Major Arcana Tarot Cards – The Hanged Man

For those new to the Tarot, drawing the Hanged Man can be rather unsettling; the associations with the image of hanging are ones of execution, struggle and dread. However, a closer look at the card shows us that, while the figure depicted is suspended from a rope, it is by his legs and not his neck. In addition, he is upside-down but, despite that, wears a calm expression; one of serenity. Is this card one to be feared or does it have a deeper meaning?


A State of Surrender


In fact, the Hanged Man has little to do with death at all; not in the physical sense. This tarot card suggests that we are ‘hung up’ about something, that we have filled our lives with unnecessary complications. The man himself is suspended, symbolising the suspension of expectations, dreams and desires. He himself appears is a state of surrender, but willingly so. Drawing the hanged man tells us that this is not a time for action, but a time to simply be; to look deep within ourselves and try to discern what it is that is holding us back from what we are trying to achieve.


Positive Inertia


If death is associated with this card, it is in the form of sacrifice. However, this is not necessarily of physical goods. More likely, it is the sacrifice of an idea or a feeling that has been ‘getting in the way’. The Hanged Man represents a state of positive inertia, much like a meditative state. By looking within ourselves and having a psychic ‘spring clean’, we remove the obstacles that we place in our own paths. Ignoring the advice means that we are likely to engage in a struggle that is futile; action is not what is required.


In reversal, the Hanged Man carries much the same meaning; you are dangling at a crossroads, unsure of which path to take. The Tarot shows us that all the tools we need to deal with life are those we carry with us. The Hanged Man reminds is that, on occasion, we need to be still in order to move forward,


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