Atu VII: The Chariot
Letter: ח Cheth (Ch)
Proximity: Sephira #3 (Binah) to Sephira #6 (Tiphareth)
Pent #18 “Influence” – Earth of 巽 (Sun) The Penetrating, Wind (Above/Below)
Water of 乾(Ch’ien) The Creative, Heaven (Without/Within)
Berashith: “Elohim saw that it was good”
(Upper right) Fire: Hex #50: 鼎 (Ting) The Caldron
(Lower left) Air: Hex #49: 革 (Ko) Revolution / Molting
(Upper left) Water: Hex #4: 蒙 (Mêng) Youthful Folly
(Lower right) Earth: Hex #3: 屯 (Chun) Difficulty at the Beginning
Keywords (Dignified): Mobility, Velocity, Energy, Purpose, Dedication, Determination, Will, Ascension, Self-Sovereignty, Balance, High-Technology, Conductivity, Defense, Advancement, Destiny. Entheogens
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Stagnant, Disruptive, Reckless, Retreating, Withdrawing, Self-Destructive.
Historical: The Chariot card is one of several paths that have been positioned incorrectly according to the Proximity Principle of Mutational Alchemy. In both the Golden Dawn and Thoth systems it is usually placed between Sephira #3 (Binah) and Sephira #5 (Geburah) and assigned the Hebrew letter/number Cheth (8). Cheth is the 8th letter in the Hebrew alphabet and should logically correspond to the 8th Proximity Principal path between Sephira #3 (Binah) and Sephira #6 (Tiphareth). Since paths are often numbered 11–32, its positional placement is path #18, the same as its corresponding Pentagram.
Golden Dawn: Called The Chariot (Lord of the Trumph of Light), the Chariot card corresponds to the zodiacal Cancer and places between Sephira #3 (Binah) and Sephira #5 (Geburah) in the Golden Dawn system. Its symbolism is a fusion of Hermetic and Arthurian legend with smatterings of Kabbalah tossed in. Facing the viewer stands a golden chariot (pulled by two sphinxes) with 4 pillars and canopy carrying the charioteer in full armor. The charioteer carries a great shield said to represent the Holy Grail. He is accompanied by 10 stars called the stars of Assiah (the material world) and is purported to be the crowned and conquering Hermes. The emphasis is not so much on movement as it is meant to be a standard bearer of the Great Work giving us a physical glimpse of this attainment.
Thoth: Crowley changes very little with respect to the Chariot card. The two sphinxes become four, representative of the Four Cherubim, Fire (Lion), Eagle (Air), Bull (Earth) and Man (Water). Scrolled across the top of his canopy is inscribed the Word Abracadabra, curious inasmuch as Crowley made much of the New Aeon spelling (Abrahadabra) as the heir-apparent *Word of the Aeon* extending across the Aeon of Horus. In any case we still have an intended standard-bearer more defining of strength and balance than of energy and motion.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The Chariot is arguably the most important of the 22 Atu with respect to the alchemy of Perfection, set aside (as it is) specifically to clarify and exemplify that standard.
Its reciprocal inverse is the Sun card at Atu XIX, revealing its special solar power and interesting connection to the archetype of Apollo, Ra, Hrw/Horus, Aruna, Sol, Helios and other father-sun deities who are paired with a magickal sky transport of some kind.
Mutational Alchemy cannot reconcile obtuse Arthurian legend with the Royal Science of Alchemy as it stands today and evolves long into the future. It is well past time to turn this crusty old page and press on. Accordingly, the outmoded model of the Chariot card has been scuttled in lieu of a superior one.
Since the underlying essence of the Charioteer is Hermes, the twin-headed Hermes Phoenix is especially well suited as his replacement and instead of a golden chariot we have introduced a stylized form of the Tetractys itself embedded in the historical Metatron’s Cube. The resulting construct is reminiscent of the Merkabah (Chariot of Soul) in qabbalistic doctrine.
In place of the useless Holy Grail of bygone eras we have exalted the Heaven Descending arrangement of the binary hexagrams flanked by an infinite binary loop of black and white gems at outer edges, upholding the ternary Tridosha at center.
All accounted we have an extremely potent standard of New Aeon alchemy defined here that will hold its ground and continue to instruct and inspire for centuries to come.
It is complete nonsense to imagine that the Chariot does not exemplify both inexhaustible Energy as well as Balance in one as anyone with eyes can surely see!
Much of the problem with previous models has been its inappropriate positioning, linking an obsolete vestige of War (that has not even been used in war since Alexander the Great!) to Mars instead of connecting the Supernals to Tiphareth via Binah (the Mother) as indicated in the Proximity Principle. The corrected positioning figures prominently in its newly energized character, upholding the alchemical principle of levity as it always should have.
It is difficult to assess the amount of damage wrought by these erroneous adjustments where the Chariot seems to have had no useful purpose other than being a kind of dime store mannequin! It is important that we ultimately reject that entire premise as we have important work ahead and need its strengths where they can do us the most possible good.
The Chariot we have unveiled in this deck is a proactive force of Completion lending its full force towards the immutable ascension of Tiphareth.
The Scene: The double-headed fire phoenix (aka the Hermes Phoenix) is an established standard of royalty throughout history – it is depicted on the shield of the Emperor and Empress in Thoth and appears on crests and flags all over the world. This mythical creature represents unquenchable magickal force and fire, speed and equilibrium, intelligence and insight in one. Its alliance provides us with a steady true progress along the road to liberation, enlightenment and wisdom. The mysteries embedded in its shield are worthy of the Age of Hrw (Horus) where the Royal Art of Alchemy will rise from its own ashes and reassume its proper place as the vindicated Lamp of Eternal Truth.
This double-headed fire phoenix represents the synthesis of female and male royal intelligences. The Chariot is a vehicle of ascension created by the willpower of two individuals bent on their wills. These are sexually joined forces, like Siva and Sakti, but the sex is of not merely a physical nature, but intellectual, spiritual and social.