Tuesday, March 27, 2012


March 27, 2012: The Chariot, Haindl Tarot

Well, you are doing things, aren't you? And that means you're moving forward? And you're overcoming obstacles? And you're going to WIN, right? Well....yes.....but-- The Chariot does say all those things, but it has some other resonances, too, some that most people either don't know about or tend to ignore--let's look a little more carefully here...

The traditional Chariot usually symbolizes the fence of civilization or "controlling intelligence" as some commentaries call it. As the number 7, the card represents a victory of human will over the ordinary problems of life.

The Haindl Tarot retains the idea of will, but carries it further, showing the confrontation of willpower with fear. The self—the figure in the boat—rides on the surging sea of life, driven by the primal beast, experienced just over the shoulder, just out of sight. And yet the figure remains calm, unshaken. In other Tarot decks, many of the themes being developed in the artwork on this trump usually do not emerge until the Moon. Looking at the art here, we see the "mythic journey", not the "riding roughshod over life" idea of the chariot-racer on the traditional Tarot trump, but the watery and incomprehensible journey into the Self.

We see a boat with wheels, rushing through a rough sea. The boat is red, the color of energy. A red glow surrounds the figure standing in the boat. The boat carries huge blocks of stone, pitted with holes to indicate great age. They help give the picture an archaic quality, a sense of experience older than civilization. The stone appears in blocks, like the blocks used in creating the pyramids. Like the symbol of the fence, and like the pyramids themselves, the carved stones represent human mastery over nature. And yet, we get no sense here that the person has conquered nature. The courageous mind—the card is an emblem of courage—faces the world in all its power, seeking mastery over the self rather than the environment.

Of all the trumps in the Haindl Tarot, the Chariot stands out as the card that most evokes myth, giving us a sense of traveling to the place where myths and images emerge into consciousness. It exists in a visionary world of its own imagination, reaching deeply into mystery.

And so--how does that speak to us, to you, here and now, today? Take a look at today's "journey" as being more than it is. We always have the rocks, the boat, the path. We always have mundania. We always have "stuff". But--we need to connect it, today, to Self. To the Inner Journey. To "who am I and what am I doing here and why am I doing this and what does it mean?" Asking those questions about whatever you are doing today is probably the most important thing you will do all day long.