The Chariot is such a mystifying card to me, and I always feel drawn to it when I am feeling successful, but *just* so. For me, The Chariot has always been so much more dynamic than AE Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith depicted in the Rider Waite deck. In the earliest cards, as shown from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot collection, there are winged horses pulling the chariot, with no physical means of handling them – like reigns. The charioteer is a regal woman with a crown, sitting on what appears to be a throne. I think of The Chariot (7) as the numerological child of The Empress (3) and The Emperor (4). She holds a sphere in her left hand, representing the feminine aspects of spirituality, while the rod in her right hand represents the masculine force of manifestation.
In later depictions of The Chariot, the horses take on more dynamic positions, with some straining against each other. This symbolizes our seemingly dualistic nature - the internal struggle to achieve our highest good and our external struggle to remain firmly planted in the physical world. Of course, we know that there is no struggle, only the perception.
Our charioteer is powerful, and yet not completely in control. I love this representation of the human condition! The balance can be precarious, and the more we are in control of ourselves, the more likely we are to succeed. The trick is to remain flexible through the ups and downs we experience.
There is no doubt that The Chariot is showing forward momentum, so whenever this card shows up for you in a reading, you can be sure that things are moving! We should keep a soft focus on our goal, surrendering to the immediate swings in our lives and keeping our eye on the ultimate prize.