on the charioteer’s shoulders represent his mastery over the subjective, lunar world, and his golden armour protects him against the objective, solar forces around him. The star on his head represents psychic equilibrium and the sceptre is the authority of his will.
This stage of the journey is about adapting to the laws of society and finding a safe ‘vehicle’ in which to travel – in other words, a persona that allows you to pass through life easily. The hero has control of his body and its functions, he has become an individual and knows where he wants to go in life. The Chariot, his persona, allows him to focus all his faculties on attaining his goal.
The persona is a mask worn by the ego, a role (or roles) you play so you can fit into society as an individual. If the persona is an accurate representation of who you are, there should be no problems and you fit in well. But if there are gaps, places where you don’t fit, your mask will become uncomfortable. You try to appear to others as you think you should, or how you want to be seen by them. The persona needs to be flexible, changing in response to growth and new experiences throughout your life. It is just a mask worn for convenience and is not who you really are. To discover your True Self you must keep moving forward in the hero’s journey.
Keywords for The Chariot:
- Balance of opposites
- Inner peace
Next step on the journey to awakening: Justice