Nowadays the chariot seems like an archaic and fairly useless piece of equipment, since we have trains, planes and automobiles. Yet apparently it has represented power in the ancient world in various cultures. Sometimes it may have represented secular power, but often also spiritual ability.
There are several mentions of chariots in the Bible, but I’ll discuss only three of them here. First is the vision of Ezekiel of wheels inside wheels, which has been interpreted by UFOlogists to refer to a UFO. 2 Kings 2:11 also refers to similar mystical chariot: “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” It does sound like some sort of flying craft.
Judges 1:19 has a different kind of chariot: “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Although God was there, they could not beat the enemies with chariots. Must have been quite the vehicle.
Then there’s the concept of the Merkabah, that is some sort of spiritual chariot that some New Agers talk about, although it originates from the Bible or Jewish mysticism. Quite frankly I don’t understand what the Merkabah is, or what we should do with it to hasten our spiritual growth.
The chariot is also a central symbol in India. The symbol of Buddhism is a chariot wheel, although no-one quite seems to know what the symbol actually means. On top of that there are two major branches of Buddhism, Mahayana and Hinayana, the great vehicle or cart and the small one.
The Hindu vedas have the concept of the Vimana, a flying palace or chariot, that many alternative historians use as evidence that there used to be an advanced civilization in India thousands of years ago that even had flying vehicles.
A few interesting bits of information are that the Aryan may have brought the chariot into India, which might explain its religious significance. Invention of the chariot is attributed to the Sintashta culture, who may have been Aryans. Then again at least Wikipedia is confusing on this issue, since in the article on the Indo-Aryan migration theory they mention that “The theory proposes migrations originating from the Sintashta culture, which moved through the Bactria-Margiana area, into the northern part of the Indian subcontinent (modern India, Pakistan and Nepal).” This suggests the Sintashta were Aryan, but the article on the Sintashta culture says no such thing. It says that there is “linguistic evidence of a list of common vocabulary between Finno-Ugric and Indo-Iranian languages” in Sintashta. Finns are not Indo-Aryan.
Anyway this doesn’t have much to do with the chariot. Let’s get back on track.
Chariot in myth and symbolism seems to have these two aspects to it: spiritual power and it is a flying vehicle. At first they seem somewhat contradictory, especially with the chariots of iron that just sounds like a warmachine, but perhaps the chariot, the vimana, is not a vulgar technological construct like a car or an airplane, but spiritual technology. Our culture is unable to create them since we lack the deep spiritual understanding of reality that the ancients possessed. Our vehicles are just pale simulacra of the mythical chariot, whereas the vimana was some sort of external manifestation of the spiritual prowess of the ancients. Or at least this is how I theorize this disjointed information to suggest.
2 Kings 2:11: http://biblehub.com/2_kings/2-11.htm
Judges 1:19: http://biblehub.com/judges/1-19.htm
Merkabah Mysticism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merkabah_mysticism
Indo-Aryan migration theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_migration_theory
Sintashta culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintashta_culture