Arthur E. Waite - The Pictorial Key to the Tarot :
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 Eliphas Levi; 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.
P. D. Ouspensky – The Symbolism Of The Таrot :
I saw a chariot drawn by two sphinxes, one white, the other black. Four pillars supported a blue canopy, on which were scattered five-pointed stars. The Conqueror, clad in steel armour, stood under this canopy guiding the sphinxes. He held a sceptre, on the end of which were a globe, a triangle and a square. A golden pentagram sparkled in his crown. On the front of the chariot there was represented a winged sphere and beneath that the symbol of the mystical lingam, signifying the union of two principles.
"Everything in this picture has a significance. Look and try to understand", said the voice.
"This is Will armed with Knowledge. We see here, however, the wish to achieve, rather than achievement itself. The man in the chariot thought himself a conqueror before he had really conquered, and he believes that victory must come to the conqueror. There are true possibilities in this beautiful conception, but also many false ones. Illusory fires and numerous dangers are hidden here.
He controls the sphinxes by the power of a magic word, but the tension of his Will may fail and then the magic word will lose its power and he may be devoured by the sphinxes.
This is indeed the Conqueror, but only for the moment; he has not yet conquered Time, and the succeeding moment is unknown to him.
This is the Conqueror, not by love, but by fire and the sword,--a conqueror against whom the conquered may arise. Do you see behind him the towers of the conquered city? Perhaps the flame of uprising burns already there.
And he is unaware that the city vanquished by means of fire and the sword is the city within his own consciousness, that the magic chariot is in himself and that the blood-thirsty sphynxes, also a state of consciousness within, watch his every movement. He has externalized all these phases of his mind and sees them only outside himself. This is his fundamental error. He entered the outer court of the Temple of knowledge, but thinks he has been in the Temple itself. He regarded the rituals of the first tests as initiation, and he mistook for the goddess, the priestess who guarded the threshold. Because of this misconception great perils await him.
Nevertheless it may be that even in his errors and perils the Great Conception lies concealed. He seeks to know and, perhaps, in order to attain, mistakes, dangers and even failures are necessary.
Understand that this is the same man whom you saw uniting Heaven and Earth, and again walking across a hot desert to a precipice.