The Esotericon

Chariot - Zain

With a baton firmly in his right hand, the pilot of the chariot rides in a horse-drawn vehicle that is towed by two horses, the horse on the pilot's left is a dark horse and the horse on the pilot's right is a white horse. The solid lower walls of the chariot's body ascend up to the pilot's waist, and there are what appear to be poles at the corners holding up what would probably be a roof over the pilot's head, although this suspected "roof" is too high to be visible in the illustration. Draperies and other ornamentation appear to be hung from this "roof."

The name of the seventh character of the ancient alphabet is linked to the seventh hieroglyphic symbol of the Tarot. The original design of this character (pre-1200 B.C.) looks like this...

The ancient letter of Zain

This letter is the precursor to the modern day letter known as Z. Not only is it the seventh letter of the ancient alphabet, it also has both the numerical value of seven and well as being the prototype for the shape of the numerical character that represents the quantity of seven. The striking similarity between the characters of Z and 7 should be apparently obvious.

The name of this letter is זין, which is formed from the biliteral root consisting of the letters, ז and ן. The root has the basic meaning of “to form” and “to nourish.” From this fundamental sense of the word, the meanings of “species,” “food,” and “feminine” are derived. The most commonly used meanings of this root in the ancient texts are various derivations that basically express the sense of feminine seduction, the act of coitus, and seminal emissions. There are etymological similarities between the words Zain, seven, semen, and Saturn.

The Chariot of the Marseilles Tarot

Four Chariot trumps of the Tarot de Marseile

Thus, the twin steeds of the Tarot's seventh key could be seen as representative of the dual nature of the feminine allure, and the pilot of the chariot could likewise be seen a type of phallic representation. The overall symbolism of this hieroglyph could then be logically viewed as the masculine attraction to the magnetic pull of the feminine allure. The dark horse would represent the erotic feminine allure that emanates from the star (the passive element of Venus), while the white horse would represent the maternal instinct.

The Chariot of the Rider-Waite Tarot

A. E. Waite writes, “An erect and princely figure carrying a drawn sword and corresponding, broadly speaking, to the traditional description which I have given in the first part. On the shoulders of the victorious hero are supposed to be the Urim and Thummim. He has led captivity captive; he is conquest on all planes--in the mind, in science, in progress, in certain trials of initiation. He has thus replied to the sphinx, and it is on this account that I have accepted the variation of Éliphas Lévi; two sphinxes thus draw his chariot. He is above all things triumph in the mind.

It is to be understood for this reason (a) that the question of the sphinx is concerned with a Mystery of Nature and not of the world of Grace, to which the charioteer could offer no answer; (b) that the planes of his conquest are manifest or external and not within himself; (c) that the liberation which he effects may leave himself in the bondage of the logical understanding; (d) that the tests of initiation through which he has passed in triumph are to be understood physically or rationally; and (e) that if he came to the pillars of that Temple between which the High Priestess is seated, he could not open the scroll called Tora, nor if she questioned him could he answer. He is not hereditary royalty and he is not priesthood.”

The Rider-Waite version of the Chariot trump

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