We have made our choice. We are on our mission. But it isn’t so simple. In every card so far we see a polarity. In The Lovers there is the choice. In The Hierophant and the High Priestess the two pillars. The Emperor is perched on a thrown with two solid arms. And in The Empress we have life and death. The Magician brings us the energy of heaven and earth. So now we come to the point of union. In this card we merge these forces.
Everything which came before goes into this card. With the choice made in the last card we move forward. We are Arjuna on the battlefield of our life. And like Arjuna we need to focus. We need to bring together all the energies of life and death. Of black and white, and up and down. Unite them to a single purpose. In some decks this is called the card of victory. And it foreshadows The Sun card near the end of our journey.
The story of Phaëton comes to mind. He was the son of Helios. There are several versions of the story. But the key point is he takes his father’s chariot. But like many his hands were weak in the reins. When the horses sense this they take control. The rider is at their whim. They surge across the sky, and burn the land. This card calls for a firm hand. A strong focus.
On the card itself we see two sphinxes. One is black and one is white. This shows the polarity we transcend. The driver sits above these two figures. And sits in the middle. Being drawn to either side with take away from their focus.
Behind the figure is a river and a city. It reminds me of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon. We have crossed a point of no return and we need to commit. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna needs a friend. Lord Krishna is this friend. And becomes he guide. He can’t afford to hesitate he tells Arjuna. And we can’t either. When the path is clear, we must take action.
Arjuna is concerned about family. He has family on both sides of the war. How can I kill these men, he asks Krishna. And we may have concerns of our own. Maybe we feel like we are pushing others down. As we lift ourselves up. Or it may just be we don’t want to see a conflict. But Krishna tells him to live his dharma. “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” And so should we. While we should use others for our own gain. We also should not dim our own light.
The danger of this card is the power of Caesar. He was supported by the masses in Rome. There were two parties. The populares and the Optimates. His move was against the elites. It was a counter to the old senate class. But we all know history. His actions sparked a long civil war. After five years and many deaths he won. But the republic was lost in the process. Named Dictator for Life, Rome was on the road to empire. The shadow of the warrior is this lust for power. While a leader needs to follow his own heart. So will a tyrant.
The path to true leadership is the middle path. We must remain centered. Like the driver in this card. Over the driver’s head is a canopy. It is covered in stars. The heavens are above us and watching our actions. They are there to lend us wisdom. To guide our path. But also a witness to our sins of pride. Pride comes before the fall. In the end Caesar was stabbed in the back in an attempt to save Rome.
What this card is telling in this reading is the time is now. The time to act is now. Don’t hesitate. You probably already know the right action. But like Arjuna you are unsure. But the number seven on this card shows we are aware. We have the knowledge and the skills. In seven days it is said God created the heavens and the earth. Cross the Rubicon. Take courage. But be ware of the story of Phaëton. We have the strength to hold the reins. If we believe in ourselves. And if we don’t we risk losing control.
The chariot in the card is our body in some ways. It is the vehicle we use to move in life. There is an ancient Hebrew teaching known as the Work of the Chariot. It teaches we are sent as messengers of God’s work. We are a part of this deity. Which is what A Course in Miracles means when it says “only love is real.” Our desires can be used to power our lives. Like the sphinxes pull the chariot. But our higher selves must be the driver.
If you honestly don’t know what the path is right now. You feel lost about what is being given to you as a mission. Then meditate. Take a deep breathe or two. The truth will come to you. And if you still think you haven’t made a choice. Flip a coin. While it is in the air listen to your body. It will be hopefully tense about one result or the other. The most exciting part of this card. Is this is our first card of movement. Our journey is take a real step forward. Your journey is taking a step forward today.