“While this charioteer doesn’t look to be moving, there’s a lot going on, lives are being made. Cycles will complete themselves, nature will take the reins, and there will be advancement even if it appears we are standing still…”
~ CJ Wright and Auntie Moon, Astrological Picture Book: The Chariot as Cancer, The Crab
Diving Deep into the Chariot Card
This month’s article has been the most difficult to write yet. As I’m finally finding myself able to move forward with it I understand, on a visceral level, the meaning of the chariot in an entirely new way. Up to this point I have seen this card as a symbol of powerful forward movement. It harnesses instinctual light and dark to pull forward, steering with the Hanab Ku, the Mayan Butterfly–the symbol of the galactic center, that central aspect of our universe wherein stars and planets are being continually created and destroyed at the same time. And while all of these aspects remain pertinent, I understand now that there is more to it.
“…The beginning of Cancer is marked by the summer solstice. [T]he days have been getting longer, and then we reach the longest day of the year. And the sun stops. It stands still. It no longer travels north, it turns the other direction. This is the symbolism of the Chariot. The Chariot, which is one of the primary symbols of the Sun god Apollo, stops, then turns…”
~ Joy Vernon, The Chariot as Cancer
That one of the beings that pulls the chariot is black and one is white is not the mystery. It makes sense to me that we must harness our light and our darkness, integrate them to work together, in order to truly move forward in this life. What has always been a mystery to me is that these beings usually appear to be pulling in different directions, although they are often looking the same way as the charioteer. That is if they are pulling at all–in some artwork they are simply sitting there.
This is where the energy of Cancer comes in. This deeply emotional, highly protective astrological sign is represented by the crab that moves sideways to get to its desired destination. While the charioteer in the Sun and Moon Tarot is not heavily armored as in most decks, he is wearing the symbol of the crab on his shirt. That reminds us of the hard outer shell that protects the soft mushiness inside. Of course the crab side steps–to go straight forward is to risk being pinned down, piercing the protective shell and revealing the extreme vulnerability within. Sometimes the fastest way somewhere is not the direct route, it’s the motion that’s important and we trust our instincts and move with life, opportunities present themselves.
“While the Sun is in Cancer, we are reminded of our roots and to connect with family, biological or otherwise. In Cancer, the Sun is more reserved, sensitive, somewhat shy and intuitive. The Sun’s energy focused on the inner workings of the self; who we are, what we desire, who/what motivates all rooted at our hearts and our emotional side…”
~Cancer and the Chariot, EssentialZodiac.com
The Chariot Signals a Spiritual Journey
On the full moon just before the recent summer solstice, I decided that in my 52nd year (in about 2.5 years, in 2022) I will walk the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrim’s path though Spain, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Several of my friends have walked it, and for some reason I became inspired and made the commitment to myself.
Years ago I was given a book about this journey and before I could read it a dear friend asked to borrow it and then promptly booked her own trip to the Camino and gave the book away to someone else. After I decided to make this journey and prepare myself to walk the 10-16 miles per day during the next 2.5 years, I teased my friend about the missing book and planned to get it at the library.
On Monday of last week, the day this article was due, the book, The Camino; A Journey of the Spirit by Shirley MacLaine, arrived in my mailbox; my dear friend finally returning it. And after having sat down repeatedly, day after day, for the entire week before to write, but not having been able to move forward, I was compelled to pick up the book and read. “What am I doing! I don’t have time to read! I need to be writing!!!” is what my brain was telling me, as I entered the story and very quickly understood there was something else going on here…It was not what I expected.
“In a Tarot reading the Chariot may indicate a major turning point on the spiritual journey in which it is vital to question how we are moving on the path…”
~ Franco Santoro, The Chariot – Cancer: An Astroshamanic Voyage into the Tarot
While this story chronicles the famous actress and entertainer’s journey as she walked the Camino, it also shares her spiritual experiences. It reads almost like something from The Way of the Spiritual Warrior series or the work of Carlos Casteneda, the stories of spiritual re-membering I had read in my twenties. And as the Universe is always in perfect timing and sublimely aligned, memories from my own journey were ignited soon after, with a powerful weekend of inspirational readings on the Solstice here at Paradise Found both before and after the parade.
