Tarot Meditation: The Hanged Man

Posted: January 31, 2016 in Spiritual Journey

RWS_Tarot_12_Hanged_ManI’ll begin by saying that, for me, The Hanged Man is a card that makes much more sense when viewed upside down. In fact it’s one of the biggest arguments I could give for why card reversals should be included, interpreted and contemplated. When viewed upside down this card depicts a figure seemingly either lightly hopping into the air, or actually floating, with only a thin tether holding them to the ground, to reality. In the reversal, the glowing halo around the face and drifting hair make a lot of sense. But the upright meaning is puzzling. The connection to the divine is less clear. That said, I of course have my own particular take on this.

Of course I;m gong to love a card that very closely resembles a self-suspension, and from that perspective the feeling of this figure being disconnected from the world, of his being able to see things which cannot be seen normally, does make sense. Taken on a very literal level, this is a figure who has wisdom simply because they look at the world from a different perspective. It puts me in mind of the old idea that life makes sense when viewed backwards, but unfortunately must be lived forwards.

One more note, on the wording of the title. Hanged has a very particular meaning. It is not the past tense of hang in the conventional sense (i.e. hung). Instead it’s a word that solely refers to capital punishment, death by hanging. This obviously confounds with the image presented in the card. The depicted situation, whilst not comfortable, is far from an effective means of execution. But what it brings with it is the idea of death, and of unwilling death. Is the figure already dead? And hung up as an example to others. This doesn’t quite fit, but perhaps the idea of death, of facing death, has some connection to the undertones of divinity, of spirituality, of being disconnected from the world, that come with this card.


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