The sign of Cancer rules over the 7th card in the Major arcana so with the new moon in this sign its a perfect time to look at The Chariot to see what will be the guiding energy of this lunation. This card teaches us the lessons of our seemingly contrary natures, the watery quality of our emotions that ebb and flow and the airy quality of our minds whose forms like the wind move us unseen. By learning to balance and discipline our feelings and thoughts, these seeming contrary aspects of our natures we can realise our spiritual vision.
In the rider waite deck a knight sits upon a chariot led by two sphinxes, he is a composite symbol of the energy of the soul driven toward the expression of itself. His amour bears a number of symbols, the square- earthy strength, the star- knowing ones purpose and following higher goals. Lunar crescents, symbols of connection to intuition, psychic and magickal power emblazon his shoulders. On his head he wears a laurel wreath, the sign of victory.
The sphinxes, classical symbols of knowledge of the self, are decorated in alternating colors of black and white signifying balance between opposites, reconciliation of polarities achieved through knowledge of the self. The sphinxes that move the chariot are not driven by reigns, rather the Knight is holding an upright wand by which these magickal creatures are compelled to move him forward.
One way to understand the opposing sphinxes is to think about them as representing the mind and the emotions. The mind with its powers of rationality and analytical thought guides us through life, always thinking, categorizing and labeling as a way to help us navigate through the world. The emotions on the other hand carry us through our lives reacting and responding to our interactions, rising and falling like the tide and connecting us with our instinctive and intuitive faculties. Each side of our nature is not complete without the other. Like the horses in Plato’s dialogues on the nature of the soul the conflict between these aspects of our natures has the potential to cause much difficulty. If we allow ourselves to be guided by our thoughts alone our chariot will veer off course to a realm of abstract principles devoid of passion. If we are led by our emotions alone we are drawn off center and are unable to balance ourselves in the swell of rising and falling emotional reactions. The key to propelling ourselves forward on our spiritual journey is to balance these sides of our nature in unison.
It is the goal of the charioteer to understand these facets of the self so he can use them as tools to help him navigate the world successfully. The Chariot is classically associated with the aggressive side of our nature and like the snapping claws and hard shell of the crab there is a tendency to treat our selves harshly as we begin to discipline the conflicting aspects of our character. But like a good master or mistress of animals we each must learn to guide our thoughts and feelings so that we can achieve our purpose.