I have to digress a bit in order to explain that.
Tarot of Marseilles Major arcana describes the steps on the spiritual path on the physical plane.
While the path is indeed unique for each person the patterns on the path are not unique and are pre-established. They describe the natural development of self-awareness over time on the physical plane which can only develop as it traverses certain experiences.
The path begins prior to physicality with the desire to be (I am – The Fool). From there the desire to “be physical” arises and the incarnation cycles begin.
For a long time the degree of self-awareness is very low and karma is created. When the degree of self-awareness rises up to a certain level karma begins to be paid off. This is a law.
At some point this process becomes conscious. This initiative is represented by the arcanum The Hermit.
Can the payment of karma be bypassed?
Very rarely, through mutual forgiveness and detachment. And even more rarely for that to take place on the physical plane. For most of us, we wish to pay and demand payment. And for some old souls, it can be the case that that is the only, or main, reason they are incarnated. They want to get this over with, even out distorted energies between souls/people and move on.
With The Hermit active and major karma paid certain cycles of repetition are eliminated and we move forward past the Wheel of Fortune.
A new process begins with the arcanum Strength indicating conscious spiritual work with the focus on fully paying off all karma and restoring the natural Peace of Spirit or Natural State (The World). This is referred to as Sadhana in Eastern philosophies or simply “spiritual work”.
Once the process of conscious spiritual work is advanced enough a new insight arises. A revelation about our True Nature. That insight is represented by the Arcanum The Hangedman.
Up to Strength the spiritual path was focussed on personal mastery and personal acquisition. Whether we call it becoming conscious, enlightenment, awakening, peace or god, makes no difference. The prize we seek is for “me”.
With the arising of the experience represented by the Hangedman, the perspective changes and the primary illusion of separation is exposed in direct experience. There no longer can be a personal spiritual prize for the now, obvious and simple reason, that there is no “me” to claim it. The implications of this revelation are many and deserve their own article which I am writing and will post subsequently.
The bottom line is that, while the spiritual work continues, it is no longer aimed at “me being enlightened”. The character of the path or the “seeking” fundamentally changes from acquisition to elimination. It may gradually shift from me to “the whole”, to “no thing” or “not two”, or simply from separation to Silent Warm Unity.
Notice the sequence:
My approach to Tarot is aimed at offering insights to those who have had the Hangedman’s revelation and feel they need some understanding as to where they are in their process and what the requirements or challenges are in the step they find themselves within that process.
As I mentioned before, the patterns are not unique to the individual. The path is not a fuzzy thing and is rather predictable in some ways. Understanding the patterns can have a freeing effect on an uneasy, suffering, or confused seeker.
This is not my idea. Tarot of Marseilles is an ancient system that, when approached spiritually, is aimed at bringing about understanding and thus freedom from unnecessary psychological suffering.