Ah yes. Our ego comes a-rolling up in the yard yet again, ablaze with glory, brilliant with triumph. It's a four-cornered, starry-curtained, uber-gilded Chariot we see before us, exalted and ostentatious, practically dripping with satisfaction.
But let's not be too hasty in our judgment. There's a lot of substance beneath the fancy surface.
The ego has gotten an unfortunately negative rap in our current thinking. We must not let our egos get in our way, we are told. We must transcend them. After all, who wants to be ego-driven? Egotistical? An ego maniac?
I mean, look at that guy up there. He's practically carrying his own stage with him, demanding that we take a front row seat on his bedazzled victory lap.
But the sphinxes reveal a deeper truth. One does not enter into such company lightly. They are the keepers of mystery, after all. They offer initiation in the form of riddles, and unless you meet their challenge, you shall not pass beyond them. Our Charioteer has. He must have something valuable to offer us.
And this is it — to succeed in any creative endeavor, one must develop a strong and healthy ego. The qualities we associate with an big ego — bragging, boasting, strutting, and preening — are actually signs of a weak ego, one that requires constant exterior fortification.
A strong ego is like a container. It isn't you (which is what those blustery types get wrong — over-identifying with the container, not the contents). Like the chalices in the tarot that contain our emotions, our ego contains our sense of self. Our identity. As such, it must be both strong and fluid. Who we are is always changing. Our ego must be just as dynamic.
The Chariot is here to remind you that while you are on the sacred and
soulful task of bringing a creative project into the world, be clear
about your boundaries. There will always be rejections and acceptances, bad reviews and good. The second you place your work before an audience, you will receive both pans and praise. And yet you must, as Rudyard Kipling reminds us, "treat those two imposters just the same." You must separate you and your work from the swirling chaff of judgment if you want to get anywhere.
Remember who's holding the reins of this particular chariot. Hint: you are. Which means you are not the chariot.