THE CHARIOT Key 7, is the 18th Path of Cheth on the Tree of Life, the word Cheth means enclosure, or fence.
In the THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM , Paul Foster Case stated: "The Eighteenth Path is called the House of Influence ( by greatness of whose abundance the influx of good things upon created beings is increased) and from the midst of the investigation the arcana and hidden senses are drawn forth, which dwell in its shade and which cling to it, form the cause of all causes."
Between Geburah (Severity) and Binah (Understanding) the Great Mother on the Tree of Life, runs the Path of Cheth. This is the highest and most profound Path on the Pillar of Severity and introduces the Personality to the Supreme Spiritual Self, that wraps our Soul in the Golden Armor of Protection so that the Psyche can be carried through the unmanifested Universe, and/or Dark Matter and Dark Energy of the Quantum Mind. The Chariot is the enclosure that holds the Soul in a state of peace, as it moves through all planes.
In his BOOK OF TOKENS, Paul Foster Cases stated this about the Chariot:
I am the hedge of protection
Enclosing the field of existence
In this field thou dwellest,
And I am thy defense, Against the darkness which is without.Yet is this hedge of safety
Alas a wall of limitation,
And the darkness against which it defendeth thee
Is the radiant Darkness of the Limitless Light.,
Too brilliant for thine eyes.
The Darkness that Case refers to is that of the Limitless Light of Kether, the very pinnacle of the Supreme Spiritual Self. Pictured in the Chariot, the experience of the Spiritual Self, is known in Alchemy as the "Exhalation", where the Alchemist becomes the Philosopher's Stone.
The Thoth Deck Chariot, shows the influences of both the Hindu Tattvas
and the biblical text of Ezekiel with its "living creatures" being represented as 4 Sphinxes pulling the Chariot. These Four Kerubiim (angelic beings) represent not only the four Tarot Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, but also each has four sub-elements, as do the Tattvas, and are represented as the four faces of the creatures.
In his Ryder-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck, Waite mostly followed the design of Eliphas Levi straight out of Levi's book, The Ritual of Transcendental Magic where Levi wrote:
A Cubic Chariot with four pillars and a azure and starry drapery. In his chariot a victor crowned with a circle adorned with three radiant pentagrams. Upon his breast are three superimposed squares, on his shoulders the URIN and the THUMMIN of the sovereign sacrificer, represented by the two crescents of the moon in Gedulah [Chesed] and Geburah; in his hand is a sceptre surrounded by a globe, square and triangle, his attitude is proud and tranquil. A double sphinx or two sphinxes, joined at the haunches, are harnessed to the Chariot; they are pulling in opposite directions, but are looking the same way. They are respectively black and white. On the square which forms the fore part of the chariot is the Indian lingum surrounded by the flying sphere of the Egyptians.
Rather than a square on the forefront of the Chariot, Waite used a shield and placed the Eye of Horus above the lingum, sphere glyph. He also depicted the Mystical city of Jerusalem in the back ground along with a river that is being straddled by the Chariot representing the River of Paradise that flows from the High-Priestess to Tiphareth and making the Chariot an intermediary between the Above and the Below.
Other than the Egyptian sphere and Indian lingum,Geburah, is also symbolized with a Pentagram, or five pointed star,that has the Four Elements crowned by the Spirit. Thus, making 5 the number of Geburah on the Tree of Life, Geburah is a Red Force, and is symbolized on the Thoth card as Red Wheels, on the Ryder-Waite card, the red glyph of lingum and yoni, meaning that the force of Geburah (Severity) is the motive force of the Chariot.
Geburah is complimented by Chesed (Mercy) on the Tree of Life, and this compliment is seen in the Thoth Card's constant usage of the number 4, Chesed's number. We have Four Sphinx, and four columns (Four Universal Elements) holding up the starry canopy or heavens of Binah (The Great Mother- Empress Card key 3). Theses four elemental columns are called the " four columns of the Tree of Life in a Solid Sphere", adding a little more of the arcane to this card. I suggest the curious student gets the book, THE QABALISTIC TAROT by Robert Wang, as it is a fine text for understanding the Arcane.
Above the Golden Armored figure is a crab, symbolizing the sign of Cancer Woven into the canopy is the word "ABRACADABRA", which Robert Wang thinks is an apparent pun on "ABRAHADABRA", a word that Crowley called,"one of the most important key numbers of the Liber Al...the word of the Aeon....the cypher of the Great Work which when using Qabalistic Gematria (numerology), (Book 777 of Crowley) adds up to 418 which is then reduced to 4+1+8=13. Key 13- is the spiritual transformation death card.
Hence, Crowley understood that something martial is going on in the Psyche of the Seeker themselves. Much like the Bhagavad Gita, where the pursuit of enlivenment is symbolized by warring factions. On this highest Path of Severity, the Soul Warrior of Geburah has reached a pinnacle, as shown by the Ten stars on his golden chest that represent Assiah or Matter. Seated in meditation, with the Holy Grail in his hands: the Cup (Womb) that we look directly into.
The movement of the Chariot conceals a mystery (arcana) of great significance. The Chariot is reminiscent of the Greek Chariot of the Sun, Helios, as the four horses of the Sun pulled the Chariot of the Sun across the sky. This is significant as a representation, since the Chariot moves between the Light, centered in Tiphareth (Beauty) and the Supreme Darkness of the Limitless Light at the hidden side of Kether (Crown). Yet, there is even a more complex meaning suggested here, as the Sun is guided by the Moon! And in both Greek Mythology and the Qabalistic Tree of Life, the sun is subordinate to the moon. Since the Chariot is of the sign of Cancer, that is ruled by the Moon (and in which Jupiter is exalted), the Charioteer follows this philosophy of subordination to the Great Mother nicely. The cardinal Path of the Moon, leads from Tiphareth (Beauty-Solar Logos) to Kether (Crown) is the Path of the High Priestess. Water ( Pure Consciousness) takes precedence here and is represented by the Moon.
What is more interesting, the Chariot Card, also represents the "Secret Lover" that resides in our Soul or as our Soul; who protects and adores us. Many call this one, "the holy guardian angel".
This is a Higher Path card, and requires much skrying, meditation, and arcane study, so this author recommends that you devote more time to this card than a brief blog. At least, get the books I have recommended in this blog and read them liberally! What is also noted here, is that the Male-Female relationship, is represented backwards here in our reflected world. The Male Force of the Universe is Subservient to the Female Force in order for Force to become Form. Idea is subservient to Understanding, for Life to progress. There is much to consider here, if one wishes to "Know thyself!"
When the Chariot card is thrown during a reading, the querent is reminded:
- To devote themselves to the combination of activity and quietude so that they may have the drive to attain goals.
- It is a time of clearing out the past, moving beyond and beginning with new energy while taking responsibility for one's present condition.
- There is a need for victory here, by combining the images or content of the unconscious with the consciousness for the purpose of achievement.
- The Chariot also signifies that the querent has begun controlling a situation by the force of their personality....a focus of Will.
- The goal will need fighting for, but you have been granted the energy to win it!
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