It is somewhat of a mystery why the Chariot, clearly a card of force and of control, should be of the Water element. But its attribution to Cancer is indeed valid because this card deals heavily with the emotions. Specifically, the Chariot is a card of emotional control; the power of the mind to shape the desires of the heart and direct them to meaningful expression. This is not the emotional control of the Emperor, who totally supresses all of his emotions in favor of logic and reason. The man driving the Chariot knows that his emotions are not to be swept under the rug, but trained and used to his greater good.
The triumph over both positive and negative emotions is often shown by two horses or sphinxes of different colors pulling the Chariot. Though on their own they would run wild and untamed, going in whichever direction they chose to go, here they move only forward. So they still have some power, but this power has now been directed and focused by the man holding the reins. The chariot cannot move without horses to pull it, just as we cannot function without our emotions to drive us. But without the control of the chariot, the horses would run free, just as our emotions can run wild when unchecked and uncontrolled. Balance is needed.
The Chariot embodies the type of discipline that is necessary to gain control over the emotions, and this is why a military symbol has been chosen for this card. The purpose of the harsh conditions of the military is to develop the will and the ability needed to control emotions and put them to productive use on the battlefield. Only through the mastery of yourself can you ever hope to achieve mastery over others and your environment. The wisdom and the glory gained through conquering one’s enemies is nothing compared to the self-esteem you build through defeating your fear. Inner enemies are often tougher to defeat than outer ones, and thus teach you much more.
Through the application of emotional force we can learn to achieve our goals and desires much more quickly. For someone like the man on the Chariot, who is in total control of his will and his emotions, almost anything is within his grasp. In the Thoth deck, written across the canopy of the Chariot is the word Abracadabra, which may seem foolish at first glance. What is the stage magician’s catchphrase doing here – is there magic involved? No, there is no magic. Abracadabra comes from Hebrew, and it translates roughly to “What I have said will be done” or “As it is said, so it shall be.” Nothing embodies the spirit of the Chariot more than this word.
The appearance of the Chariot often shows a need to take control of your emotions and, instead of wasting energy grieving or complaining, use that energy to take action and to make changes in the world. Fear will cripple you unless, like the Chariot demands, you can acknowledge it and face it. Then you can use your fear constructively, for your own purposes. But this type of control is not limited to the negative emotions. In relationships the Chariot often shows how idle infatuation can be transformed into passion and confidence. Through controlling your emotions, the Chariot says, you will eventually learn to control yourself.
And once you have reached that stage, anything is possible! Once you have transcended your fears you start transcending your restrictions until nothing can hold you back from the success you deserve. The Chariot’s appearance is often the herald of victory through discipline and confidence, a moment where all opposition lies defeated. Great success and achievements will come to you if you master your passions and believe in the power of your will. Do not let anything distract or sway you from your goals, and proceed with the straight flight of an arrow. Nothing is beyond your ability if you believe in your own power. Abracadabra!