The chariot tarot card is often a good sign when it pops up in a reading. Like the character depicted on the major arcana, the chariot in tarot means that your life is moving forward, and that you are making progress overall in your various projects. Where the fool was striding forward because he was candid and naïve, the chariot tarot card moves forward through sheer force of will and determination, with his eyes on the prize.
Traditional meanings associated with the Chariot card
An extremely positive card (unless this major arcana is reversed), the Chariot lets you catch a glimpse of the road ahead of you, a road full of challenges but that you know you will easily understand. As long as you keep faith in your own abilities and do not let doubts and second guesses steer you away from the path you are walking on, the meaning of the chariot card should comfort you in your own choices and let you enjoy a particularly positive time for yourself
Upright: Providence, triumph, presumption, vengeance, movement, and travels.
Reversed: Riot, defeat, broken spirits, and immobility.
Upright chariot tarot card meaning
A princely and regal figure is standing proudly on a chariot drawn by two sphinxes (in the most commonly used Rider-Waite tarot. Other decks may use other animals, horses or bulls in some decks originating from the Mediterranean Sea) riding forward towards the viewer.
The inclusion of the two sphinxes instead of more traditional beasts of burden can be traced back to the writings of Eliphas Levy, an ancient occultist who researched the tarot deck meanings most thoroughly, and then included by A.E. Waite into his world famous tarot and book, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.
This is one of the most positive messages among the major arcana meanings. Just like the figure in the chariot tarot card, the Querent and his plans are decidedly moving forward. This is a major arcana that resonates with a positive energy of triumph, in turn absorbed by the Querent, leading to further achievements and victories, leading to more positive energy of triumph in an everlasting cycle.
The use of the sphinxes as beasts of burden is here to highlight that these victories are not necessarily victories in war or of brute force. The chariot offers energy for any outcome, including riddles and other challenges of the mind.
One of the downsides of the chariot tarot card is that it can lead to excessive pride sometime, propping you up for a fall if you don’t keep your eyes wide open and fairly objective when you think about yourself.
Reversed Chariot card meaning
Usually when a card is extremely positive in its base meaning, seeing that very same card reversed in a reading is probably bad news. The chariot tarot card is a sign of defeat and broken spirits when it appears reversed. Psychologically, this could be a sign of clinical depression, which is a serious illness that should not be discarded just because there are no obvious physical symptoms.
The Fool’s Journey
When the Fool’s journey reaches the chariot tarot card, the Fool has turned into an adult, with a strong identity forged through experience, education, and contact with the outside world. The Chariot teaches the Fool how to use their willpower to effectively affect and change their environment..
Once the Fool has defined their values and the kind of person they want to be, they must try to fit into the world both by changing themselves and changing the world around them. Free from any sense of doubt, the Fool confidently moves forward as they start defining their place into the world.
The Chariot in love tarot
Just like in life or in personal project, a Querent should be delighted to see the chariot in tarot when asking a question about love. This is a card that often comes up when someone has just entered into a relationship with somebody new. The feelings of sheer bliss and positivity triggered when you are in the arms of passion can give you wings and give you all the energy you need to overcome (or learn how to deal with) your everyday problems.
If you are currently in a relationship and thinking about taking things to the next level, the chariot major arcana is giving you the thumbs up, and the outcome of such a decision should be extremely positive and wonderful.
The Chariot as a focus for meditation
This is a great major arcana to use as a focus for meditation when you are feeling low, or when you suffer from serious lack of confidence problems. Try to project yourself onto the card. If you know about a specific challenge you are about to face and afraid to fail, just think about it. You are now the victorious and proud figure standing in the middle of the card, coming back from the field of battle where you achieved your goals. You have overcome all your enemies. You have proven the might of your mind. Now just enjoy your many blessings and live every day to the fullest!