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Monday, February 17, 2014

The Chariot - War, Battle, Conflict, Struggle





The card of the day for me, is The Chariot.  This card is symbolic of war, battle, conflict and struggle, which may seem initially to be a negative thing, but if we allow ourselves, this struggle and conflict can give us strength of character, and great personal transformation, depending on our attitude. I have found this to be very much  the case personally. I have witnessed this inner strength, and courage in others, who have been, and are warriors.
Although it is necessary to face these conflicts and contradictions within ourselves, and cannot be avoided,  I have never found this to be easy, but it is all part of growing up, even becoming and adult!.
Resentment and aggression  are luxuries I can  no longer afford. I stopped carrying around a little gunny sack full of grudges toward others. I have learned to forgive others and myself.

The Chariot is the seventh card among  the 22  Major Arcana. The astrological sign Cancer and the Moon are linked with this card of conflicting animal urges and the inner instincts that can threaten to run away with us, if we do not learn to live in balance and harmony. This does not mean that we should repress our feelings, otherwise we loose our personal power, and ability to not just survive in spite of ourselves, but to thrive because of our selves, in finding our way, traveling along on the road of life.
Harnessing and balancing human nature, being pulled in opposing directions; will and action, the two horses, one black, one white symbolize this struggle that takes place within the human psyche, as we make daily decisions in our lives.


Ares, the God of War, is seen in bronze helmet and bronze armor over a blood-red tunic as he drives his war chariot. He wears a shield at his hip, and at his side is a large spear. He holds the reins of two horses, one black and one white, as they pull in opposite directions before him. The landscape is reddish and desert-like as a storm approaches.

War Symbolism (Chariot, Armor, Shield, Spear, etc)
  • chariot is a symbol of war or battle
  • chariot is the image of the mastery and mobility of gods and heroes
  • armor identifies a warrior
  • spear is a symbol of war and struggle, aggression or hostility
  • spear represents that which may cut, pierce or injure
  • spear represents phallic power and potency in both men and women
  • an environment of hostility, aggression and oppression
  • an internal struggle
  • retaliation for previous thoughts, words or actions
  • the need to consciously deal with problems that are struggling at the unconscious level
  • the need to fight for what’s right
  • the process of disintegration and reintegration
  • abolishing disorder and creating order out of chaos
  • the spiritual battle between good and evil within man’s own nature
Black and White Horses
  • Deimos (fear) and Phobos (terror) accompanied Ares on the battlefield
  • the potential for both good and evil contained in the aggressive instinct
  • white horse represents pure intellect while the black horse represents chaos
  • black symbolizes lack of consciousness, descent into darkness, evil, corruption, ignorance while white represents innocence, purity, truth, perfection, redemption, illumination
  • conflicting animal urges within man that are full of vitality yet unwilling to work together
  • Metaphors/Proverbs:
    • “to know black from white” is to understand the difference between right and wrong
    • “to see everything as black and white” is to have limited vision, to see things only as true/false or right/wrong
    • “a horse of a different color” means additional information that causes a situation to be reconsidered or different
    • “don’t put the cart before the horse” means it’s important to do things in the right or natural order, and is also used to correct people who confuse cause and effect
    • “zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse” means that uninformed enthusiasm will only lead to disaster
Desert Landscape
  • the lack of feeling and relatedness in which the aggressive impulses thrive
  • that which is not fertile, is bleak or is abandoned
  • that which lacks insight or spirit; hopelessness and pessimism
Ares
  • god of war, he reveled in fighting and was in love with the heat and glory of battle so that he could unleash all his strength to challenge his foe
  • because he was associated with bloodshed and conflict, he was disliked by Zeus and Athena because of his brute-strength and lack of refinement
  • Aphrodite fell in love with him though, and together they had a daughter Harmonia, whose quality was the harmonious blending of love and strife
  • the image of aggressive instincts guided and directed by the will of consciousness
  • as fatherless god (he was born from Hera without male seed), he’s the image of the natural aggressive and competitive instincts of the body because he lacks the archetypal spiritual father who might provide him with vision and meaning
  • this iron will and great courage are a necessary complement though to spiritual vision, which isn’t enough to survive in a competitive and difficult world
  • the second of life’s greatest lessons – the creative harnessing of the violent, turbulent urges of the instinctual nature
  • arriving at maturity – learning how to take the consequences of one’s actions as an adult and facing the anger and conflict one has invoked both internally and externally
  • the need to deal with the warring opposites and war-like urges within
  • lesson of how learning to contain and direct the aggressive drive fosters the development of the whole personality

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