This is one of those cards that can mean pretty much what you expect it to. Victory is overcoming obstacles, triumph, and self-assertion. If you see this pop up in your reading, that’s a pretty good sign! This card does have a pretty militaristic bent, so it can warn of upcoming conflicts, wars, or disputes, although it carries with it an indicator that you will come out on top. It can also be a bit of a “macho” card. Know what you want and go get it! Seize the day! Woo!
(If you imagine someone driving down the street in a high powered convertible, pumping his fist in the air, that’s a decent analogy for the enthusiasm behind this card. There’s a reason Victory/The Chariot is associated with cars in the modern era, and back in ye old tymes it could simply indicate some manner of high powered and sexy vehicle.)
But okay. There’s more to it than that, isn’t there? After all, the Six of Stars is also “Victory”, and an association with high octane vehicles and a need for speed isn’t really enough to differentiate the two. So what’s up with the imagery on the card? Well, Victory indicates triumph by bringing two opposing forces together. You’ll note the two horse-creatures that the man is riding, the nightmare and the unicorn. In the standard interpretation of the card, these are your emotions. The unicorn is all your happy, shiny, pure and angelic feelings. The nightmare, well, not so much (crush your enemies, drive them before you, hear the lamentations of their women!!) Most people try to just fight their emotions, or try to ride one while forcing the other to go along with them. The man in Victory realizes he’s not getting anywhere if he pits his emotions against each other. There’s an element of control and spiritual growth here – the horses would just run wild without their rider, and without the horses the rider is stuck plodding along on the ground.
(Compare and Contrast with the Grand Duke, who rules his emotions with his head – Victory uses the power of those emotions, but to his own ends. Yet at the same time, there’s a danger inherent in lashing up two very powerful beasts and leading them charging around the battlefield. Even the most controlled rider is still at risk when moving at those speeds.)
The military bent to this card still runs down through these meanings, as well – after all, the point of the military is to train soldiers to have discipline (well, in theory), and the military’s point is to forge a bunch of individual young men into a single unit. And while the card of Victory can be said to be about controlling your inner self, it can really refer to any two opposing forces that are lassoed into working with one another.
You’re not the one in control here. Your “horses” have gone wild, and you’re just along for the ride now. The best you can hope for is that you just get taken on a wild ride. The worst… well, people die a lot by being thrown by a wild horse. You’re reduced to clinging on for dear life and hoping things stop sooner or later. And in the meantime, your rampaging opposed forces are screwing up whatever you were trying to work for. This card indicates that you’ve either lost control of the situation or lost control of yourself. You have a lack of direction, and are using your energy and talents for the wrong ends. You need to slow down, reign in those horses, and clear your vision. Otherwise, at the very best, your “horses” are going to trample everything and cause a lot of collateral damage on their way to your goal. At worst, the whole thing is going to pull apart, and you’re not going to enjoy the crash.
This card can be taken literally, however – which is to say, if this crops up, you should avoid taking a horse or carriage on your next journey.