When The Chariot VII is reversed, we are faced with an image that is clearly at with odds the upright version. How can this journeyman be expected to guide and control The Chariot with wheels in the air and a canopy dragging along in the ground? The charioteer has ground to a halt; he no longer has the means by which to move forward and achieve his goals.
The inverted image creates a shift in the picture’s weight creating an image that is at once unrealistic and unbalanced. At the top of the card the vast yellow is replaced by the upside-down sphinxes, solid earth, the barrier of city walls and the overturned carriage. The red-tips on the downward pointing turrets and towers are now ill-defined, suggest resentment or rage. The chariot in this position is useless and unsafe. When reversed, the cabin can no longer offer a 360° view of the landscape; the wheels are ungrounded; the weight of carriage bears down upon the lightweight cage and canopy, putting the carriage in danger of toppling over. The charioteer risks being thrown from his carriage, of losing authority and power and being consumed by the sphinxes; or being crushed under the carriage’s bulk and size. Yellow, now ill-defined demonstrates a loss of enthusiasm and joy. The negative qualities of the 3rd Chakra are low self-esteem, cowardice and cunning. The charioteer’s head and body hang down in the lower regions of the picture. And, with his head is so close to the ground both his safety and his sanity are brought into question. In this position, the charioteer’s capacity for visioning, magic and manifestation is greatly reduced.
The sphinxes have risen far above the charioteer signifying that ‘bestial’ qualities prevail (rather than those of ‘rationality’) and that he is trapped between the powerful forces of duality and opposites. Symbolically, an inverted lion (or two) suggests uncontrolled anger, confused thinking and conflicted emotions. As he is ungrounded, he may be given to nonsense. When reversed, the colours of black/white become ill-defined. The colour black, when well-defined, absorbs negative energies and suggests self-control and self-discipline and represents authority and power. However when ill-defined, black can signify depression, mood swings, sadness and negativity. The colour white, as a positive element represents new beginnings, wholeness and completion; and quietens emotional upsets. However, when ill-defined, white can symbolise isolation, lack of imagination, criticism and boredom.
With his armour inverted the many inherent strengths and qualities referred to the upright uniform are undone, altered or diminished. The dense and intricate astrological symbols adorning the charioteer’s battle skirt and belt that represent his truths, beliefs and actions and negatively oriented and may bring into question his self-understanding and motives. The reversed silver of his chest and arm plates imply that the magic, gifts and protection of the Goddesses may no longer be available to him; and he may be influenced by the ill-defined qualities of silver causing indecisiveness, insincerity and self-deception. The Moon-faces as sources of enlightenment and imagination, no longer look skyward for their inspiration. Facing the bottom of the card and submerged in ill-defined yellow we might question the source and nature of his driving force and ideals. The inverted wand also, makes us wonder what unseen forces are now informing his will.
Wedged between the conflict and confusion, suggested by the reversed sphinxes, the symbol of Isis now plummets towards the ground. And the Hindu emblem, now reversed indicates his inability to harmonise his male and female energies; while the colour red, now ill-defined represents anger. The Star shines but illuminates the lower regions at the bottom of the card, suggesting that the journeyman’s vision seriously limited with the path to hopes, dreams and fame unclear.
All the best,
Martha Adams © 2017
Reading tarot for others (and occasionally myself) is exciting, inspiring and very gratifying.