The chariot is an interesting card that can take you in a few directions. It can represent the kind of victory one achieves through sheer determination and will, forcing a desired outcome. This energy can be used in a positive way, such as when trying to beat a nicotine addiction for example. The sports world is full of examples of the application of this energy. On the other hand, so are corporate politics and plain political politics.
Depending on the context, the Chariot might indicate a situation where you need to hold things together to prevent disaster while waiting for a rescue team to survive. There are times where you have little choice but to roll up your sleeves and dig in your heels to survive.
Then again, the Chariot is the card of the ego. What the ego wants is not necessarily what is best for you, or indeed for everyone around you. So when I see this card reversed I have to ask myself, “what am I holding on to, and what happens if I let go? “Because my take on this is that whatever it is, either it’s not something I should be trying to hold on to, or else I’m not using the best method of trying to achieve my goal. With the Chariot, the end justifies the means, but in an interpersonal world where we affect and are affected by everyone we come in contact with, that is seldom the case.
Victories gained through force of will are not of the win-win variety. There are winners and there are losers. It is an energy for conquering, not cooperating, as the examples in the first paragraph show. Those on the receiving end of this energy might not feel too good about it. That might not be an issue for the chariot driver, at least not while he’s driving the chariot. It’s when he gets off that he needs to beware of retaliation and revenge from those he has beaten, or maybe just disassociation from others who are just fed up with his controlling attitude.
The ego desires to control as much as possible. While that might work temporarily, in the end it is an illusion. The higher self knows better. The patience and compassion of Strength, the next card in the major arcana, shows a more positive, peaceful and longer-lasting way to win than the Chariot can offer. So when I see the Chariot reversed, I know it’s time to let go cause, folks, it I just ain’t going to win this one anyway.