Cassandra Snow takes readers on a queer tour of tarot reading. Check out the first six parts: Queering the Tarot: The Lovers, Queering the Tarot: The Hierophant, Queering the Tarot: The Emperor, The Empress, and Archaic Gender Roles, Queering the Tarot: The High Priestess, Queering The Tarot: The Magician, Queering the Tarot, and Queering the Tarot: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
Someone with a strong will who can overcome obstacles and triumph through anything frequently receives The Chariot in a reading. This card is a favorite of many clients of mine, because it assures us that though the work is hard and the road fraught, the querant will ultimately triumph. This card is also seen when people are having trouble making a major life decision—to go back to grad school or not, to change careers or not, etc. etc. The Chariot says to just take that leap of faith and go down the path you want no matter what — but warns that once you do, there is no turning back. The good news is that you have started down the road to success in this new venture, but the bad news is that, at least for now, this is the path you’re going down so you need to be ready for that. For that reason, choice is still an option, and, like most cards, the surrounding cards can tell you more about whether the time to start that journey is now. I don’t want to rule out The Chariot’s sometimes literal concept of travel or transportation, but for the purposes of queering the tarot, they aren’t super relevant — but I do bring them up for anyone learning the tarot as a whole for the first time.
Queer readers or querants will see this card show up in many situations. For some, this is a card fairly early in their journey, addressing whether it’s time to come out of the closet, begin transition if they are transgender, or began living polyamorously. It’s easy to see that when this shows up in a reading about these matters, the card is promising them that living as their true selves will ultimately lead them to a far better place in life, but we don’t want to miss that warning that starting down this path can be hard, scary, and certainly there is no turning back. If someone isn’t ready, we shouldn’t urge them based on this card alone. Every day I see the world improving in so many ways for those who are LGBTQQIA*, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Being outed at work, to one’s family, to one’s friends is still a terrifying and unsafe for some people, and as an inclusive reader being sensitive to that is imperative. Tarot readings should be a dialogue, so in speaking with the querant or doing the self-reflection between cards if you’re reading for yourself, feeling out that situation should be possible.
All of that said, if someone IS ready for this huge step, this card promises success and happiness. This is great! So many people wait to come out, start relationships, start transitioning, etc. because they aren’t sure it’s the right decision for them, but with The Chariot, it very likely is. There are other milestones for queer people too, and I don’t want to leave those out: dating for the first time, dating after that first (horrible, it’s always horrible) queer break-up, getting involved in your first activist role, or deciding to make a life in activism also come to mind as reasons this card would show up, and paths a querant might not advice on walking.
Finally, I want to talk about those in the BDSM lifestyle. Early on I talked about The Chariot appearing for someone who has a very strong will, and as the column’s gone on, we’ve talked about how it’s about choosing to follow a path or not and what happens then. As such, this card very frequently shows up for young dominants who are still in the fascination or learning stage, or who didn’t realize this about themselves until a partner awoke something in them. If your other cards lean to alternative views on romance and sexuality, I would bring this possibility up tactfully. For many of us kink is just in the bedroom and doesn’t affect our day to day lives, but for many dominance or submission runs very deep, and it is an important part of their identity and life, and an oversight of that identity could make their reading “blah” at best.
The Chariot is an incredibly important card. Those turning points and the journeys we choose to take make our lives what they are. This is no truer for queer people than it is for anyone else—but like everything else, our journeys may look different (and not just because we leave a trail of glitter behind us when we go). There are frequently safety and practical concerns when choosing whether or not to take them, but if The Chariot shows up things are very well aspected if we choose too—but use the surrounding cards to determine if the timing is better now or a little further down the line.