The Chariot

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry he home

Whenever I see the Chariot card I do declare I can hear Eric Clapton singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot. If I wanted a funeral, or had any desire to plan my funeral, this would be on the list of music to be played. Happily, I am not into planning my funeral and I have no intention of taking a Chariot ride led by angels any time soon.

One of my favourite Chariot cards is in the Tarot Del Fuego! When I meditate upon this card and indulge in a spot of path working I can see myself, all packed, ready to hit the road in my Gypsy Caravan. I mentally plan that I can stop and have Tarot Tiny Tea with all the Fey folk I meet along the way. I muse and wonder if Mrs Rabbit has fresh baked cookies and if Hedgehog has made any of his famous hedgehog slice.

However, I am currently dwelling in the land of Sweet Twilight and, by contrast, there is no nice Tuk Tuk style chariot, like the one my daughter and I rode in to Angkor Wat each day while we were holidaying in Cambodia. Instead the horses that are supposed to pull my chariot are not only unharnessed, but appear to be heading into the sunset at a great rate. I am left sitting in a decidedly uncomfortable looking carriage that looks like something out of Roman times, there is a glowering man on stilts towering over me and his huge snake is slithering way to close towards me for comfort.

Traditionally the Chariot symbolises courage in the face of uncertainty. It is all about being able to take take risks, to be prepared to step toward what you really want out of life, even when there are no guarantees. The Chariot  is said to illustrate that victory does not come from the attainment of a goal, but instead occurs at the exact moment you choose courage instead of fear. 

Well! Being confronted with this situation is certainly challenging and it is not comforting to have the saccharine words of cheap self help books echoing in my ears. It is all very well to glibly claim that choosing courage empowers you.  Right now, as a man on stilts towers over me and the snake slithers closer, I am more concerned about the state of my underwear.

Snake shedding its skin

After applying some deep breathing, calming exercises, I begin to take in what is actually happening. The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word snake is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to mankind and there is incredibly complex symbolism surrounding them.  

The snake of Garden of Eden infamy, for example, was forever a symbolic reminder of the Fall. It was ordained that every time man would see a serpent he would be reminded that it was the instrument by which he fell into sin.

However, historically, serpents and snakes are also believed to represent fertility and are perceived to represent a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they have become symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life. Snakes are also said to be conscious and strategic about where they place their energy and spend their venom when catching a meal.

It so happens that I have a new copy of Soul Cards 2 in my back pack and I rummage through to find the card showing a person communing with a snake. I also whip out the tea set I have bought with me in the hope that making tiny tea for the inhabitants of this world might break down any communication barriers. 

The snake tells me she would be honoured to share tea and some of her wisdom. She suggests  that the snake in question may well be asking me to stop and consider my motives, to evaluate how much energy I’m putting out versus calling in. She asks me if I am using my energy efficiently and urges me to trust in my inner Snake, to strike quickly, decisively, and accurately. She also suggests that I might look at my baggage, see how much I am trying to bring with me, consider my burdens and pain and transmute them into new opportunities. 

Many African tribes believed that Moko Jumbies acted as the spiritual seers and protectors of the village. It was believed that the height of the Moko Jumbie allowed them to see evil before it arrived and warn other villagers.

Then, as she was about to slither off she whispered “you did know that the guy on stilts is a Moko Jumbie didn’t you?” Before I could finish my piece of cake, drain my tea cup and ask for more information, she was gone.II

Well I didn’t know this did I? This slither of information inspired me to check my internet connection and discover how the stilted figure being a Moko Jumbie impacted so significantly on my situation.

Moko, in the traditional sense, is a god. He watches over his village, and due to his towering height, he is able to foresee danger and evil. His name, Moko, literally means the “diviner” and he would be represented by men on towering stilts and performs acts that were unexplainable to the human eye.

In general, The Chariot is a card of movement, be it literally or towards a goal. When goal setting it is not always easy to see the big picture. Having Moko check out the bigger picture may be just the aid we need.

Goal Setting Before Taking a Chariot Ride

Typical characteristics of big picture thinking

  • You can quickly see patterns in complex problems.
  • You like to come up with new ideas and new projects.
  • You have a low tolerance for busywork, tedious errands, and filling out forms.
  • You are great at outlining what needs to be done, but filling in the details can feel exhausting.
  • You may have been described as right-brained.

5 Strategies for Big Picture Thinking