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“Wuv, twue wuv.” [Princess Bride, 1987]

Focus, confidence and determination are all good things, in theory. From them we get that rugged individualism (with a dimple in the chin) that my therapist keeps going on about as being so important for a healthy Ego and sense of self.

Personally, I feel that the Ego in all its forms is highly overrated, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. It takes us into the realm of psychology and science is some of the least sexy and romantic aspects of being human that I can imagine. It’s great for analyzing and cataloging behavior … less so as dating advice.

Be bold, we’re told, when taking actions on love. Take control of your love life. Go get what you want. We’ve all heard these words in one form or another. Just feed that inner Don Juan (or Donna Juanna, if you’re Brigitte Bardot) and that wretched misery in your soul might finally be silenced (key word: might). Curiously, that advice seldom works … unless your idea of a happy life is living out the plot points of most pornos.

I can only offer my own experiences, but people who advocate that this is a positive card (at least in the Rider-Waite world) are one sort, lovers who burn, as Rumi reminds us, are another.

In this case a structured and ordered approach when it comes to love is not the best path forward since love is neither structured, ordered nor something that you can control through willpower. Love is chaos. Love is madness. Love is what keeps the poets writing late at night and laughs at rules and the way “things are suppose to be.” In short, I question anyone who champions this card as someone who has spent far too much time thinking about love and far little actually experiencing its messy glory.

This is why, for my deck at least, I changed the Chariot to a Palanquin because you can’t make a palanquin go simply by willing it. You need others to literally do all the heavy lifting, you need to act together to make anything happen. Love is, by its very nature, communal. The Rider-Waite deck seems to have forgotten that and assumes that boldness (that great Victorian virtue) will achieve your goals. Again, love has no agenda, no secret code that you can break and “make it happen.” To hammer the point in a little further, up and beyond the fact that this litter has no bearers, the woman in it wants to smoke her hashish but has no flame to light it. Perfect control and confidence have yet to start a fire (unless its a metaphoric one) since she needs to take the match Syssk (the xenomorph seated next to her) offers.

That’s the love lesson that I take away from here: forcefulness in love is called rape. It’s why “Love magic” has nothing to do with love and everything with exercising your control over another. Do not follow that path, it never ends well. Only by working together can we make love bloom and, of course, the Ego of the Chariot has very little to do with that.