The Chariot is card number 7, the final card of Line 1 of the Major Arcana, which represents the culmination of lessons learned in the previous cards. This tarot card depicts the chariot as a vehicle of power, conquest, and victory—a vehicle for surpassing current limitations and for learning about ourselves through meeting challenges in our environment.

The Chariot Tarot Card Upright and Reversed Keywords
The Chariot tarot card upright and reversed keywords.

The Chariot’s number 7 is connected to complete systems: the seven acts of creation in Genesis, the seven stages of transformation in alchemy, the seven visible planets, the seven days of the week, and the seven chakras. In numerology, the number 7 is associated with deep thought, introspection, and as a life path number indicates a search for knowledge to discover one’s higher self.

This card is connected to the Cancer zodiac sign, whose symbol is the crab, whose shell can be likened to the chariot: a mobile form of protection that allows its driver to risk venturing out into the material world. Line 1 of the Major Arcana cards, which starts with The Magician and ends with The Chariot, represents the development of individual consciousness and the formation of the ego. Unlike The Hanged Man tarot card, in which the depicted man understands that he is not in control, The Chariot’s charioteer is in control—and knows exactly where he’s headed.

The Chariot Keywords

Upright keywords

Reversed keywords

overcoming obstacles, worldly ambition, victory, courage

stagnation, roadblocks, fear of failure

Description of The Chariot Tarot Card

Wearing a laurel wreath of victory, a suit of armor embellished with zodiacal insignia, and a golden crown, the charioteer standing underneath the starry canopy appears resplendent with the vestments of heaven. In the classic Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, his crescent moon-adorned breastplate references an ancient rudimentary divination device worn on the chests of high priests and oracles of Biblical times, who would spin the inlaid square-carved stones to ascertain the will of God.

As the culmination of the lessons of Line 1 of the Major Arcana, the Chariot contains visual references to the cards that precede him. The moons on his shoulder and the black and white sphinxes at his feet invoke the intuitive and esoteric wisdom he’s gleaned from the High Priestess, while the zodiacal symbols on his belt reference the Empress’ 12-pointed crown and his connection to the larger universe.

He directs his chariot’s steeds not with reigns but with a wand that echoes The Magician’s and affirms the power of his will. He’s pictured leaving the city, which harkens to the kingdom of The Emperor, suggesting that his purpose is to expand beyond the horizons of the known. The imagery on this card illustrates the synthesis and integration of the many dualities that appeared in previous cards.

The Chariot Upright Meaning

In the upright position, The Chariot suggests that you are empowered to manage the direction of your life by the force of your will and the power of your determination. You’re motivated by your desire for forward movement and expansion, and are capable of the hard work and self-discipline that are necessary to overcome obstacles on the path to your success.

This card affirms that you are moving in the right direction and that you can draw upon your tenacity to reach a milestone and work towards your worldly ambitions. You’ve moved through conflict (represented by the preceding card of The Lovers) and have used it as fuel for your personal growth. You are ready to expand beyond your known thresholds of personal power and success.

Like the Charioteer, you are connected to a larger destiny (represented by his celestial vestments) and are afforded protection as you set out on your quest. You can draw on both your intuition (symbolized by the moons on his shoulder) as well as your willpower (symbolized by his wand) in order to reach your destination.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In the upright position of a tarot love reading, The Chariot suggests that you’re pursuing the object of your affection with ardor and candor. You’re confident, assertive, and intentional about what you want and are unafraid to try to attain it. It can also suggest that, like the crab, your tough shell protects your inner feeling of emotional vulnerability.

It can signify progress and forward momentum in a relationship and a feeling of excitement around venturing into unknown territory together. This relationship has the potential to be a vehicle to a new stage of development and maturity.

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

In the upright position, The Chariot indicates that your desire for success and visibility in your field is motivating you to take action toward your goals. You have a sense of where you want to go and can draw on strong support from external forces or other people to help you get there.

This card suggests that you’re achieving rapid momentum toward your goals. You possess the ability to influence others, work through obstacles in your environment, and seek higher ground. You can achieve success when you draw on your ability to blend your intuition and instinct with your consciously directed will.

Love/relationship upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

romantic pursuit, hard shell but soft interior, forward momentum in a relationship

influence, the desire for visibility and success, rapid momentum

The Chariot Reversed Meaning

In a tarot reading, the Chariot reversed suggests that there may be roadblocks or stalled progress toward a goal. If you’ve been encountering setbacks or barriers along your path, it may be helpful to consider if your goals are in alignment with your deeper purpose or if they are solely motivated by your ego desires. You may be returning to the drawing board to chart a different course forward or reconsidering the goalpost altogether.

This card can also indicate that what’s preventing you from achieving the success you desire is your fear of failure or your desire to prioritize comfort over courage. If you’re experiencing fatigue, paralysis, lack of control, or fear of taking action, this card is a reminder to reconnect to your bravery, confidence, self-control, and sense of purpose in order to move forward.

You could be on the precipice of taking the next steps that can catapult you outwards in the world, but you’re afraid to leave your current shell (or known reality) behind. Trust that there are bigger containers for your energy and that when moving in a new or different direction, you are protected in taking the next steps forward.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In the reversed position, The Chariot suggests that you’ve become too rigid or domineering, causing a blockage of energy between you and your partner. If you’re trying to forcefully control the direction of your relationship or love life, this card is a reminder that this tends to have the opposite effect from your intended desire—potentially moving you and your partner in opposite directions.

You could also be pursuing a relationship or love interest based solely on outward appearances or the desires of the ego. This is a reminder that pursuing a relationship based on status can lead to a feeling of emptiness or lack of direction and that you should spend time reconsidering your true needs and desires.

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

In the reversed position of a tarot spread, The Chariot suggests that you’re experiencing stalled momentum, possibly due to fear of leaving your comfort zone. You could be facing a decision of which path to take, and the responsibility or gravity of this decision could be weighing heavily on you. This card is an encouragement to be proactive and courageously commit to pursuing a singular path.

This card wants you to reconnect to your personal power and agency and use the gift of your consciously directed will in service of your larger goals. Reconnecting to your intuition will help to lead you in the right direction.

Love/relationship reversed keywords

Money/career reversed keywords

controlling, domineering, rigid, energy blockage

lack of direction, fear of taking action, roadblocks to success