An Interpretive Approach to Tarot.
Part 2 of 3.
The Chariot VII of The Tarot of Marseilles when seen in Reverse provides clues to difficulties a person or project may have in making progress. As most of our endeavours in life are tied to how we employ our spirit, our physical or worldly progress is unavoidably tied to our spiritual journey. My understanding of The Chariot VII is a preparedness for conquest and a movement towards something of considerable value to the charioteer. In the card’s image, the charioteer appears poised and stationary in full armour; but the image is not without a divine tension as the charioteer awaits a battle, the race, or the challenge, to become clear and evident. At any moment s/he will need to act.
The prime colours in The Chariot VII : Marseilles are red, blue, gold-yellow, white and peach. Colours are symbolic; they have meaning in and of themselves but can also be understood through the system of Chakras to represent personality traits and as indicators of general well-being. When reversed the colours are, symbolically, ill-defined.
Red is repeated throughout the design of The Chariot VII and suggests challenges associated with the First or Root Chakra being out of balance. Red, is the colour of love and passion, courage and strength. It is the energy of the tribe; of community, family and one’s purpose. The ill-defined red is repeated throughout the card - in the moon-faces of the charioteer’s shoulder armour, in his/her sleeves, lower garments and the canopy-supports of the chariot itself and the large upside-down red horse and might signify the charioteer is controlled by his anger and obsession.
When the The Chariot VII is upside-down, the charioteer looks out at the world from a compromised position; (on his head in the upturned chariot). He may not have completed necessary arrangements to ensure his/her success. S/he might not have enough self-confidence to pursue his/her goals. Or, possibly, be under the influence of a general lack of self-control over his/her passions and desires.
Blue is the colour of royalty, integrity and the Fifth Chakra, the ‘communication centre’ of the body. Deep blue symbolises composure and authority, with the ability to listen to others and to speaking one’s own truth. Communication is a key to self-expression, joy, a sense of humour and ‘good timing’. In the reversed picture, blue is ill-defined suggesting feelings of dishonesty, failure, a misunderstanding, self-rejection or depression. The charioteer appears unsure and his/her intentions maybe doubtful. The upside-down blue horse signifies an imbalance of power and looks weary; even sly or shifty. The charioteer’s ill-defined blue chest-plate suggests that his/her heart may not be ‘in-it’; perhaps an element of self-delusion.
When ill-defined, gold loses its sunny, optimistic and charitable qualities and its focus on higher principles. Reversed-gold personalities are pretentious, self-important and crafty; the ‘control freak’ who works long hours because they are obsessive and judgemental of the efforts of others. Two-way communication goes out-the-door when we reverse the positive attributes of the colour gold.
The golden-yellow colour is applied throughout the The Chariot VII. The ill-defined solid golden ground effectively closes off the sky eliminating the image’s sense of openness and freedom. So much negatively aspected gold at the top of the card suggests that money or wealth has become the primary or driving objective; or the big problem. Whichever way, this oppressive layer of rock, like the lid on a coffin, sets the tone of the card.
The chariot’s golden crossbar appears to slice the card into two equal, almost completely separate and distinct images. The two upside-down horses sitting in the top half of the picture gives a sense of weight bearing down upon the driver. Beneath the horses and under the crossbar, the dangling charioteer is separated from his will, power and drive. The charioteer critically divided on an issue or some aspect of his/her situation and his/her thoughts may will be at odds with her/his emotions and physical needs or abilities.
The ill-defined gold surrounds the charioteer’s face and head. At the bottom of the image charioteer is looking directly at his sceptre; which looks like a swinging pendulum. The charioteer appears almost in a state of hypnosis! Has the charioteer been ‘hypnotised’ by thoughts of wealth and glory?
The golden crown is a symbol of legitimacy, honour, glory and righteousness, but it is upside-down and fallen to the lower regions of the picture. Perhaps the charioteer is not in his/her ‘right-mind’; her/his thoughts may be of glory but, in reverse, the symbols of crown and sceptre suggests a lack of honour and honesty.
The peach/beige, the colour of chariot’s carriage, wheels and canopy is a colour representing the Soul-Spirit. The carriage, symbolising the physical body, harnesses the power of the horses (the emotions and intentions) to move the wheels that support it forwards and towards a goal or purpose. It holds it the canopy for protection. Upright, colour peach/beige, symbolises courage, charm and genuine caring both for others and the self; and represents the importance of being true to ourselves.
When ill-defined, peach-beige signifies charioteer’s aims at manipulating others to get his/her own needs met; and, in doing so, the kind, true self is lost.
Enjoy your tarot.
Martha Adams © 2017
Part 3/3 Numerology of The Chariot VII