Bohemian Gothic Tarot- The Chariot


I drew this card as a part of a simple reading and noticed to my surprise that no one has started a discussion on it yet. Well, there's a first time for everything, so here goes:

A person is standing in a massive chariot. The face is concealed by a mask and to me it's hard to even tell whether it's a man or a woman. Personally I'm guessing that the character is male, because of the somewhat masculine chest, the broad shoulders, the authoritarian stance and the manly aura of the image- for this reason I will be referring to "him", "his" etc. Feel free to disagree ;)

Is the mask simply a decoration or is it used for hiding his true self? Maybe he does not need to see where he is heading, because he already knows his way? He is holding the reins with one hand, something which seems to be both emphasizing authority and exuding confidence and utter belief that he is in control. On his back are a pair of large, black wings and on his head we see a green decoration of some sort. To me it bears resemblance to the feathers of a peacock and could possibly emphasize the confidence in oneself. The red color is also found in cards such as The Magician, The Emperor and Strength- could it be symbolizing power, authority, a strong will and passion? What about the chariot itself? The eyes of the females in front are fixed on whatever is in front of it. It could be the light of the moon, but there seems to be a shade of contrast in their colors, one seems to be darker than the other. Is there a conflict here or do they complement each other?

The Chariot is a very active card speaking of moving forwards. There seems to be a strong focus and intent here, a matter of knowing where you're headed. It could be an actual journey or simply a mental process of moving towards a goal. For some reason I'm associating this card with someone young and ambitious, but perhaps a bit naive. I'm not getting the feeling of maturity that I get with other cards such as The Emperor. Could the person be ignoring important details in getting to where he's going? Is reaching the goal more important than how to get there? Or could it be the other way around; that he might lose his way?

I'm in for an important exam on Thursday and it was on this occasion that I performed the reading. In that case I think that this card could signify something urging me to go on and work towards my goal. I think it will be important for me to keep my focus on the task and the outcome, but without becoming so caught up in the latter that the process of getting there is somewhat lost along the way.

I'm very curious to know how the rest of you would interpret this card and what opinions you have on it :)


Wonderful card! And the charioteer is male. A close up shows that the blood red cloth is wrapped right under his breasts, which are definitely masculine. One hand, by the way, is holding that red cloth around him rather like a towel. Good call by the way on the feathers of the crown there. I think they're meant to be black feathers like those on the wings, to give him a bird like feel. So they're not peacock so much as iridescent as black feathers can be. Black wings suggest ravens and crows, birds of death, messengers of gods who gathered souls from battlefields (apt for the chariot which is often about battles), also birds of magic.

You know, the term "winged chariot" comes to mind. From the Andrew Marvell poem: "To his Coy Mistress." The portion of that poem is:
"But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity."

As with other BG cards, it does homage to the traditional chariot card, while being uniquely BG. The typical image has the sphinxes at rest. Here they are stone, which goes with the BG and all it's statues, yet tips it's had to that still chariot. You can't get more still than stone. One sphinx is shadowed, one in moonlight to give us the traditional feel of a black and white sphinx.

The mask is a marvelous way to indicate the traditional Chariot's idea of being protected. It's not just a matter of taking the reigns, being control, going forward, it's also about having an armored carriage around you to protect you from enemy arrows. Our driver protects himself with that red cloth and with the mask as well as the chariot.

There's also that idea of changing state. You go from one place to another in the chariot, and your "state" changes. Stone sphinxes, winged young man (earth and air), the silver of the moon and the gold of the sun. Black and white, cloudy and clear. The chariot unites opposites to achieve its goal. Neat!


Those are very fascinating ideas and it totally makes sense to think of it that way. I never actually thought about the protection part or uniting opposites to reach a goal. It becomes an idea of a balance of sorts then, balancing two opposites in order to maintain harmony and reach your goal. Good thinking, Thirteen :D

Concerning my exam it really makes sense both the part of working towards the goal and maintaining a perfect balance to reach the place where I'm going :)

swimming in tarot

I guess the Chariot is a card I've always had trouble with. Any Chariot, not just this one. Because it had been showing up in most of my readings, I looked into it.

