The Druidcraft follows the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, with a warrior-like woman at the reigns of, not surprisingly, a chariot. It’s being pulled by two horses - one black, one white. She holds the reins in one hand, a spear or staff in the other. Her cloak billows out behind her, giving us a sense of forward momentum. The horses look as though they’re chomping at the bit, wanting to forge ahead.I’ve come across a number of meanings for this card – struggle and tension, the need to bring things under control, making decisions after carefully weighing up all the options.... but the over-riding theme seems to be about managing contradiction or conflict - finding a middle path, perhaps? The little book that comes with the Druidcraft talks about engaging successfully with life, and about the wisdom and maturity that we gain by doing so – knowing when to surrender, and when to take control. I like the fact that we can’t see either end of the spear or staff that she wields; all we can see is the part that she holds – the ‘now’, the present. Not knowing what’s at each end represents the things we can’t see, that we can’t control, perhaps?
So where’s the association with the sign of Cancer? I like the way that Gerd Ziegler describes it, in his wonderful ‘Tarot: Mirror of the Soul’. The armour is “a symbol of Cancer’s protective shell.... In times of breakthrough or new beginnings you need the protection and support of a loving atmosphere which provides a sense of safety and security.” OK, he’s talking about the Thoth deck in his book, but this still works for me. The Druidcraft’s image doesn’t show a lot of armour , although she could be wearing some sort of chain mail over her tunic.
There’s no crab in the image, but just thinking about how the crab exists both in water and on land, comfortable – or not? – in both elements, reminds me of our ability to engage successfully with life.
For me, this provides the clue as to how to deal with the tension within the Chariot’s meanings – the potential aggression or indecision, the struggle, the pull of different options.... Having family or close friends behind us as we face those decisions, or deal with that conflict, can help – it can give us that secure base from which to set off in our chariots.
Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections