The timeline linearity of spiritual development depicted in the Major Arcana.
Joseph Campbell and the Greeks thought of us as heroes. How noble! The creators of Tarot have a sense of humor and have a different take on the trip of incarnation. We are fools! So, here we go! Again!
Wow! I have all these tools and possibilities in the physical world. I can do all these things! I can choose! How cool is that!?
Remember that this is not the first time. Here, use your intuition and look deep inside. See all that has happened before. Use this information to guide your choices in this lifetime.
THE EMPERESS & THE EMPEROR
We cannot do this alone. Let’s create, procreate and expand this world. We are the foundation of all duality and of physical life.
Ok. But we need to organize this. As a support to the information you get from the Popess’ book, or if your intuition fails altogether, here is a list of things you can and cannot do in this world. Whatever you do, there will be consequences. You have been warned, not once, but twice.
Oh, I see. This is not all about me! Other people are other versions of “me”. Let’s choose on the emotional realm and learn to interact as equals. Careful with transgressions!
I have arrived! Here’s what I have accomplished, see!
The doctor accomplishes healing. The engineer builds. The artist creates beauty. The lover falls in love. The assassin kills. The thief steals. So, accomplishments are of different kinds.
After we accomplish something we collect the fruits of our labor. Sooner or later. Our chickens come home to roost. That is the law of cause-and-effect.
Justice is balance, but not necessarily a balanced life, that happens later on the path and is depicted later in the sequence. The balance of justice is the balance of cause and effect. Every action has a reaction that counterbalances it and that law is executed no matter what. That is why that sword is up and ready.
The healer will attract healing, the artist will attract beauty, The thief will be robbed, The assassin will be murdered.
Justice is like the Egyptian story of the weighing of the heart against a feather after death. If the heart is heavier than the feather you cannot enter the next world. If the heart is as light as the feather you can move forward and up.
Who is the judge that does the weighing?
God? Angels? Maat?
No, not god, goddesses, or angels or elders or any external authority. It is our own consciousness and conscience. If that was not the case we would remain spiritual babies and separate from wisdom forever.
But the ability to assess and discriminate, like any wisdom gained, is acquired through time and experience, thus in the beginning we must have guides and teachers to lead the way and so, The Hermit can also signify one such teacher, sage, elder or guide we may meet along the path. However, they will merely point the way and prompt our conscience and consciousness to awaken and act. Call it your higher self if you like.
If our consciousness and conscience determine our heart is light we move on to the next cycle on the Wheel of Fortune. If not, we go back to set things straight and balance the causes and their effects. This process is also referred to as Karma.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
The most important part of this card is the figure atop: Justice. It is touching the wheel and has the ability to stop it or let it spin which depicts exactly the process described in the two preceeding cards above.
Once the Wheel stops for a particular set of causes and effects in our lives we move into a new cycle with renewed Strength and psychic stability.
For example: the thief has learned to no longer steal and has paid back the energy and opportunities he/she took away from others. Now he/she can move forward with a lighter heart. This must be repeated for each and every transgression on the physical plane both within one life and across multiple lifetimes.
Now things step up a notch. We are conscious of our actions and their effects. Consciousness awakens conscience. Conscience, in turn, produces the desire and will to do serious and consistent psychological/spiritual work to set our psychic mess straight once and for all.
It is time to dig deeper and continue repairing all of our transgressions while avoiding new ones, as well as work to remove the energetic residues of psychic corruptions that got imprinted on The Fool due to multiple errors and trauma and which show up life after life.
THE HANGEN MAN
After spiritual work has acquired a certain critical mass and momentum we realize that we are not what we thought we were. The true self is revealed and the end of the spiritual path becomes known. It is the first profound moment of true awakening or enlightenment. Unequivocal and unique. We know who we are and no words can possibly explain it. “Thy Will Be Done” becomes our living motto. “Free will” is understood for what it is. There is no higher or lower self. There is only an unqualified Self. A new depth of wisdom and desire for spiritual liberation arises.
The work continues; we are not out of the woods. The patterns of darkness and unconsciousness remain active. But after the Hanged Man the work is renewed and is under a new and expanded perspective. The aim no longer is personal achievement or attainment. How could it be? We are what we have sought! What remains is the need to eliminate false ideas and beliefs and detrimental energies from the psyche. Especially the ones pertaining to our idea of self because they will come back with a vengeance.
The natural result of throwing out psycho-emotional garbage.
As that elimination process continues we, more and more, experience balance and peace and an increased ability to gracefully navigate between the extremes of duality.
The balance we acquire produces the necessary stability, as well as contrast, to allow us to bring or deepest and darkest aspects to light without being knocked out by their punches. And thus we recognize and learn and understand the intricacies of the mechanism of self-inflicted psychological suffering and its attending bondage.
If we get stuck in our love for self-undoing or refuse to acknowledge our darkness we get a knock on the head by our friends from above. It may come in any form and is usually seen as pain coming from outside, such as an accident, illness or the destruction of something or someone we love. The effect is liberating.
As we are being beaten to a pulp and become conscious of our darkness and neither feeling like a pulp nor seeing darkness are a big deal any longer, we become simple and fearless and naturally integrated in the environment and the world. There is nothing to hide and nothing to offend us. We are in line with our guiding light.
Openness makes us vulnerable. This is not Disneyland. We will get emotionally hurt. We lose a loved one, we are betrayed, rejected or abused by others. The heart continues suffering. It simply is part of life. Becoming conscious with an awakened conscience does not mean we will stop suffering emotionally. Tarot makes it very clear here, this late in the spiritual process.
Also, memory of past emotional pain remains imprinted. And now that we are not afraid of the dark we can step up a notch and face and digest deep and unresolved emotions from the past which may still be simmering. The result is forgiveness and compassion and detachment from the past, that is: emotional maturity and emotional wisdom.
If we have compassion we love unconditionally and have empathy so we share our love with others who may still need to learn to love. Likewise, we will meet other people of light who will support us, united by the one and same light.
Now that the landscape of the psyche has been fully visited, acknowledged, accepted and its nature understood there is nothing left but to look up and listen to the clear message of beauty, truth and love of our True Self.