Ian Parkin is the author of this post.
Trapped within The Hanged Man tarot card's cryptic symbolism is a world of meaning that can shift as quickly as the tides. A symbol of surrender, pause, and perspective, it nudges us to let go of our preconceived notions and see the world in a new light. A journey with The Hanged Man will be full of suspense, but it's in this suspended state that we can truly begin to see.
Life's full of head-scratchers, isn't it? One minute you're cruising along, and then - bam - you hit a snag. In comes The Hanged Man tarot card, a picture-perfect embodiment of such predicaments. A character suspended, quite literally, in an upside-down world, symbolizing a unique blend of surrender and patience.
Decked with the number 12 in the Major Arcana, its numerical significance relates to the cyclical nature of life, reinforcing the idea of waiting and acceptance. In the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the imagery is poignant. A man hanging upside-down, one leg crossed over the other, arms hidden - a position of stillness, yet revealing a sense of peace and acceptance.
In the realm of stars and far-off lands,
There's wisdom held in The Hanged Man's hands.
An upside-down world, a view so grand,
Lessons from The Hanged Man tarot card we understand.
Surrender sweetly, let patience stand,
In the stillness, feel the shifting sand.
A pause, a breath, a soft reprimand,
In silence, we begin to understand.
So, hang in there, take life's command,
Like The Hanged Man, let your perspective expand.
Turn the world over, like a coin in your hand,
Find your inner peace, in this tarot wonderland.
Symbolism - The Hanged Man is the twelfth card of the Tarot's Major Arcana. It shows a man hanging upside-down from a T-shaped cross, made of living wood, with his right foot bound to it, while his left leg crosses behind his right one. His arms are bent, with hands behind his back, forming an inverted triangle. The man's facial expression is serene, suggesting that he is in this position by his own choice. His head is surrounded by a bright, yellow halo, signifying enlightenment or spiritual realization.
Main Themes -The Hanged Man represents themes of surrender, letting go, suspension, and sacrifice. It highlights the idea of "pause," or taking time to view things from a different perspective. It suggests that the usual worldly motivations, successes, and goals might not be important at the moment. There is a strong element of voluntarily giving up control, accepting uncertainty, and seeing the world from a radically new angle.
Meaning in Readings - Upright, The Hanged Man in a Tarot reading implies a need to suspend action, and as a result, a period of indecision may be indicated. It can suggest that sacrifices may need to be made in pursuit of a larger goal or good. It can also mean embracing a new perspective or a shift in paradigm.
When reversed - The Hanged Man can indicate resistance to letting go, delay, or stalling. It might mean the querent is unwilling to make necessary sacrifices or is struggling against a needed change in perspective.
Numerology - The Hanged Man card is associated with the number 12 in the Tarot system, but it can be reduced to the number 3 (1+2). The number 12 represents a completed cycle, indicating the ending of a phase before the rebirth that's associated with the next card, Death (XIII). The number 3, on the other hand, is a number of creativity, expression, and the synthesis of opposites.
Astrology - The Hanged Man is often linked with the planet Neptune, which is the planet of illusion, mysticism, and dreams. Neptune's energy encourages dissolving boundaries and surrendering to the greater cosmic reality, which is quite congruent with The Hanged Man's theme of surrender and seeing things from a new perspective.
Archetype - The archetype of The Hanged Man is that of the martyr or the mystic. This card can represent a person who sacrifices their own needs or desires for the greater good, or someone who seeks truth and understanding beyond the superficial level of reality. The Hanged Man can also embody a phase of life where we need to pause, reflect, and perhaps sacrifice something to gain a deeper understanding or achieve a greater goal.
Woven into the fabric of The Hanged Man tarot card is the potent lesson of letting go. Life can sometimes be a series of doors closing and opening, a rollercoaster of moments requiring surrender. When this card comes up in a reading, it's like a gentle nudge to release control and embrace whatever life throws your way.
The Hanged Man's message is akin to an old adage, 'What you resist, persists.' So, here's to embracing our challenges, turning them upside down, and finding the silver linings within.
