Cirlot on chariots and reins
Type of Spiritual Experience
Chariots can actually be seen in the occasional spiritual experience, but their use was and still is more allegorical and describes the various parts of the soul that need to be tamed or reined in or controlled in order to get higher in the spiritual realms until eventually you don’t come back!
The reference to the Tarot card in this description needs to be read in association with the cards I have provided for the Tarot.
A description of the experience
A Dictionary of Symbols – J E Cirlot
Reins enter the symbolism of the chariot and of horses. Since the chariot is symbolic of the body and horses signify the forces of life, the reins bespeak the relationship between the soul and the body – the nerves and the willpower. To cut the reins is equivalent symbolically, to dying..............
When the chariot bears a hero, it becomes the emblem of the hero's body consumed in the service of the soul. The appearance, nature and colour of the team of animals drawing it represent the qualities, good or bad, of the motives driving the chariot onwards in fulfilment of its mission. Hence, for example, the horses of Arjuna in the Vedic epic are white, signifying the purity of the driver............
In the Tarot card of the Chariot a youth clad in a cuirass, bearing a sceptre rides in a chariot. He incarnates the higher principles of Man's nature. In the chariot there can be seen an emblem of the Egyptian winged globe, representing the sublimation of matter.....
The chariot has red wheels .these wheels stand out in contrast to the blue canopy or pallium which covers the chariot..... on his shoulders there are two crescent moons ..... The chariot is drawn by what at first seems to be a pair of sphinxes but which is in fact a two-headed amphisbaena, symbolising the hostile forces which one must subjugate in order to go forward.........
The amphisbaena was a fabulous animal, keeper of the 'Great secret', according to a 16th century Italian manuscript which belonged to Count Pierre V. Piobb. It is a symbol which occurs with some frequency in heraldic images, marks and signs. It was known to the Greeks, and it owes its name to the belief that, having a head at both ends, it could move forward or backward with equal ease