MAAT Study Group The Chariot


The Chariot- Full Moon cycle of Leo(Jan.20-Feb.18)

The painting for the Chariot in MAAT Tarot depicts the Sphinx, with the likeness of King Khafre, facing the east. The sphinx by itself faces the rising sun during the Equinoxes of the year. The great sphinx was known in later times as "Horemakhet"meaning Horus on the Horizon. This name alludes to Egypt's ancient sun god Horus which is closely associated with the kings of Egypt.
"It is clearly, in some way, a solar monument. All the year round it looks directly at the sunrise. A priest, or anybody else, who stood on the plateau above and behind it, could look straight along its body and see the sun come up over its head at the spring and autumn equinoxes...”
(Riddle of the Sphinx by Paul Jordon ISBN: 1-84015-017-3 copyright 1998)

The only way for the ancients to know the solar astrology was to mark the nighttime planetary and stellar configurations between certain dates. The star constellation Leo, similarly posed to the sphinx, represents the lunar monument in the heavens. The phrase, "As above, so below" is meaningful in this context. During the day the sphinx monument to the sun acknowledges the sun's path. Between 21 January and 19 February, the full Moon is at its zenith as she crosses the constellation Leo, marking the lunar path in the heavens. The Sphinx, then, mirrors the constellation Leo. At this time of the year the two distinct orbital paths of the sun and moon are most apparent. During this time, the Moon is at its highest point and the winter Sun lies low on the horizon, clearly defining their separateness. At most times of the year it appears that the sun and moon move along a single orbital path.

The symbolism of the lion is also significant because most felines sleep up to 20 hours per day. Lions are known for their power, fierceness, and their killing efficiency and are associated with the sun. In Ancient Egypt one of the sources of the lion symbol is found in Sekemet, goddess of the burning rays of the sun. During the time of the full moon in Leo, the Lion symbol, true to the patterns of the feline,lies down peacefully, possibly asleep. This can be construed as a sign that the burning rays of the sun are in repose. In Northern Europe the fiercest months of winter are during the full moon in Leo. In this case, it is the Earth Mother who lies dormant, fast asleep. Several ancient European Goddess symbols are often flanked by two lions. The ancient Celts were well known for their command of the chariot and may be an indication of the extensive trade between Europe and Egypt. The chariot may also symbolize a means of getting ideas from one place to another.

The Chariot, from traditional Tarot images rides on two wheels and is driven by horses, lions, and sometimes sphinxes. These beasts are often shown with one being black, and one being white. In Maat Tarot one wheel of the chariot represents the Lunar cycle and the other the Solar wheel of the year. The traditional Chariot is driven by a warrior (child of the God and Goddess), who is adorned with the symbols of sun and moon. In Greek mythology, for instance, chariots were known as two-wheeled vehicles, thought to drive the sun and moon across the sky. In Maat Tarot the Earth is the chariot and the orbits of sun and moon become the two wheels. The observer, then, becomes the chariot rider.

Western culture is certainly driven by two wheels symbolized in the way we define ourselves psychologically. For example, we may call ourselves “Right-brained” or “Left-brained”, Feminine or Masculine. Solar/masculine symbolizes being conscious, precise, linear, sequential- logical, and rational. The Lunar/feminine being cyclical, intuitive, nonlinear, subconscious, and emotional. This polarization shows up in all areas of our world including our politics. The lesson is clearly that one side should never take control over the other as this creates imbalance. The key to a successful ride would be keeping these two powers in balance.
Other names: Apollo; Helios; Hyperion; Lugh; Ra (sun); Artemis; Nimue (newmoon); Diana; Mari; Isis (full); Hecate; Anna (waning); Semele; Selene; Phoebe; Hathor; Ceridwen (moon); Sphinx; Lion of the double lions (another name for Osiris-the sun at midnight); Charioteers-Greek; Selene and Artemis; Egyptian Isis; Phrygian Cybele; Semitic Ashtart (lunar); Greek Apollo and Helios (solar); other charioteers-Norse Freya, Thor; Celtic Morgan; Mywnawr

