XII- THe Hanged Man
XII- Hanged Man
The Hanged Man shows a man suspended, upside-down, from the living World Tree, rooted in the underworld and supporting the heavens. Given the serene expression on his face, it is believed he is hanging on the tree of his own will. His right foot is bound to the tree but his left foot remains free, bent at the knee and tucked in behind his right leg. His arms are bent, with hands held behind his back, forming an inverted triangle. The man is wearing red pants representing human passion and the physical body, a blue coat for knowledge, and yellow shoes representing his high ideals. Around the Hanged Man’s head is a bright yellow halo showing spiritual attainment, with the grey background suggesting invisibility (a good reminder to not flaunt your spirituality). This is the card of ultimate surrender, of being suspended in time and of martyrdom and sacrifice to the greater good. This is the archetype to meditate on to help break old patterns of behaviour and bad habits that restrict you.
The Hanged Man’s number is 12 – a higher octave of the number 3, representing careful planning and orderly growth leading to spiritual development. 1 (beginning) + 2 (the reasoning force) = 3 (the product of rebirth). The ruling planet is Neptune, the planet of self-sacrifice and idealism.
Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings
The Hanged Man reflects a need to suspend action, and as a result, a period of indecision may be indicated. Decisions or actions that need to be implemented will be postponed, even if, at the time, there is a sense of urgency to act. In fact, you may be much better off if you can stall on any decision-making and action-taking at this time in order to provide yourself with more time to reflect on the situation at hand and to consider the greater good. If you can buy yourself some more time or hold off on any further activities for a short period, then you may actually create a different, and better, outcome. This is a card that is all about suspension and waiting, and suggests that this may be just what you need to do in order to allow new possibilities to arise. Sometimes not acting will help to shed more light on what other options are available to you and will allow more attractive opportunities to emerge.
The Hanged Man can sometimes reflect that you are feeling stuck or restricted in your life. You need to get in touch with why you are feeling this way, and work to release yourself from these restrictions. In this way, the Hanged Man is also about letting go. You need an emotional release from whatever it is that is leaving you feeling stuck. Accept and surrender to your present circumstances. You may need to become more vulnerable and open to different experiences but this will help you end the struggle and give up your need for control. It is when you can really let go of all the worries and concerns that you have, that you find these concerns suddenly disappear and a new reality is possible.
The reversed position of the man in the Hanged Man indicates the need to look at yourself from an entirely different perspective, while the hanging indicates that your life is simply suspended for a time in order for you to recognise what needs to be changed in your personality. The tree is also abundant with leaves and vines, which suggests the possibility that the situation will bear fruit. Thus, the Hanged Man represents a reversal of your usual way of life and seeing the world from a completely different angle. Try hanging upside-down yourself and look around you. Does it not all look so different?! Your perspective has changed completely, yet the physical surroundings are exactly the same as when you were looking at it from an upright position. The Hanged Man asks you to turn your world around and view your situation differently. When you do this, you will find something new that will prove to be of greater value to you on a much deeper level. It may be that you have to sacrifice your previous beliefs or even way of life but it is a time of renewal and your life will go forward.
The Hanged Man is a willing victim, someone who has chosen the path of sacrifice to accomplish a higher goal. The Hanged Man represents the willingness to forsake the temptations of instant gratification for a higher cause, and because of this willing sacrifice he accomplishes the goals he has in his heart. He is like the ultimate martyr, putting his self-interest aside and giving up his personal needs for the greater good. Consider areas in your own life where you need to act in a more selfless manner, either for the benefit of others or for the fulfilment of your own deeper needs. On the flipside, you may need to assess your life for areas in which you are giving up too much to others at the expense of your own mental and spiritual well-being. Sometimes martyrdom can go too far!
Similarly, the Hanged Man tells you that you should be willing to lose something lesser in order to fulfil a greater goal. This goal is likely to be spiritual and personal. An investment of time, energy, and/or money may have to be made in order to reach this higher level of attainment. You are devoted to the cause and are open and ready to take on the task in front of you but first you need time to pause and consider.