Stone sphinxes, snoozing horses, horses going in opposite directions, stone chariots, wheel-less chariots, chariots with wheels turned opposite directions--obviously not literally going anywhere any time soon--or else screaming along, barely in control. The Ananda deck shows no chariot at all but two horses going different directions, and a man between them sitting in meditation--the small, still point within, which is awareness that rises above duality.

The meaning of the Chariot card, as I find applies to my own situation, is about gaining mastery over the opposing forces that prevent you from moving forward. Getting in gear. Getting rid of the dead horse and hitching up a live one. Putting wheels under your ideas and taking them for a spin. A negative viewpoint would be failure to do so; also, easily, failure to control speed and direction. Either way, this card is about tempering force and resistance, which is reasonable: it is in the same septenate as the Temperance card.

In the Bohemian Gothic, we have stone sphinxes "couchant" and looking different directions; an ornate stone chariot, and no wheels visible. The fellow--sorry--looks like he's wrapped in a towel and is holding it around him with one hand or it will fall off. His right hand holds the reins, yes, but is relaxed. He's just posing. There is no tension in the reins that would communicate his intentions to his sphinxes. A rein-trained horse will continue doing whatever it's doing until you indicate, through various pulls on the reins, what YOU want it to do. The fellow has wings--perhaps he can fly and doesn't need a chariot--and a bronzey iridescent mask with standing iridescent feathers, rather bird-like.

I'm not sure whether to interpret this fellow fairly literally as a person, as with the minor arcana, or as a mythological, figurative being. I see him as a human with aspirations, symbolized by the bird mask and wings. I'm not convinced that the chariot and mask are about protection. He's practically naked, and vulnerable, so long as he's standing there with one hand holding a not-very-protective towel or toga in place, and the other holding the reins to stone sphinxes who won't pull anything. Naked, immobile, and no free hands. To get anywhere, he's going to have to drop the useless reins and the towel, unveiling himself re-invented, and use his arms flapping in unison to power his wings and his dreams. He'll be naked but unencumbered, and making progress. Soaring! Icarus has nothing to fear by moonlight.


Interesting about those wings. The Sphinxes are greek style sphinxes as compared to Egyptian. Greek Sphinxes are usually pictured with wings.

Perhaps our charioteer has taken the wings from the sphinxes?

And when I said the mask was protection, I meant in regards to protecting his identity, not physically. But I do like the Icarus reference; there's a very greek feel to this card. Actors in greek plays wore masks.


My initial impression is of what the sound of the Chariot's wings sound like when they flap. It's not a silent sound to me, but rather something more powerful and forceful, really propelling the Chariot through the air. I don't see this as a card that's rolling quickly along on wheels; it feels like it glides through the sky.

There's no personality to the man directing the Chariot... he seems like he lost his individuality a long time ago; the mask on his face makes him "standard issue" and a blank face. He also doesn't seem like he represents any sort of institution or entity, either... he just embodies that adrenaline that is "THE CHARIOT" -- there's no allegiance to anything here.

As for his clothes and the sphinxes and his beautiful headdress and sweet ride (haha!), there's a monumental feeling to it all. It brings up the more traditional meanings of the card... stop thinking, just act, just move, just go there.

If this card were to come up, yes the person would get the shpiel about needing to have a goal and stuff and about getting off their butt and doing it... but on its own. Like, wow. It reminds me of Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill movie: a monster that attacks and attacks and attacks and is intimidating and is nothing but ACTION- completely mindless.

The question I'd have to ask when looking at this card any other day is... do I want to be behind the Chariot and follow where this mindless monster is going-- because I know I'll get there and with the quickness! Or am I frightened of his intensity? I just know that I don't want to be around him for longer than is necessary. He's a cold entity and won't be gentle and kind in the least... he's on auto-pilot to his destination and that's it.