Mythic Tarot - The Chariot


Ares, the God of War, is seen in bronze helmet and bronze armor over a blood-red tunic as he drives his war chariot. He wears a shield at his hip, and at his side is a large spear. He holds the reins of two horses, one black and one white, as they pull in opposite directions before him. The landscape is reddish and desert-like as a storm approaches.

War Symbolism (Chariot, Armor, Shield, Spear, etc)
  • chariot is a symbol of war or battle
  • chariot is the image of the mastery and mobility of gods and heroes
  • armor identifies a warrior
  • spear is a symbol of war and struggle, aggression or hostility
  • spear represents that which may cut, pierce or injure
  • spear represents phallic power and potency in both men and women
  • an environment of hostility, aggression and oppression
  • an internal struggle
  • retaliation for previous thoughts, words or actions
  • the need to consciously deal with problems that are struggling at the unconscious level
  • the need to fight for what’s right
  • the process of disintegration and reintegration
  • abolishing disorder and creating order out of chaos
  • the spiritual battle between good and evil within man’s own nature
Black and White Horses
  • Deimos (fear) and Phobos (terror) accompanied Ares on the battlefield
  • the potential for both good and evil contained in the aggressive instinct
  • white horse represents pure intellect while the black horse represents chaos
  • black symbolizes lack of consciousness, descent into darkness, evil, corruption, ignorance while white represents innocence, purity, truth, perfection, redemption, illumination
  • conflicting animal urges within man that are full of vitality yet unwilling to work together
  • Metaphors/Proverbs:
    • “to know black from white” is to understand the difference between right and wrong
    • “to see everything as black and white” is to have limited vision, to see things only as true/false or right/wrong
    • “a horse of a different color” means additional information that causes a situation to be reconsidered or different
    • “don’t put the cart before the horse” means it’s important to do things in the right or natural order, and is also used to correct people who confuse cause and effect
    • “zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse” means that uninformed enthusiasm will only lead to disaster
Desert Landscape
  • the lack of feeling and relatedness in which the aggressive impulses thrive
  • that which is not fertile, is bleak or is abandoned
  • that which lacks insight or spirit; hopelessness and pessimism
  • god of war, he reveled in fighting and was in love with the heat and glory of battle so that he could unleash all his strength to challenge his foe
  • because he was associated with bloodshed and conflict, he was disliked by Zeus and Athena because of his brute-strength and lack of refinement
  • Aphrodite fell in love with him though, and together they had a daughter Harmonia, whose quality was the harmonious blending of love and strife
  • the image of aggressive instincts guided and directed by the will of consciousness
  • as fatherless god (he was born from Hera without male seed), he’s the image of the natural aggressive and competitive instincts of the body because he lacks the archetypal spiritual father who might provide him with vision and meaning
  • this iron will and great courage are a necessary complement though to spiritual vision, which isn’t enough to survive in a competitive and difficult world
  • the second of life’s greatest lessons – the creative harnessing of the violent, turbulent urges of the instinctual nature
  • arriving at maturity – learning how to take the consequences of one’s actions as an adult and facing the anger and conflict one has invoked both internally and externally
  • the need to deal with the warring opposites and war-like urges within
  • lesson of how learning to contain and direct the aggressive drive fosters the development of the whole personality

Written in my workbook on 5 Aug 91:
The horses of clarity of mind and thought and of lust and passion pull the chariot of happiness across plains of sadness under a sky of rage and fury. The horses are reined with clarity of vision and fear, respectively. Each horse wears a crest of indecision. Emotional growth that arises out of conflict is armored in strength and self-assurance and crowned with determination. Ares' weapons are the spear of fear and the shield of love. Clarity of vision is the crest and border of the chariot of happiness.

My key colors were light blue (clearness of mind, thought or purpose; truth) and scarlet (hate, anger, lust, passion).