from the lovers to the chariot
exploring the magic between gemini and cancer
hello, dear friends. how has the spring been treating you? what are you anticipating about the summer? what new freedoms have you been discovering within the curious breezes of gemini, and where are you ready to swim into the depths with cancer?
the magic between the lovers and the chariot always feels particularly charged to me. and while i’ve written about this before, and likely will again, the expansion and sovereignty and joy that dwells in the space between these archetypes offers so much possibility, so much power. whether you’ve been with me for awhile or you’re new to my work, give yourself a few moments to think about where you were last year at this time. what evolutions have you undergone since june of 2020? how has your world changed, in addition to the massive global transformations that we have all been through as a collective? how have you found confidence, agency, and where are you still trying to find your footing? when you think about what cancer season has to offer you personally, do you feel anticipation, or concern?
take some deep breaths in and out, roll your shoulders, shake out your wrists, and let’s dive in.
the lovers & the chariot
when we think about the lovers, it’s tempting to center other people rather than ourselves. as a term, lovers is usually associated with a pair or group of people - people we are vulnerable with, people we allow intimacy with, people who have a special kind of access to our most personal and private desires. in truth, a lover can be a devoted partner or a mysterious stranger, someone we share our life with or someone we just spend a few hours with - but in this context we think about someone that we are in deep relationship with, someone that sees and accepts us fully, someone that gives us the freedom to shed any masks or costumes, to be our complete and honest selves.
in the tarot, this archetype is less about centering our relationships and more about understanding what allows us to be vulnerable and free in the first place. at its heart, the lovers is a card of harmony, balance, truth, and expansion. it honors our joy while also asking some pointed, powerful questions: what does it take for us to feel secure enough to be ourselves? what kind of stability must we establish before we can wander and dream, open our hearts and souls, expose our most intimate dreams and longings? who can we share our fullest, truest desires with?
i don’t say this to minimize the power of connections. knowing how to let ourselves been seen and held, recognizing the ways in which we open ourselves up to love and companionship, is a powerful and essential thing. it’s a skill to let others in, to be vulnerable in ways that heal us, to learn to communicate our needs and desires in a way that empowers rather than harms. but when we center relationships with this card, when we only focus on the ways that we relate to other people, we miss the rest of the magic that this archetype has to offer us. and in allowing ourselves the freedom to soar and explore, to know certain things and discover others, we show ourselves a particular kind of grace and kindness, give ourselves a necessary form of self-love.
in the same way that gemini discovers, processes, and distributes information, that they want to collaborate and communicate, the lovers explores both choice and intention. how do we balance what we share and what we keep for ourselves? how do we decide what we will allow others to see, and what we will only give to a select few? what do we hold back, and why? in grappling with those possibilities, in honoring the millions of tiny decisions we make every day, we gain a deeper understanding of who we are and what we need. and in recognizing that partnerships of all kinds require endless, ongoing conversation and compromise, we also discover what feeds us, and what starves us.
what makes you feel like you’re thriving, like anything is possible? how do you balance that kind of joyful freedom with safety, security, protection? as we pass from the lovers to the chariot, our card for cancer season, we have an opportunity to dig more deeply into this particular kind of magic.
in contrast to the exploration and expansion of the lovers, the chariot follows a fixed path to a well-earned victory. with perseverance, focus, determination, willpower, and action, this archetype represents success and joy, a sense of conquering, a desire to prove and continue proving. this is a card of achievement, triumph, as we meet a powerful goal and consider what we will begin to pursue next.
the chariot is the last archetype in the first line of the major arcana, a massive and important finale to the first cycle. yet in this determined movement, we have the opportunity to celebrate and consider what we want to do next, where we want to take the resources and skills and power and magic that we have spent all of this time cultivating.
with the chariot, we open a brand new doorway, and allow ourselves to move into the next big phase of our journey.
from gemini to cancer
the correspondences between tarot and astrology are not always as neat and tidy as we would like. and while you might find it easy to relate gemini to the lovers, with these dual energies and twinning flames, it might be more complicated to find the connective threads between cancer and the chariot. after all, we tend to think of this latter archetype as one of drive and purpose, movement and willpower, words that we don’t always use to desire our sensitive, emotional water signs.
but consider this: cancer is not just a passive homebody, content to sit quietly alone with their feelings and their sensitivities. this is cardinal water, an energy of focused movement through the intuitive realm, an opportunity to begin a new emotional journey or reach brilliant new depths of exploration into our internal worlds. cardinal signs start new seasons, and in this case, cancer shares its beginning with the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere, ushering in sunshine and warmth and rapid, necessary growth. this isn’t a time to hide in our watery spaces but instead an activation, an initiation, a commencement. what is being heralded, offered up, started anew?
we may think of the chariot as reaching a finish line, but in many ways this victory simultaneously paves the way for a fresh start. as the chariot pushes past the initial boundaries created by the emperor with aries season, as they utilize the freedom that was found with the lovers, this archetype helps us to overcome our fears and concerns in order to see what the world looks like on the other side of the wall. what does it mean to break free from ourselves? whether we follow an established path or blaze our own trail, where do we want to go next? now that we have a better understanding of who we are, what can we believe about who we could be?
so much of the first line of the fool’s journey, and the first seasons of the astrological calendar, urge us to consider the self. but with the chariot’s powerful drive and ability to protect the more vulnerable parts of the self, we enter into a new phase, with opportunities to shine brilliantly, connect with others through our ideals and practices, refine our habits and rituals, and accept the things that are out of our control. what does cancer help us fully embrace about ourselves? how do we balance the ways that we move through the world with the nurturing of our more private needs? what does the chariot offer us that we have not yet learned, and how can we grow within ourselves?
think about the differences in the quality of movement between the fool and the chariot. one takes a leap of faith, knowing that they must pursue something but with no idea how to reach that far-off destination. the other can see that goal clearly in the distance, has established a path forward, understands what it will take to grow into the person they want to become.
the fool already trusts themselves. but the chariot knows themselves much more intimately: their power, their strength, their desires, and their dreams. who do you know yourself to be? how do you trust in your own magic?
my latest round of queer tarotscopes are now live at autostraddle, along with a brand new spread for the summer solstice over on instagram. wishing you a powerful, brilliant, intuitively-driven cancer season.
images from this post feature cards from the true north tarot. all photographs by meg jones wall.