The Ancestral Path Tarot Deck created by Julie Cuccia-Watts, printed by US Games 1996.
This beautiful and ethnically diverse deck, features the four suits of the minor arcana*, represented by four unique cultures of different eras in history: In the Ancestral Path design we see a departure from pentacles which are replaced by sacred circles and represented by Native Indians (post contact America). Wands we see replaced with staves and depicted by images of ancient Egypt, specifically the 19th dynasty of Ramses II when all the big pyramid building took place. Cups are displayed as the myths and legends of King Arthur in medieval England; Swords are the Japanese Feudal era.
The chariot featured heavily in ancient Rome as vehicle, used both in battle and sporting tournaments - usually pulled by horses.
The traditional way of looking at this card is to make us focus on the trials, tribulations and battles we are faced with (or that might be about to begin), with a view to avoiding both conflict and turmoil. It is about looking closely at steering around trouble and triumph over adversity. The Chariot is associated with the astrological sign of Cancer.
In the Ancestral Path deck, we are given lots of symbolism. For example this warrior has a large orb on the front of his chariot which looks like a third eye, giving him the bigger picture and there is another tiny one on his breastplate. His sceptre even appears magical and he clearly has even the stars on his side. But there is also one major diversion from the norm, this chariot is not pulled by horses but by LIONS! Imagine how fierce, how strong, how much more determined your chariot would be pulled along by TWO kings of the jungle!
“In the realm of spirit animals the lion wins the prize for most relentless fighter in the face of life challenges. The lion spirit animal represents courage, strength in overcoming difficulties. The presence of this power animal could also mean that something “wild” or difficult to control is happening. As such, lions symbolize emotions that are difficult to manage, such a anger or fear”. (Source Elena Harris)
The lion totem meaning involves strength, assertiveness and power. Another meaning for the lion spirit animal is predatory feelings including anger and aggression (either directed at someone else or towards you). It can also be about the personal struggle dealing with these feelings. Lion spirit animals also warn about a threatening situation or event in your life.
Personally I like to think of the lions also representing potential earth-angels, people that can support or even perhaps become our allies. Naturally depending on what other cards are surrounding the chariot we can build a story but one thing is clear – the spirit world are coming to give you serious assistance!
* For those new to tarot imagine the four suits of a normal card playing deck but just changed a little and then add some "big deal, life changer" style cards (major arcana), that's how tarot works).
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