Tarot Key 7: The Chariot, The hedge of protection and the House of Influence.

Paul Austen

19 Posts Published




Introduction to Tarot Key 7: The Chariot

The following is the transcript of a discussion which delves into Tarot Key 7, the Chariot, exploring its symbolism of protection and limitation. It links these themes with the Hebrew word OW, representing desire and will. Emphasizing spiritual mastery and resilience, it navigates through personal growth, societal norms, and cosmic influence. It highlights the pursuit of freedom, intellectual evolution, and karmic patterns. Through symbolism, it elucidates cultural power, the significance of the number eight, the Moon’s symbolism, and the transformative House of Influence. Finally, it reveals the emblem of One Will, symbolizing liberation from self-imposed constraints.

Exploring the link between the hedge of protection and the House of Influence in shaping our field of endeavour.

Tarot Key 7, The Chariot.Dear Fratres and Sorores as you can see displayed before you, the focus of today’s talk is Tarot Key 7, the Chariot. In it, I intend to examine two of the meanings that are explicit in the pictorial symbolism, and which have been voiced in the reading on The Meditation of Cheth, namely, the ‘hedge of protection’ and the ‘wall of limitation.’ I further aim to explore how these meanings are intimately connected with the Hebrew word OW, which is spelt using the letters Aleph and Vav, and which according to Paul Foster Case means desire, will, and appetite.

Spiritual mastery, poise and steadfastness in the face of the unknown

On looking at this Key, it is patently obvious that the act and state of protection as well as that of limitation are central to its underlying message of spiritual mastery, and mental and emotional poise and steadfastness in the face of the unknown. Coming to understand what this truly means on both a personal and collective level, however, takes some time – a fair amount of time in fact! On a personal level that understanding starts by learning the critical importance of the states of desire, will and appetite and their impact in shaping the future direction of our lives, as well as the lives of others – including our pets and even our indoor and outdoor plants.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009), “desiring is a state of mind that is commonly associated with a number of different effects [Hence] a person with a desire tends to act in certain ways, feel in certain ways, and think in certain ways.” As we see from being in life, from being incarnate in the world of form and feeling, from engaging in life’s rich dramas and tales, from actively walking along the paths of return, desire is fundamental to every aspect and gradation of humanity. At the most basic level, desire is fundamental to survival. At higher levels, it is at the heart of growth in any field of endeavour, and in any direction. And as a result, the existential opposites of what men determine to be sin and punishment and good are brought into play. Hence depending on their evolutionary level, and consequent mode of being, the desires of some can be in direct opposition to all that is considered ‘good’. They can be childish. They can be foolhardy. They can be formed in the house of ignorance. They can be seeded with malicious intent. They can be illegal. They can be criminal. Consequently, it can seem as if such desires, and the minds and hearts that generated, nurtured, and grew them, operated in accordance with the rules of another sphere of being entirely – one dominated by impulse. And yet, where would we be without desire and knowing what is at the heart of desire?

When considering what that might be, one state that comes to mind is freedom. Freedom is defined as 1) the power or right to act, speak, or think freely (as one wants), and 2) the state of being free (of not being imprisoned or enslaved) (OED, 2002). Is this not something that we have all aspired to at some time or another? Thinking back to our child selves, did we not rebel against limitation? Did we not harbour the desire to escape the confines of our home and family? Did we not desire to escape the limitations imposed on us by our father and mother, our older brothers and sisters, our aunts and uncles, our teachers, our neighbours, and friends?

And, in so doing did we not resort to some form of sin – thereby entering another field of punishment?

“All endeavour involves appetite and a willingness to see things through, no matter how tough the task or challenging the circumstances.

Symbol of the black sphinx and sceptre

As symbolised by the black sphinx and sceptre on the left-hand side of this Key, as we view it, the desire to escape the confines of life’s demands and seemingly adverse karma is vital and in some is, perhaps, indicative of an appetite for change, for growth. Further, the escape from one set of limitations into another that appears at the outset to offer freedom, but instead offers bondage, is a way of testing our intelligence and the knowledge that informs and evolves that intelligence. Consequently, our appetite for knowledge can, on the surface, lead us into fields of endeavour where we indeed gain knowledge, but not in a sensible way. Nevertheless, how do we grow, how do we develop mastery, except by putting things in our mouths that go no way to feeding our minds and bodies. For most of humanity, and even for us, this is indeed the growth pattern we see ample evidence of at this stage of mankind’s evolution.

The influence of the Sun, Moon, and stars.

