Mary El Tarot - The Chariot

Bat Chicken

So far I find this one really intriguing and a little left field. Not because it isn't rich in symbolism, but, because it seems to depart the most from tradition for me, so far.

It seems so much more primal than other Chariot cards and, of course, it lacks a chariot. The only features that echo traditional images is the cloak which echoes the Egyptian pharaoh's crown (the stripes), and the black and white in the wolves.

The first thing that comes to my mind is a wild dogsled (which is not present in the image) with a crew of wolves (one black one that echoes the black and white horses of Marseilles and others - the opposing forces).

This crew would be difficult to control, and yet wolves are naturally pack hunters and I get a sense the charioteer is family. The Charioteer wears her own wolf mane - she is the Alpha, the Will that reigns in her wilder nature/family. The pink lotus over her heart seems out of place and for some reason, I am thinking 'karma'.

The more time I spend with this card, the more I love it. I might spend some more time looking into wolves.



Really like the wolves. And I thought the cloak was a chariot thing. The roundness makes sense because the Chariot in many decks is stationary. The wolves are not going anywhere either.


I like this card very much! The pink lotus flower over the heart (chakra) made me think about being lead/guided by your heart (follow your heart). Using your heart's desires as the guide for what direction to go in your life
The woman with her wolf mane made me think of her as alpha of the pack (do wolves have a matriarchal heirarchy?)
I like to think of the Chariot as having control over yourself/ your life and the direction you move in, exerting your will to move in the direction you want. This woman is in control of the pack, her animal side/nature. She has harnessed (sp?) this part of herself, and can use it to power herself forward.

I'm interested in why one of the 4 wolves is black, it's not very balanced...triumph of the light over the dark??

I still have lots to think about with this card!



This card brings to mind this old Cherokee parable:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."


When I read about this card in the book, I was a bit overwhelmed. I have only been studying tarot for about a year actively, and have yet to learn and understand numerology, which is a big part of the explanation to this card. The book is, in my opinion, very good for understanding Marie's thoughts about this specific card.

She mentions how the Chariot is, according to Plato, a metaphor for the soul, divided in three parts. The black horse, or in this case wolf, is ill-bred, ill-tempered and hard to control, i.e. the darker parts of our souls. The white horse, or wolf, is beautiful, well-bred and civilized, i.e. the lighter parts of our souls. And the Charioteer, which Plato called Reason, who makes the horses work together and will, if skilled, make you travel far enough to get a glimpse of the gods.
She also says that this card was inspired by the myth about Odin and his wolves Geri and Freki and ravens Huginn (means thought) and Muninn (means memory), but she doesn't explain that further. To be honest, I'm not sure I can see that, except for the obvious wolves. This would make way more sense to me if there were two wolves and two ravens. With four wolves we don't keep the previously mentioned balance between light and dark either, as we now have one dark wolf and three bright ones. Marie explains them as the four wheels or the four directions. But I don't know, it does seem a bit unbalanced.

Just like the Chariot in its whole, the Charioteer is divided in three - dark from waist down, bright and sun-like hair, and the flesh, the middle part, that binds the darkness and the light together. Perhaps.

The wolves and ravens appear again in the 7s of the minors of this deck. 7 of Cups pictures the black wolf, and 7 of Wands pictures a white one. Huginn (I guess, she doesn't mention his name there) is pictured on 7 of Swords and Muninn appears on 7 of Disks.

I usually have a hard time relating to The Chariot as a card. I always get stuck on the arrogance of the card and can't move beyond that to see something else. I like this card way better than the other Chariots I've seen. It seems a bit more humble and balanced rather than just the usual straight-forwardness and victory stuff. Yeah, I like balance, can you tell? ;)

This might be old news to all of you, though. Please do keep in mind that I am still a beginner. ^^