The most profound aspect of this is that in all of these unexpected serendipitous events and connections, the main themes that were revealed all revolve around my life’s work and study of relationships, vulnerability, healing, sexuality, spirituality and connection to the earthly and the divine. I literally feel inspired and catalyzed, anchored into and expanding out with my soul’s work and am so excited to find out what happens next. Because something’s definitely in the works here!
The Hebrew Letter Cheth, and Finding Your Path
“…the path of cheth, as seen through the eyes of the charioteer, is about finding the moment when protective limitations must explode into the release of power or recognizing the time to carefully protect the spark so that it may grow into the flame…”
~ Joy Vernon, The Chariot as Cancer
In The Camino, Shirley MacLaine speaks of the memory of Lemurian times that she had during her journey. She speaks of experiencing the actual occurrence of what was touched upon in my article on zayin, from last month. The 7th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, zayin represents the separation of male and female aspects from the androgynous first human, Adam–how Eve came from Adam’s rib. It was so powerful to have explored those gnostic writings last month and then be sent a book this month that gave a fantastical example of how that might have occurred!
Before I had read any of this, I had already spent time looking into the 8th letter, Chet/Ches/Het. I found that it integrates the two letters before it (zayin and vav), and symbolizes the re-union of those two opposites and/or complements. This is also something Ms. MacLaine speaks of in her book, along with an interesting and resonant perspective on twin flames, soul mates, and consciously aligning with Divinity, Great Spirit, Creator, Love, whatever it is we call God, in the balance and healing of ourselves and our planet Earth.
“…the ches…is a fusion of two letters: the vav and the zayin…In essence, vav represents the male principle,…Zayin represents the female principle…”
~ Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin, Ches – Marriage, Chabad.org
And, as with all Hebrew letters, there are several interpretations and perspectives regarding their meaning. Hebrew is so rich with the possibility of interpretations, and depending on where one looks they can become even more layered and complex.
“The Chariot, Apollo’s vehicle as it stops to turn, is the perfect symbol for the sign of Cancer. It represents the nurturing, compassionate God who does not, like Phaeton, try to see how high he can climb, but rather chooses his own sacrifice, who knowingly stops his heady climb towards heaven to descend towards his own cyclic destruction.
This is the God who is willing to take the middle way–perhaps symbolised by his being centered between the horses of different colors, the way of compromise and balance, the way of equilibrium. Like the crab he moves sideways on the summer solstice, honoring cheth, the fence, the boundary of his territory, despite his ability to easily pass beyond it.“
~Joy Vernon, The Chariot as Cancer
All of the quotes I include in this article on the 8th Hebrew letter seem to relate to an aspect of what is occurring in my own life journey, and has just been catalyzed. A fence, life’s blessing, the connection between the masculine and feminine aspects of two people, the capacity to integrate that which has come before and move forward…
“Heith is the letter of life…It represents a power to enter a higher level, to enter the mysteries of one’s soul, and then return to worldly consciousness. The ancient form of the letter looks like a ladder, indicating the ability to go above and beyond limitations… It is the essence of the human being to break through nature, to spiritual realization…”
~Kabbalist Samuel Avital, from the Gathering of the Sparks Kabbalah Seminars. Cited in the article Spiritual Meanings of the Hebrew Alphabet on WalkingKabbalah.com
The older I get, the more I continue to experience and integrate and learn, the more amazed I am at the miracle of this life…how it appears to have always been leading me somewhere regardless of my own intentions and plans.
As I connect in with the wisdom of my higher self and allow myself to trust that which I don’t “know” but really feel my way into, my life just continues to unfold, getting better and better, leading me to even more coincidences and connections. The more I trust the process and let go of the reigns, give my mind alternative things to consider, do and plan, the easier it is for my life’s path to unfold before me.
The charioteer is not holding the reigns, instead they hold integration and transformation in their hands as the entire universe is sparkling behind them in support of their journey. This is not just the end, it is also just the beginning.
I will not take for granted,
All the gifts from Mother Earth,
But do everything within my power,
To heal and help her give birth.
Please do stop by at the end of the month on the 4th Saturday, July 27 from 1:00-5:00 PM and let’s see what’s moving forward in your cards and in your life.