As we grow, however, we find that these experiences lead us to develop an appetite for enlightenment that is consciously aligned to the influence of the Sun, Moon, and stars. The Sun provides us with the will to look beyond our present state of beingness, our current wall of limitation. It motivates us to aspire to a new cycle of growth, to work assiduously to release the energy contained in the mental and emotional patterns that we have previously nurtured and grown in our last cycle of activity. The Moon absorbs that influence, and during periods of deep sleep reflects back into our bodies the energy we require for another cycle of activity. The stars, beings of light scattered throughout the immensity of space, signify that whatever we do, we are under the guidance of the Most High. Whether we decide to attune ourselves to this guidance, however, depends on our desire, our appetite, and our endeavour to get to where we want to go.

All endeavour involves appetite and a willingness to see things through, no matter how tough the task or challenging the circumstances. And, contrary to popular opinion, those circumstances may indeed be some of the most mundane – such as getting out of bed, taking a shower, washing one’s hair and clothes, putting out the rubbish, and paying a bill on time and so on. But, because they are so and because they are so deeply ingrained, they paradoxically seem to require the most effort, the most will power to drive for change. But, when we do so, we find ourselves receptive to an increased level of energy that enables us to take on increased responsibilities and tasks thereby increasing our field of endeavour in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible or that were even open to us. And, as we start to appreciate the significance of this, we start to comprehend not in a theoretical way, but in a lived way, an experiential way, the law of dissolution and its operation in our lives, namely, that dissolution “makes available the various energies locked up in form” (TF 24:3).

Karmic patterns

The intellectual capacity to grasp this law and its ramifications as regards our lives and their karmic patterns is subtly signified by the sceptre the Charioteer holds in his right hand. Again, when viewed from the perspective of one facing the Key, the sceptre is on the left-hand side, the side assigned to the North. As a tool of authority, the sceptre symbolises the cultural power inherent in each and every one of us and which we can apply to every aspect in our field of endeavour, the wall of limitation that we, as children of the Most High, have deliberately chosen to engage in or explore, or which has been chosen for us.

Symbolism of the No.8

This cultural power is implicit in two pieces of symbolism, namely, the vertical figure eight, and the horizontal crescent moon surmounting the sceptre. The number eight is critical to the teachings of the Qabalah, as well as the operation and outcome of the Great Work, for it signifies the Christ Consciousness and is therefore a dominical number. Moreover, as a figure the number eight is formed from two serpent-like intertwined lines the one balancing the other and joined at the top and bottom. Thus, this figure is symbolic of the union between male and female, positive and negative, above, and below. As regards our physical vehicle, it is symbolic of the two parts of our central nervous system, as well as the two parts of our circulatory system. Moreover, as Paul Foster Case states the number eight signifies “the response of subconsciousness to everything symbolised by 7”. In other words, the response of subconsciousness to “mastery, poise, rest, conquest, safety, security, art, Victory” (TF 2:2). Hence the horizontal placement of crescent Moon at the junction of this figure.

Symbolism of the Moon

The Moon, we know from witnessing its states in the night sky, signifies periodicity. However, as represented in this Key it also signifies Wisdom and Science. Wisdom is nothing without experiential verification – it leads to blind faith. Similarly, without exploration and investigation into new fields of inquiry, new fields of endeavour, Science can become outmoded, sterile, and even dangerous. Hence, as illustrated in this Key, both the known and the unknown are shown to be equally important in testing the worthiness of any theory, of any act, of any direction we might take to attain any goal.

The House of Influence and Transparent Intelligence

Finally, I proposed earlier to discuss the importance of the House of Influence in shaping our field of endeavour, which is synonymous with the state of limitation as well as the act of protection. When considering the significance of the word house, our minds automatically turn to Beth, the Transparent Intelligence. The Key that is associated with Mercury and with the twelth path that flows from the Crown, Kether, to the Divine Mother, Binah. Binah is further the Sephirah of the mystery of formation, the Sephirah that through union with Chokmah brings into manifestation the house of life, and all the myriad forms that entails, including those in the state of darkness as well as the state of the Christ consciousness. Hence the minute we aspire to grow beyond our present circumstance, to break down our walls of limitation, be they mental, emotional, or physical, we open ourselves to the Influence of the Transparent Intelligence that not only gives life to all things, but which brings death to all states. Thus do our cycles of life reflect in periodic fashion the way in which we have used our desire, will and appetite to shift our hedge of protection from that which is personally limiting to that which is all encompassing.

The Sceptre | One Will

The sceptre the Charioteer holds symbolises this state of freedom. It signifies the influence of Mercury to which we turn when making plans to improve the status of our house, as well as the influence of the Moon, which assists puts those plans in place. The Moon, moreover, rules in the sign of Cancer – the sign to which The Chariot is assigned. Thus, the sceptre is a symbol of the One Will, the universal power that none may contain, although some lacking in Wisdom and Science think they can. It is always at our disposal. We just need to pick it up and sensibly wield it anytime we wish to overcome the limitations resulting from our immature desires and appetites.