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Two of Wands  Two of Wands is offline
Join Date: 18 Apr 2003
Location: England
Posts: 243
Two of Wands 

A Closer Look!

The man wildly pushing the Chariot forth is almost definitely the Emperor of this deck. His hair does appear rather redder, but in all other appearances he is identical to The Emperor. I think this is one of the reasons why this deck was able to reflect upon The Emperor’s thoughtful, intellectual, fatherly, and peaceful qualities in the actual Emperor card, as it goes on to show his determined powerful nature, driving force and leadership abilities in this card.

The card is called Mastery, not The Chariot. And its main meaning is Mastery Over the Elements. The four horses, and the colours of their individual reigns, represent one of each of the elements. The opaque horse with the flowing mane and the blue reins: water, the blue horse with the stars and moon upon its face and the whispery mane: air, the green horse with daises upon its face and platted corn main: earth, and the orange horse with red rein and flaming mane: fire.

The Achi-type of what Mastery should be shows a man in full control of the elements, with an equal balance of each. However, I do not think that this is really the message of the card, as this is symbolised more by the Temperance (or, in this deck, The Guide) card. I think what this card is reminding us is that we need to take hold of our lives, drive things forward by grabbing hold of each of the elements in our reach, in order to succeed in what we want to do.

For me, The Guide (Temperance) card is a message for life, a reminder to try to keep a balance in our lives, and to continue to take stock of how we approach life and the things we do. Mastery (The Chariot), on the other hand, has a much more immediate, possibly short term message: that of determination, the will, and the confidence to move things forward, and to move others with you, in a particular situation. In this deck it certainly conveys a sense of urgency, the need to take what recourses you have and give it your best shot. Things could definitely go wrong though, and, as strong and impressive as the Emperor looks in this card, I would definitely say he is testing the limits, and his full concentration will be needed to keep this up, as these are wild horses/elements that he is calling upon.

“The fact is that although you may well feel empowered under this influence, remember that to a greater extent than you may realise, your position depends upon the continued good will and co-operation of other people who are also involved in the situation with you.”
Terry Donaldson, Step by Step Tarot, 1995.

In this card he is most certainly calling upon his mastery and symbolic authority to make things happen and keep control. This is fine until those he seeks to control rebel, because, in his drive and determination, he has forgotten to connect with them on a personal level. It is interesting that the next card is Strength. The Charioteer calls upon great physical strength, but there is more to be learnt about this virtue in the next card!

The good elements, suggested by this version of the card, are a drive to do what’s right, a drive to get things done, a drive to keep going in the face of adversity, a drive to fulfil commitments, and driving the will, and confidence, of others. Bad elements of this card scream out pig headedness, anger, ruthlessness, action without any type of thought, war, cruelty – stepping on others, and only thinking of one’s self.

Finally, I think the card in this deck suggests mastery over one’s self. In order to work hard at something, be it work, exercise, a relationship, etc, we have to draw upon all our strength, we have to be disciplined, and we have to fight the inner daemon’s within us which are suggesting not to bother! The Chariot is being driven along by the four elements, representing different aspects of the Charioteer’s personality, over which he must remain strong enough to keep them facing in the same direction.

I like the fact that this Chariot is moving, it makes the card so much more alive than the static ones. Tarot should take advantage of the Chariot as a moving force, in contrast to the many static images of the other cards in the Major Arcana.

I want to end with a quote from Thornsons Principles of Tarot, by Evelyne and Terry Donaldson 1996, because I think it pertains to the Old Path Card very well.

“The Charioteer knows where he is going. Many people who walk around depressed or bored with their lives are in that condition because they literally ‘have nothing to look forward to’; in other words, they have lost their sense of direction and don’t know where they are going in their lives. The Chariot card is getting us to define our goals, focus upon them, rather than thinking around them. Look at the gaze of the Charioteer. In which direction is he looking? Where is his future? Straight ahead! Where is his past? Immediately behind him!”
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