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The Chariot: Your Tea and Tarot Card for Today

--By Hyperion Night of Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot

The Chariot

Conscious control. Inner conflict. Willpower. Success.

Have you ever struggled with a bad idea? Wanted to do something you knew you shouldn't do?

Of course. We all have. That's the Chariot.

Or that's Plato's chariot. The Tarot came to us via Renaissance Italy, which was obsessed with the ancient Greeks in general and neo-platonism in particular. The chariot card is another one of the more obvious archetypes from that realm.

In Plato's description of one of Socrates' dialogues, Socrates described the human soul as being in three parts: a charioteer steering two horses of different natures. One horse is light and of noble breed. The dark horse is lustful, irrational, and generally that voice in your head telling you you can get away with it just this once. The charioteer himself knows what's right and wrong. He's got reason and knowledge on his side. But steering those troublesome horses can still be a challenge.

Of course, Pamela Colman Smith replaced the horses with sphinxes in her version of the card. She probably didn't do it to hammer home the Greek-myth element. Sphinxes, with their combination of human and animal attributes, also represent the connection between the subconscious and the conscious minds. Which in turn reflects back on the inner conflict that can develop within us.

But chariots, used in war and triumphal processions, are also symbols of victory. As per usual, the cards can mean different things, depending on what's around them.

  • What types of battles are you fighting?

  • How are your subconscious desires affecting your decisions?

  • How can you master your darker emotions?

  • What inner conflicts are making your road difficult?

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