Symbols: Chariot; two wheels; chariot drivers; lions; Orbits of the sun and the moon; the ewe lying down with the lion; Goddess of the Mountain with two lions (Gate of Mycenae, Knossos, Crete); Solar and Lunar lions, Night and Day

Attributes: Synthesizing opposites; balancing female and male qualities; balancing left brain and right brain thinking

Full Moon in Leo key phrase: "I will"

In a Reading: In a reading this card symbolizes opposing viewpoints. Whether the opposite points of view are male and female, right-brained/left-brained, liberal vs. conservative, young vs. old. This card suggests some kind of interaction between the opposites. One would surely like to take power from the other or get the other to see it their way. However the opposites keep things moving forward. Each forcing the other to sharpen their skills, grow, adapt and change.


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I think that the Egyptian Sphinx was the guardian of the Great Pyramids. Seeing this Sphinx also makes me think of the Sphinx's riddle in the Oedipus story.

crazy raven

The Sphinx is one of the greatest wonders of the world. As I looked at this card and read what Julie wrote.....this is what came to mind.....

Where did you come from? What makes you tick? Why do you do the things you do? Where do you fit in the world outside of yourself? What is the relationship between you and everyone else? How do you keep yourself together when everything around you is falling apart?

We are all packaged differently but we all ‘put out’ from where we’re coming from and we’re all coming from our mothers, our homes and our sleep, our unconscious. We don’t necessarily understand it but we are conscious of a radio transmission being broadcasted from Me to You and You to Me. This is where your insides rise out to effect other people.

So we put out into the world from outside of ourselves what we think we need to do or what we think we have to do or what effects we want to make. And this will also depend on where you're anchored socially from and what you are personnally attracting to yourself by spinning out of your most deepest point (the roots of where you’re coming from, familiar patterns that repeat from that mysterious power point from within and your voice of inner conscience) and projecting out.

Our mother’s (Moon) were the first encounter we had with being nurtured and loved. What happened between us and our moms have already shaped and influenced all our relationships to come. Unconsciously she knew what role to play in this lifetime to set the stage for our basic habits, and patterns of eating, sleeping, smoking and hygiene. And included in this all inclusive package are our fears, inspirations, ambitions, motivations and purpose in life. After all she was the first love of your life. Unknowingly she hovers near, magnetically attracting, controlling and following us throughout our lives, psychologically testing us to our very core. Beautiful yet frightfully alluring, giving yet on condition, happy and smiling one moment, angry, sad, depressed or frowning the next. As children, our fragile existence was dependent on Mother’s care and we quickly lost our happy childhood innocence to watching, anticipating and responding to HER needs and wants, suppressing and harboring our own pleasures and sorrows somewhere deep inside.

Within our tribal circle an imprint of their values and beliefs became etched into our nervous system. Every experience every reaction became etched into our bodily armor and into our personality which could come back to haunt us later on in life.

We then faced an uphill battle of pushing ourselves through all kinds of experiences to break the molds of the past, to conquer our fears and redeem and evolve our spirits. But to do this we each have to fight for our lives by separating from our families and the influence of the woman who had given us life. Individually we each have to figure this out for ourselves.


Now this is a really cool card! :c) I love that the orbits of the sun and moon are the wheels of the Chariot, making the observer the driver. And the association of the sphinx facing east, to the rising sun, and the relation to the constellation of Leo, which is ruled by the sun. It is up to the driver to keep the Chariot on the road, by balancing these two complementary yet diametrically opposed forces (solar/lunar). This is our life's journey!

There's no getting away from the basic premise of duality, in life or in the tarot. It is what makes us human.



Maat tarot IDS

Card/Number: The Chariot/26

Card Image: see attached (also attached Strength for comparison, see story)

First Impression: At first glance, this version of the chariot is confusing. There is no "chariot", no rider, but more importantly- there is no motion, it is as if the image has been caught in time and remains there in a static state.

