The Hanged Man Card Definitions


KEYWORDS: Delays, Devotion, Sacrifices, Martyrdom, Reversal, Holding Back

CARD DEFINITION: You need to rise above this material world. There is more to life than the small mundane issues. Give others time to get used to your way of thinking. This is the time for sacrificing and waiting for better things in life. This is a rebirth period in your life.

REVERSE DEFINITION: Your sacrifice might be useless. You are confused about your goals in life. There is a lack of commitment and selfish motives in your actions. There is no excuse for laziness. There is always another avenue open if one avenue closes.

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Interpreting The Ace of Cups

The Hanged Man is the thirteenth card in the sequence of the tarot deck. However, the Hanged Man has nothing to do with matters of life and death as one may be inclined to think at first glance. Instead, he deals with the realms of stasis and suspension, as well as the benefits that can be attached to such concepts when they are fully and willingly embraced as part of the natural progression of things.

Getting in touch with the wisdom the Hanged Man offers us cannot be achieved by searching far and wide out in the world. It can only be found by looking within. The lesson he teaches is also one of the type that is easy enough to understand from the outside looking in, but sometimes difficult to actually apply to oneself. Grasping it successfully not only calls for deep introspection and development of self awareness of the highest order, but also the relinquishing of one's inherent desire for control over a given situation. In this way, the Hanged Man's lesson is also a lesson of sacrifice. A man must first be willing to let go of what he has before he can finally get what he wants.

The traditional tarot image attached to the concept of the Hanged Man shows him hanging suspended upside down from a Tau cross made of wood. His legs are positioned in such a way to form a fylot cross as well. Around the Hanged Man's head is a nimbus of light that suggests a state of enlightenment, although many tarot readers alternatively feel it represents martyrdom. It is extremely important to note that the expression on the figure's face is not one of tortured suffering or pain, but rather one that suggests patience and a mind at peace with the situation at hand. It is also noteworthy that the wood of the cross he is suspended from is not dead, but living, green, and growing. The image as a whole is undoubtedly one that deals with suspension. However it is suspension within the confines of life itself and has nothing to do with death. In this way, both the image and the concept it represents is reminiscent of the story of the Norse god Odin who hung suspended from the Tree of Life for nine days in order to gain powerful knowledge.

When the Hanged Man makes an appearance in a tarot spread, he signals a period of time that will be largely characterized by meditation, sacrifice, prophecy, or introspection. Enlightenment in regards to the situation at hand can only be achieved by letting go of preconceived expectations and giving up the need for control. Once this is accomplished, the way forward will quickly become clear and the solution to the querent's dilemma will naturally present itself. A profound change in world view or personal approach could also be a possible result upon resolution of the querent's dilemma.

Alternatively, the Hanged Man can herald the coming of a time when life will slow down and become static for a while. This would be a time during which the querent should take some much needed time out to rest and reflect before moving on to the next big thing. As is the case with interpretation of the meaning of any of the tarot cards, the surrounding cards and positioning of the Hanged Man in the spread will lend more insight into the specifics of the situation being foretold.