Sunday, January 31, 2016

This Week's Writerly Tarot: The Chariot

According to many schools of thought, the tarot represents the Hero's/Heroine's Journey. When we look at the cards that way, the Chariot signals completion of the first step in the human-becoming process individuation. Which is just a fancy way of saying that it's you being you, whole and complete. Acting as a separate identity with free will and exercising the power of choice.

Which should be no surprise to anyone who looks at this card it could be the movie poster for every sword-and-sandal film Hollywood ever made. Like Lawrence of Arabia and The Scorpion King put in a blender with Sparticus. Serious masculine energy, direct and unwavering.

But look closer. Our driver commands not horses, but two sphinxes, one white and one black. His forehead is star-crowned, and he wears crescent moons on his shoulders, symbols of success. There is Mystery here, and Power. Loads of it.

The Chariot is Drive. It is Control. It is Ego. And as such, it is a very good card for us creative types.

Oh, come on, don't tell me you've fallen for the pop culture notion that having a strong ego is bad? Far from it!  A solidly structured ego is a necessary vehicle for your will, especially if you want to take your creative work into the marketplace. Or share it with an audience. Or make it in the first place. The ego is a protective container for all the parts that must be open and receptive and somewhat soft (like our beating hearts and whirring brains). It mediates the forces that move us forward. It prevents the chariot from getting stuck up to the fenders in a sand dune. It keeps us on the right track, moving forward.

So this week, cherish your ego. Respect its boundaries; shore them up if necessary. Your ego is not you, of course, even though it may feel that way sometimes, which is why it gets a bad rap. People who confuse their selves with their egos can become a little desperate to keep everything unscathed.

But that's not the route to a healthy ego. A balanced ego can take a little scathing. Polish yours up and take it for spin this week. Snap the reins, pick up some speed. The road ahead maybe be twisty, but it looks jolly fun.


Laura Valeri said...

It's interesting. I never actually thought of the fact that the Chariot in this card is not showing any movement at all. It is, in fact, quite moored, and the Sphinxes don't look at all like they have any interest in getting up and carrying on the load. So, what does it mean that a card that is titled after movement and power (based on movement) shows only stillness?

Tina said...

You know, this card has never felt very move-y to me (though in some of my favorite decks, it shows a lot more get up and go than the Rider-Waite-Smith version). To me, it has always been about the chariot as a container. A vehicle, yes, but one in preparation for a journey, not actually IN a journey yet. It's about getting your energies in the right direction, getting them mediated, before moving forward. But I do agree -- those Sphinxes don't look particularly eager to be going anywhere. Maybe that's the next challenge on the journey -- finding the motivation to love forward.