Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Chariot

The Chariot: Chariots of Fire

Be ready to stretch your imagination in this discussion of “The Chariot” card of Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness. Here you can fantasize about all the heroes/heroines and superstars in your life as we explore a realm that resembles science fiction. In examining the meaning of Chariot cards in older Tarot decks, we encounter a mythology where stories of heroes and the gods was the stuff of poets. The Grecian gods in ancient myths all had chariots that flew in the sky: a clue to the belief in the powers of the gods. So to bring The Chariot card up to date, I have painted it in the context of a modern myth—UFO’s—those mysterious round disks we have seen going by in the night sky. So far these “unidentified flying objects” have defied explanation.

After much research, I have concluded it’s best to not assume anything about what UFO’s may be. Since the 1940’s, we have wondered if they are spacecraft piloted by weird creatures from some other world. Much has been written about what UFO’s might be. Maybe they are ancient “Vimanas” described in the Indian epic, “Mahabharata” Or are they vehicles that carry souls to an afterlife? Or are they just gas blasts from earth as it moves through space—like motorcycle back-fires. Who really knows?

In older decks, such as the Waite deck, a victorious hero is parading in a chariot drawn black and white sphinxes (controlling negative and positive forces). In bas reliefs from the ancient Near East, we see Egyptian and Assyrian warriors riding in military chariots pulled by horses. The meaning of The Chariot card is usually about the victor riding in a triumphal parade celebrating a mission accomplished—a job well done—cheers, applause! But now our streets and highways are crammed full of engine driven metal “chariots” transporting ordinary people everywhere, so we have to look some place else to find those superheroes in our lives—ahah!—UFO’s!

Carl Jung, in the last years of his life, wrote about UFO’s in “Flying Saucers” (Harcourt & Brace World, 1959). He saw them as symbols of a modern myth concerning humanity’s desire for unity and wholeness. He said, “The present world situation is calculated never before to arise expectation of a redeeming supernatural event.” He goes on to say, “The psychological experience that is associated with the UFO consists of the vision of the ‘rotundum,’ the symbol of wholeness and the archetype that expresses itself in mandala form.” So are the people who see UFO’s having mass hallucinations? Or is this something more than a technological engineering mythology? Jung also wrote that the 12th century Abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, in her “Fourth Vision,” painted 30 fiery red circles flowing into the body of a child in a woman’s womb. Hildegard envisioned the souls of mankind as fireballs! So is that what we are seeing—flying souls—something we only see in a Star Trek episode?

Perhaps they are “Merkabahs" (Merkava) a Hebrew word meaning “chariot;” part of the mysticism of the Kabbalah. This is a secret process of meditation combining breathing, verbalization and visualization techniques. The Merkabah is a spiritual transport to a higher dimension. Aryeh Kaplan in “Meditation and Kabbalah” (Samuel Weiser, 1982) writes that the purpose is to attain: “…the highest mystical experiences.” Astral projection might be a way to describe this experience. This is plenty of food for thought; nevertheless, The Chariot card symbolizes victory in passing the tests and trials of living this life and, in finding ways to manifest the utmost of one’s potential.