The hanged man showed up in my last Tarot reading with a message of “A little shift in perception, that’s all that was needed.”
The core meaning of the card is: Willing surrender to an experience or situation.
The Hanged Man comes to us as the number 12 of the deck as a major Arcana Card with the higher octave of the number 3. It represents 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.
I did some research of what the book said about the card, as well as exploring other resources, and including my own interpretation. Am I about to pick what I want the card to mean? No, but it has to be fitting to me, to my current situation, while the message is personal to only my circumstances. No two situations are ever alike, and there might be a different meaning, for different people, at different times.
Here is a collection of info and thoughts about this card. If you follow my blog and have been a part of my journey, you will easily see the message here and that it confirms prior events while guiding new outcomes.
The Hanged Man reflects a need to suspend action. Decisions or actions will be postponed for more time to reflect on the situation at hand and to consider the greater good. This is a card that is all about suspension and waiting, and suggest 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 and allow more attractive opportunities to emerge. The Hanged Man can also be about letting go and needing an emotional release. There seems to be a lot of it lately. Everywhere and not just with me.
God knows that I have surrendered to this experience and this situation. I almost stopped time if you will. Of course it continues to tick away, but the stress of trying to accomplish whatever it was I so desperately felt I had to, has fallen to the wayside. In relation to a given situation, the Hanged Man has confirmed that I am on track and that everything is how it needs to be. He indicates that this is not the time to attempt to enforce your will to get a favorable outcome. The way forward is to remain calm and focus on what is taking place inwardly rather than outwardly. This pause gives you the space to reflect and to see all of the facets of the situation. Like I said before, coming home has been far greater than doing what is expected of me. It’s been a journey of healing and reconciliation, for Mom and myself. It is therapy for the help we never received. Surrender teaches not to expect a particular outcome. I had to learn to let go of wanting, of my expectations for more, too fast, and it will enable me to see whatever events do occur from a different, broader perspective. It feels as if the core meaning of this card has been met.
The Victorian era has a reputation for preferring strict control of all things at all times. And really, we modern humans also prefer order to the chaos. Knowing what is expected of us and what to expect from our environment allows us to feel secure. We don’t need to worry about our general safety and can get on with other, more important things.
Inventors, creators, and anyone who has ever had a brilliant idea know that being safe is not always conducive to flashes of genius. Sometimes we need to be turned on our head, figuratively or even literally, rather like our Hanged Man here. If you turn this card upside down, you notice his legs create the number 4, a symbol of stability, security and safety, and also, in it’s extreme incarnation, of stagnation. Our man has been turned upside down, allowing him to see things from a completely different point of view. And if you ask me, he doesn’t seem to mind, he looks perfectly content and at ease to me. He is not not worried that his life has turned upside down. The stagnant and uninspired state has been shaken.
The Hanged Man Card symbolizes that a state of inner peace and acceptance has been reached. There is a strong spiritual element to this card, based on the knowledge that whatever is meant to occur will happen when the time is right. Unlike the Strength card, no aspect of life is subjugated by the will. The Hanged Man brings an attitude of patience and of surrender to the natural order.
The Hanged Man is a willing victim, someone who has chosen the path to sacrifice to accomplish a higher goal. I realize once more that I didn’t come this far for no reason and that the purpose perhaps was even greater than that I could comprehend at the time. 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 interests aside and giving up his personal needs for the greater good. On the flip side, 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. This is my warning and balance is key. I can’t be of help to others, giving to a point it is damaging to me. Sometimes martyrdom can go too far!
His willingness to sacrifice bares vulnerability. Allowing himself to be put in this position is a sacrifice of his dignity, his safety, and his worldview. This posture with his feet above his head, represents a temporary override of the mind and it’s analytical approach. The striving for order and rationality is out in hiatus. While the head is associated with logic, feet correspond to our connection with the earth. The elevation of his feet represents placing higher value on his connection to nature. For a time, he is experiencing the world differently than is his wont. He must remain so long enough to relax, long enough for the vines to nutate around his wrists and for nature to cover his chains. The vines also suggest the possibility that the situation will bear fruit. In return for his sacrifice, he gains illumination, a moment of intense brightness when everything, at least for a moment, falls into perfect place. The halo around his head suggest intense spiritual growth and enlightenment. The basic, gray background of rock is a reminder to stay humble and not to flaunt his new attained spirituality. Few would understand and no reassurance or understanding is needed. The journey is unique and already approved.
If the Hanged Man pays a visit to your reading, prepare yourself for some sort of epiphany. But first, expect an uncomfortable time. Let go of your safety nets, sacrifice your worldview, and trust the universe. You cannot rush this experience, so you may as well settle down and just take a look around. No doubt things will look different from here; enjoy the view.