Card Description: The Sphinx sits quietly in the desert, and arc of suns crossing over from head to tail. Above the suns arc the moon, illustrated in all phases. In the blue sky, darkness falls and you can see the constellation of Leo in the distance.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: Neutral

Colors: brown, blue, yellow and white

Senses: there is a keen sense of stillness here, no wind or sounds to be heard. You can only feel the dryness and sand against your skin, filling your eyes and mouth.

Symbols: Sphinx, sun, moon, Leo

Story (intuitive): So I begin by trying to rationalize the image in my mind. I see now the imagery, the idea of it- the moon and sun as the two horses, the opposites pulled together and kept in balance. Sigh- but the overall truth of it, the cosmic meaning, somehow continues to allude me. I pull out the Strength card- as something inside me whispers that this will show me the way. I compare the two: Strength- the life, vitality and movement are so clear, with no real need for a forced balance, the opposing forces dancing together as one. The Chariot- lifeless, still, connected but by a great deal of force to keep it pulled together, somehow missing the true meaning of perfect balance, though superficially appearing to have obtained it. They are connected, at a fundamental level- there is more to the Chariot. But HOW? "Ease your mind daughter," my mother answers, "and think with your heart. What does the Chariot mean to you?". "Death." I answer, and the poem echoes softly in my mind:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

And there, there lies the stillness, there the opposites coming together. The Sphinx, the riddle of life and death, the sun and moon, our world and the heavens as we sit on the Chariot, riding toward the unknown. Living while dying, dying while living. Trying to reach the heavens while our feet remain planted in the earth. "I want to be like Strength." I whisper. "Then ride the Chariot daughter, and care not where it goes or how fast it gets there. Free the reigns and you will free yourself." So I let them drop, and smile as the wind sings around me as I go.

***The Chariot by Emily Dickenson

Astrologic: The full moon cycle of Leo. Planetary Ruler: Uranus.

Element: Air

Keywords: synthesized opposites, balance between opposing qualities

Meanings: interaction between opposites, or opposing view points

Quote: "I will"


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Interesting that you would see no movement here. I see movement solar and lunar movement across the sky. Two wheel moving at their own pace. The moon sometimes looking like it's slipping back as it moves ahead.

Soaring Eagle

I think the chariot is a very interesting card in your deck. I see the movement as the sun and moon move across the sky and the star "dust". My immediate reaction was a LOT of movement. Things changing rapidly.

This just goes to show that we each see the same card slightly differently, and that is a good thing. :)


I guess a better term, rather than movement, would be life. In the Strength card, there is a liveliness, a passion, beings filled with life moving swiftly and free. For me, this card did not have that "life" to it- the Sphinx, the sun and the moon- while part of an overall moving scene, seemed caught in a moment of stillness, since their movements are slow, and not as vibrant. It is really the lack of life and liveliness that seemed to echo to me, and the thought of stillness came from that. That is the closest that I can come to making sense of it. The two hold some basic thoughts of opposites coming together- but with Strength it is more a dance of blended cohesion, no force, no thought needed. With the Chariot- there is definitely the sense that this is a willed cohesion, a delicate balance that does not seem to flow as naturally as the other. More "man-made" than divine. Again- probably not something I would have first noted without comparing it to the Strength card, but definitely what came to me after I did.


I guess I can see that stillness in the sphinx. It does seem to be the place holder.
Again I am fascinated to hear what others interpret. No right or wrong answers here that is what keeps a deck alive...Diversity!


I guess I can see that stillness in the sphinx. It does seem to be the place holder.
Again I am fascinated to hear what others interpret. No right or wrong answers here that is what keeps a deck alive...Diversity!


And for me, what this deck has done (that no other has) is given me an appreciation for the relationship between these two cards, how they are the same, and different. It was always a struggle before- knowing that they conceptualized the same type of thought, yet knowing that there was a difference between how the ideal was accomplished. For me- this deck was the first one that I have seen to help me make that distinction. And this Chariot card for me was the first that truly illustrated the ideal both of opposites, and the supreme set of opposites- death and life!