The Chariot Meaning
The Chariot challenges us to, truly, follow our heart’s desires.
The Chariot is associated with the number “seven”—one which represents trials and tribulations. So, the point is: This card welcomes challenge. And the reason for that is because it truly believes that within challenge, we are then forced to choose what we really want in life. It’s a card of truth, ultimately.
In terms of the Major Arcana cycle, it’s interesting to note that it appears after The Lovers. That whimsical card is about following your heart, and this one is about coming up against challenges—especially when we follow our heart. So, here we begin to see the “hero’s journey” becoming a little more difficult after all those “fun” cards previously.
The next card is Strength. Because many people have issues determining the difference between the two, I’ll break it down here. The Chariot is about pushing forward and overcoming challenges using your heart’s desire. The Strength card is about overcoming challenges via personal willpower.
The Chariot is represented by water sign Cancer. And it’s because of this mushy-gushy association that you can see why it might be represented with fighting from your heart, as opposed to your armor. Just like Cancer, this energy is hard on the outside, but soft on the inside. Even in the original Rider-Waite imagery, The Chariot is represented by a man in armor. But we know that he wouldn’t have any power if he didn’t feel passion for what he was fighting for.
The Chariot in an upright position is a lucky sign. It can mean that you’re doing things that best suit you—and you’re proud of your actions. It can be a reassuring sign that you’re on the right path (and who doesn’t want that!?).
But with this desire to fulfill our dreams also comes discipline. So, this card isn’t just about fighting for what we want. It’s also about taking action to get there. So, during this period we might be planning or being a bit more methodical about how we get from Point A to Point B.
Because this card can be quite soft, it tells us that we’re setting ourselves up with appropriate “armor” as we move forward toward our goals. So, this card in this position can suggest a time when we’re establishing boundaries with others, taking time alone to recalibrate, and making sure that we know exactly what we want.
Ultimately, this card in this position tells us that we’re being honest with our actions. We aren’t cutting corners because we know that hard work is necessary to get the things that truly matter.
The Chariot in a reversed position can represent times when our issues with “what’s right” is exaggerated. We may have trouble pinpointing what we want or we can feel like there’s no possible way to follow our heart. So, The Chariot in reverse can often appear during a time when we’re struggling with a “heart vs. head” kind of decision—where we know we should follow our heart, but something (or someone) is making it difficult for us to do that.
Another interpretation of The Chariot in reverse is a time when we simply don’t know what we want. Even if we tried, we’re paralyzed with uncertainty.
This card in this position can also be a sign that we’re going the wrong way! Perhaps we’ve followed our heart, but the universe is trying to push us in a different direction. So, it may be that you need to plan further or wait for things to settle before you can continue. The Chariot card often shows an actual “chariot” or vehicle—so, to see it upside down just means that vehicle isn’t moving forward. You’re not progressing!
Since an upright Chariot can represent discipline to get to where we want to go, this position can mean that you have the heart but your actions are lacking the follow through. Perhaps it’s time to put a more structured plan in place.