I have to digress a bit.
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 on the physical plane over time as it occurs as certain experiences are traversed.
The path begins prior to physicality with the 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.
At some point this process becomes conscious. This initiative of “conscious assessment” is represented by the card The Hermit.
Can the payment of karma be bypassed?
Very rarely, as far as I have been told, 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, and even out distorted energies between souls/people and move on.
With The Hermit being 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 card 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 card The Hangedman. The reason the “Hangendman experience” occurs after Strength is simple: the psyche must be strong and stable for such a revelation which, by its nature, destroys the foundation of the image of ourselves. Without strength one might go mad at the Glimpse of Reality, or simply react to it in a frivolous manner.
Up to Strength the spiritual path was focussed on personal mastery and personal acquisition. Whether we call that focus “becoming conscious”, “enlightenment”, “awakening”, “peace” or “god”, makes no difference. Up to Strength, the prize we seek is for “me”.
With the arising of the insight 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 “I” to claim it. The implications of this revelation are many. I wrote a series of articles on this subject that can be found at nothingwronganymore.com.
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 feel they need clarity as to where they are in their path; 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 many 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. That state of freedom is depicted on the card The World.