I understand this as temporary accretions being added to our understanding, like the building of a shell around a vulnerable aspect. I could draw analogies to the crab shell protecting a soft body within, which refers to the star sign of Cancer to give us an easy way of remembering this card. In fact it’s probably the first really tangible ‘human condition’ card we can readily identify. This card is buried in guilt, and trapped within its own mental framework.
We can be assailed by many confusing experiences as we go through life that we ‘let into our emotional world’ — we let these things happen because we are learning and don’t have the ability to filter them out (being a child is a good example, as they are open to strong emotional impressions that can scar them for some time).
As life becomes harder, we will eventually implement an internal shell to control what affects our consciousness; we become armed with knowledge of problems that have previously affected us, and we prepare to repel them away from our heart and head when they repeat. The Charioteer builds his armour and defences well, failing to see that he is fighting the emotional turmoil inside that passes through all the walls he has built. He is kidding nobody with a tough exterior, as everyone knows (if even only unconsciously) that the individual is trapped within his suffering. Trying to defend mentality and emotions on the move does not give time for the brain to correctly assimilate information as well as it should. The mind is circling around its issues, like the rings of Saturn, repeating over and over. It is possible to be stuck forever in a state of introspection, lacking any real dynamics, which should be well understood as Binah is the teacher here.
Binah likes to chew things over, and as consciousness is raised by an understanding of why these problems exist (or why they shouldn’t), Binah spits out an option to watch out for in the future. Binah is a complex process to try to understand from the inside, as the pain and emotions involved eclipse anything in the sufferer’s consciousness. The Chariot indicates that we are yet to develop an internal response to the problem faced. We have failed to face what besets us, or to talk about it openly with another person.
Mentally, this is agonising stress; emotionally, this is heart-rending loss; spiritually, this is despair and anxiety; materially this is a ‘black hole’ that sucks the hope out of life.
There is no light or pleasure here, but there is a huge reward because we inherit our strength to answer in a clear voice to the darkness that can suffocate our lives and blight our existence. We must win clearly and honestly, or the Chariot does not move, because weak foundations and glossed over facts lead to a level of self-deception that does not enable us to function and respond to the same problems within other people; this sends a message out that we are ‘alone in our troubles’. If we can’t identify or release the problems then we could say that we are not being honest with ourselves, or even able to face the issue in front of us. It has to run its course, and we are literally imprisoned in guilt.
There are unconscious insecurities here caused by things such as bullying, child abuse, and social dysfunction. These events in a young person’s life cannot really be answered by the person’s developing mind — this is where repression is needed to save us from self-destruction, as we bury those events internally.
Here the sign of ‘Cancer’ links in with motherhood, as a good mothering nature would be able to see the distress of a young person, and say the words that would free them from the guilt and anxiety that plagues their mind.
The purpose of digging up and removing this old material from our mind is to strengthen ourselves and therefore our society.
I hope that people who have had it harder than myself can find some way to break free from the tyranny of their past, that they rise above the lows in a clear-minded balance, so they can help stop these patterns from repeating in others’ lives. We should all be helping each other up that ladder into a peaceful internal state of mind.
The advice offered to a querent would be this:
Take at least one step each day (if possible), and face your own problems when you can with real world actions (like creative arts, or cleaning up) to symbolically represent the transformation of these older influences in your mind into a balanced outlook. We can be victims of some incredibly cruel actions by others, or crushed by accidents that happen; you’ll need to grieve for yourself as soon as you can and move on for yourself, and most importantly for those that surround you.
When we move, the universe moves with us.
Cheth is the Hebrew letter for this path and the meaning can be understood as a fence. We could used this a mnemonic where the fence is built to stop the intrusion of anything that tries to pry at the Charioteers armor. This is where proper self analysis, meditation, and being honest with ourselves will pay out huge dividends as we release internalised worries.
We are dealing with some deep internal issues here. It will probably be impossible to tease the pain out, but acknowledge that private suffering rots internally. We are being crushed by an internal strangling darkness, and need to have a number of coping mechanisms in place to alleviate the suffering. By getting help an individual escapes this quagmire.
I guess that some drag themselves out eventually, but it’s one of the harder situations to escape within the self. This card is on the left hand side of the tree of life stuck between Binah and Geburah; this is emotional pain (Cancer), set on fire (Geburah/Mars), and enveloped in complete darkness (Binah). How do we even reach someone in this state? We begin by identifying the struggle, or we can even guess the topic and start outlining our own ‘dirt’ to show the sufferer that we’ve been there and can empathise.
This is where our own reflections and understanding will give us the tools we need to liberate people just enough to give them some hope in these dark corners.
The problems highlighted by the Chariot card are gifts of character strength. In the Thoth deck the problems can be seen as the ten little sapphires in the armor, which allude to the spheres of the Tree of Life and the lessons they offer about fixed states of human life. We are probably holding onto these ‘lessons’ for longer than we should, and hiding under them in some way. We could well be wrestling with profound guilt about things that our society deems evil, or dirty.