{VII} The Chariot {The Wild Hunt}

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot

‘In the darkness of night, a terrifying howl rips through a storm-laden sky. A savage phantom army of hideous horses and wild dogs hunt down the damned and carry bad omens for those who dare to spy. Their ruthless display knows no mercy as their unearthly wails fore-shadow death. The volatile sky contrasts with the placid, snow-covered valleys below. This signifies the polarities between life and death, light and shadow, the conscious and unconscious.

Divinatory meaning: This is the time to take action. Embrace challenges with an air of calm control. You can determine your destiny by recognizing the dark that lurks beyond the horizon and take steps to assure a successful journey through uncertainty.’

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excerpt from “Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom”:

‘The Chariot implies more than a great victory. To drive a two horse vehicle at speed requires total control over the animals; the activity serves as a perfect vehicle for the powerful will. Plato, in the Phaedrus, refers to the mind as a chariot drawn by a black and white horse, the exact image of the tarot.

A certain Hindu myth tells of Shiva destroying a triple city of the demons. To do so he requires the all creation be subordinated to his will. The gods make a chariot for Shiva, using not only themselves but the heavens and the Earth as materials. The sun and moon become the wheels and the winds the horses. {The symbol on the front of the Tarot Chariot, like a nut and bolt, or a wheel and axle, is called the lingam and yoni, standing for Shiva, the masculine principle, and Parvati, the feminine principle, united in a single figure.} Through the myth’s images we learn that spiritual victory over evil comes when we can focus all of nature, as well as the unconscious energy embodied in Shiva himself, through the conscious will.

These two fables show two different aspects of the idea of will. The story of Shiva speaks of a true victory, in which the spirit has found a focus to release its total force. But the Phaedrus gives us an image of the triumphant ego, which controls rather than resolves the basic conflicts of life. Those Tarot commentators who see the cards as a group of separate images, each one contributing some vital lesson to our spiritual understanding, tend to give the Chariot its wider meaning. They point out that the Kabbalistic title for the number 7, with all its mystic connotations, is ‘Victory’.’