Personal Development & Self-Discovery
From a spiritual and psychological perspective, The Hanged Man represents a pause in life's journey, a break from the noise to delve into the self. When it pops up in a reading, it's like a cosmic 'stop sign,' suggesting that it's time for introspection and reflection.
Facing this card can be quite a wake-up call. It invites us to suspend our worldly concerns, shift our perspectives, and reassess our values. It's as if we're being told to slow down, smell the roses, and maybe find new paths hidden in plain sight.
The Hanged Man in Life's Multifaceted Contexts
The Hanged Man tarot card has implications that extend across every sphere of life. In the realm of careers, it might mean letting go of a dead-end job or taking time off to rethink one's path. In relationships, it could signal a period of waiting, reevaluating existing bonds, or accepting circumstances as they are.
The Hanged Man could represent a sabbatical for personal development, a break from the rush to reconnect with oneself. It's like life pressing the 'pause' button, a moment to inhale deeply, take in the scenery, and prepare for the road ahead.
In health readings, it may call for a pause to recuperate or suggest adopting a new wellness approach. In terms of finance, it might suggest a period of uncertainty, prompting a reassessment of financial strategies.
The Meaning Of The Hanged Man In Love And Relationship Readings
In the realm of romance, The Hanged Man tarot card paints a tender picture of love's pause - a gentle interlude that calls for deep introspection, soft surrender, and the courage to view your heart's journey through the lens of timeless patience and unwavering understanding.
The Rider-Waite-Smith tradition paints The Hanged Man as a picture of willing surrender, but the depiction varies across the board. The Marseille deck, for example, portrays a more tangible, painful predicament, reminding us of the trials we must sometimes endure.
The Thoth tradition, on the other hand, adds a more mystical touch. Aleister Crowley named this card 'The Spirit of the Mighty Waters,' bringing in the theme of deep, subconscious, and transformative energy. It's like taking a leap into the unknown - scary, yet thrilling at the same time.
Peering into the sands of time, The Hanged Man tarot card holds a fascinating history. It's been suggested that its roots date back to an old Italian game known as 'Tarocchi.' Originally, it was called 'The Traitor,' depicting a man being hanged by one foot as a form of public punishment, a stark contrast to the peaceful surrender we often associate with the card today.
Over centuries, its symbolism has morphed and evolved, taking on deeper, more spiritual connotations. The journey from a traitor to a figure of introspection and surrender is indeed a testament to the card's enduring enigma and flexibility in meaning.
The Hanging Man: The man represents sacrifice and surrender. His tranquil facial expression denotes that this is not a punishment, but a choice. The suspended state indicates a pause, delay, or transition.
Upside-Down Pose: His inverted position symbolizes a different viewpoint or perspective, possibly a need to see things from a new angle or an invitation to shift one's perception.
The Tree or Cross: The man is hanged from a Tau cross (shaped like the letter 'T'), suggesting the concept of 'the tree of life', or the connection between heaven and earth. This may also symbolize the link between the conscious and unconscious mind.
Crossed Legs: The position of his legs forms the number '4' and is akin to the reverse of the posture assumed by the character in The Emperor card, a symbol of structure, stability, and order. This could imply that he's challenging the established order or rules.
Arms Behind His Back: His arms form an inverted triangle, often associated with water, a symbol of intuition and the subconscious.
Red Pants and Blue Vest: The red pants symbolize the human body and physical reality, while the blue vest stands for knowledge, and spirituality. The combination can be seen as a balance between the physical and spiritual realms.
Golden Halo: The radiant halo around his head represents enlightenment or spiritual illumination, suggesting the sacrifice leads to a higher level of understanding.
Background: The gradient background transitions from light to dark, symbolizing a range of possibilities and the unknown, which emphasizes the theme of uncertainty and potential change.
Leaves and Ground: The visible leaves and ground beneath him denote his connection to the world and nature, but his suspension creates a sense of disconnect, highlighting the card's theme of detachment from worldly concerns.