12 - The Hanged Man
Upright: Suspension, restriction, letting go, sacrifice
Reversed: Indecision, delay
Hanged Man Tarot Description:
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 sacrifice to the greater good. Strive to break old patterns of behavior 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.
Upright 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 hanging indicates that your life is simply suspended for a time in order for you to recognize 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. 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 fulfillment of your own deeper needs. On the other hand, 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.
Similarly, the Hanged Man tells you that you should be willing to lose something lesser in order to fulfill 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.
Reversed Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings:
The reversed position of the man in the Hanged Man indicates the need to look at yourself from an entirely different perspective. The Hanged Man reversed represents a period when you feel you are sacrificing a lot and getting nothing in return. You may have felt things were at an absolute standstill, with no movement or resolution. It is as though you are suspended in time and unable to make a move forward, backward or even sideways to get out of your current situation. Your own goals and dreams are put on hold because of external realities or internal issues. This is an energy that is passing out of your life and you can now expect things to start happening once again and major changes to occur. This period of suspension is like a means for what is to come.
You may be putting off making a decision, in the hope that it will all sort itself out eventually. However, this is often just wishful thinking. What is happening is that you are simply stalling the inevitable and you will at some point be pushed to make a final decision and to make a sacrifice in the process. In a reading where a relationship has been put on hold, the Hanged Man reversed suggests that you are happy to wait around, to a point. You realize that this relationship will evolve over time and that, due to its complexities, it cannot be rushed. However, you also do not want to be on hold forever and you acknowledge that there will come a time when you must make a decision about your current relationship.
The Hanged Man reversed suggests a loss of faith in your ability to overcome life’s obstacles. You may be refusing to go within for spiritual nourishment. It is very important at this time to look within through meditation and restore your faith in your ability to get over life’s challenges. Know that this difficult time will soon pass. Accept your circumstances and be at peace with yourself.
Alternatively, you may be preoccupied with yourself and unwilling to make a necessary sacrifice or compromise for the greater good. You may be acting in a selfish or even arrogant manner, and significantly disengaging others who are trying to work cooperatively with you.