The Chariot

Once more into the void of the thrill of a guest post week! On Friday, Eve Ettinger will complete the Phoebe Bridgers guest post trio with their beautiful take on The Chariot and getting back up again. I can’t wait for you to get to read it.

Palms rise to the universe/ As we/ Moonshine and molly/ Feel the warmth, we'll never die/ We’re like diamonds in the sky. Before quarantine, my roommates and I would exchange greetings when we saw one another. We would use our words to ask about each other’s days and general well-being. But well-being is a thing of the past, and now when we see one another, we merely say: “beep?” And the other will respond: “boop.” In a home of noises, I’ve forgotten that some of them used to have magical meaning. Not for spells or incantations, but as immediate reactions to cards, something fast and definitive to fill my brain until the entire meaning of the card catches up with me. I’ve lost some of these as quarantine has progressed. Some I think I’ll get back once we’re allowed outside. But one that’s truly gone is pulling The Chariot and, without hesitation, having comic book lettering light up my head with a neon “ZOOM!”

Something I appreciate about The Chariot is that its built-in metaphor is pretty solid. Chariot races are fast, and cool, and dangerous. If you’re not working in constant, perfect tandem with your horses, you will tip over and quite possibly die. Also, lose. The Chariot can serve as a reminder to check in about why you’re going fast. Do you actually have to in order to achieve your goal? Are there limited resources and you feel like you’re in competition? Are you super psyched about something and want it now? None of these are bad things; speed doesn’t only need to be born out of necessity. But if you’re putting yourself in danger, you should at least know why you’re doing it (or have explored enough to know that you don’t know, but it’s important to you to do anyway). 


And then Cathy showed up/ And we hung out/ Trading swigs from a bottle/ All bitter and clean/ Locking eyes/ Holding hands/ Twin high maintenance machines. The Chariot is one of the three dualist cards in the Major Arcana. There’s Temperance (breathing exercises, moderation), but way before that we’ve got The Lovers and The Chariot one right after the other. The Lovers is the card of interdependence between you and anything— a person, a place, a feeling, yourself. The Chariot takes that interdependence and puts it to use. It’s small scale teamwork, a forward motion. It requires perfection, if only muddy perfection. There is absolutely no way for it to work if you’re not communicating. You can have a ton of small goofs, but a single major mishap and you’re down. Even if it was way later in the Fool’s Journey, you would still fall sometimes, but it’s early enough that you’re probably going to fall a lot. You don’t die every time you fall, though. Mostly, you just get kinda fucked up.


Come put your hand on my heartbeat/ There is a marching band in me. Once you’ve been reading for long enough, cards take on personal meanings. Some of these are perpetual. Every time I pull Temperance for myself, I check in with my bipolar shit. It rarely affects how I read the card when I pull it for other people. (Unsurprisingly, many people have this with Temperance and sobriety; I think this card has shit more easily attached to it than almost any other.) But some are more finicky, and more charged. For quite some time, I dated another witch. The Chariot was my card for our relationship. During that time, and for even more time after we broke up, The Chariot was tinged with the ways I felt about them. I would tell people this when I pulled it. I don’t think it would have been wrong not to, but the effect would have been present either way, and I have a kind of how the sausage is made approach to reading. I pulled The Chariot for someone a few weeks ago, and I started to say this, but halfway through I stopped, because all of a sudden it wasn’t true. It’s very exciting, not just because my ex is no longer constantly present in the Major Arcana, but because it means I get to forge a new relationship with The Chariot. I don’t know what comes next. It feels like a blank page, and I have a zillion crayons. 


Diamonds, Rihanna

This Year, The Mountain Goats

Why We Fight, Fast Romantics


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