Its been a little while since my last writing on the Major Arcana for my 22 card Tarot Journey of Life Series. I have made no bones about it being a 'work in progress' due to the lack of time that I have to indulge my passion and thoughts for each of the cards! However, I have set aside time to look at the next card which is number 12 - The Hanged Man.
The other cards that I have written about can be found here on the link below and please do keep checking back on this link to hopefully see the entire series.
So! The Hanged Man. Have you had a good look at the Raider Waite picture above? thats him alright! Hanging upside down - he is not called The Hanged Man for nothing. He is literally depicted that way. On some cards he is pictured differently with money falling out his pockets and various other visual ideas, but always as some form of figure that is upside down. With every card comes introspection. Personal thoughts about how this card would appear to you. What do you really see on this card? There is not a lot on it really is there? just a kind of tree or what might appear as a gallow maybe and a man with some kind of light around his head. Notice his hands are behind his back, his legs are folded in a kind of 4 shape. Theoretically he is not 'hanging' by his neck per se, but by one ankle.
Are his hands just behind his back or are they tied? we cannot see can we? does he look in pain? does he look injured? does the entire card have you puzzled? what are you meant to understand from this? how would this card be used in a spread or interpreted when it appears to be so empty?
Like any card when it appears in a spread, it is important to take into account WHERE the card falls and to consider the subject matter of the reading and see how it might relate. On its OWN which is how we are looking at it I would consider this card to be SUSPENSION. This man is not giving any sign of struggle. Its quite clear that he has PROBLEMS we dont know what of course. If his hands are behind his back, he is not using them to free himself. If the card had been reversed he would actually be standing ON his feet. Here he is though and hes in a tricky spot - he might have a lot of problems that are not necessarily physical but might be affecting him in some ways because he clearly needs a solution. He is therefore in some kind of suspension SEEKING ILLUMINATION. Maybe he could actually get out of that spot that hes in BUT he might be looking for the best way to do it.
I would think of him as accepting that he is indisposed and knowing it, not struggling but realising he is there FOR A REASON, accepting THAT but at the same time deciding to 'go with it' until there is a form of resolution. The light around his head reminds me of REALISATION but ACCEPTANCE.
Readers may not interpret or think of each Tarot card in the same way. We all have our own view and intuitions regarding them. For me this man in this card KNOWS that he could have taken a different situation or route but perhaps he ignored common sense? perhaps he didnt like being told what to do? perhaps he wanted to turn his back on conformity? maybe he is just a rogue and is hung on a tree? some interpretations are that the man in this card is acting the Martyr. I personally cannot think that anyone wants to be one of those! I suppose there might be the odd person though? I rather think that this card has a touch of stubborness about it . Maybe the person in the card likes to be right, maybe he has a slightly Aries quality and is just hanging there for the hell of it just to be off? or to prove a point which really is just cutting his own nose of his own face but hey, if he enjoys hanging there and that pleases him , I guess its up to him.....there are ways of considering whether or not hes just had enough, couldnt care less maybe? or perhaps he just has had so much stuff happening to him hes switched off and just accepted that hes in that situation and is just not going to fight things anymore. Maybe hes just letting the whole situation he is in overwhelm him until he can think himself back into some kind of action.
As he hangs there, I feel he is just 'waiting it out'. Accepting but waiting for that glimmer of revelation . We have all had those times where everything just gets so difficult you just give yourself up to the situation because it is just too much to handle or you just cant find the right answers or solutions at the time. Its kind of like 'time out' but its not completely comfortable as there must be some tricky circumstances to put this person in this placing initially.
On the cards that show a man with money falling out of his pockets which is also another Hanged Man card - you know immediately that the guy got fleeced or robbed or tricked or put himself in a position where he has lost out in some way. But our card is not showing that pictorially, we are looking at this guy who is just accepting.
I do mention SUSPENSION. Interestingly, it is worth noting that this is card 12 and if you add those numbers you obtain number 3. The 3RD card in the Major Arcana is the Empress. Do read about that in the link above or below. Note though that the EMPRESS is also a woman who could be pregnant. She is in 'gestation'. This is really another form of SUSPENSION because she has to wait 9 months for her child so there is a period of waiting. During that time her mind may go through a lot of hoops. What if she is a first time mother? are you? what kind of questions have you asked yourself? is there perhaps a bit of fear, apprehension, wondering? think of all the thoughts that would come into your mind...a lot of unknowns perhaps? you might not know the sex of the child for example. There is a lot of SUSPENSION involved in the GESTATION of pregnancy in the Empress card. It can represent BIRTH of course as well as many other things.
If we transferred some of those thoughts to the Hanged Man, we can start to understand that he does not really have any ANSWERS as he hangs there but that he is WAITING to be ILLUMINATED with them perhaps. That GREAT idea might drop in perhaps. A pregnant woman might have some uncomfortable times but its kind of manageable? this is how I would view the Hanged Man too.
There have been occasions with linked cards whereby HANGED man actually DOES mean that. Overall however, we should consider it as a card that can give us a decent impression about a situation that a person is in even looking at it alone. Its not a terrible card - it is one perhaps of just waiting for that BETTER idea. Accepting things are AS THEY ARE...NOT struggling to do much about it ...on the flip side there could be that stubborness or pigheadedness and all these thoughts or impressions can be honed down to a more accurate viewpoint if in a spread or read which has a subject matter.
In some sense the Hanged Man might be quite peaceful. Perhaps things have been SO TOUGH its actually a pleasure to just hang there in order to be out of an even worse situation. The amusing side of things is really to say well HANG IN THERE KID...it might not get WORSE and it MIGHT but either way it is NEITHER WAY right now so just deal with the current scenario and wait for a better moment or flash of inspiration to move forward. So SUSPENSION ACCEPTANCE and GO WITH THE FLOW until A BETTER MOMENT/IDEA comes along.
That would be my thoughts on this guy. Please join me for the next card in my series. I will of course be likely to come back and extend the card meanings but please do remember that these write ups are my own initial feelings and reactions to how I feel they appear to me. See you soon for the DEATH card!