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The Hanged Man In Tarot

The Hanged Man In TarotThe scene in the card.

When you look at the Hanged Man in Tarot you see a man literally hanging up side down from a tree from his right foot with his left foot free and bent to the right. He has a halo around his head (some say the Hanged Man in Tarot relates to the symbolism of the crucifixion of Christ). His arms are bent and tucked behind his back.

The Major Arcana.

Tarot decks are divided into two distinct sections-one section is recognized as the Major Arcana and the other is the Minor Arcana. The Hanged Man is card number 12 in the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana cards have a heavier weighting in Tarot readings as they reflect bigger life themes than the more transient nature of the Minor Arcana cards.

The number 12= the number 3Number Three

In Tarot, numbers are significant as they reflect certain vibrations which give rise to energy traits as well as personality traits or common life themes. Tarot reflects Numerology in the way that when the number is a double digit it is added together to reduce to a single number. Therefore, The Hanged man resonates with the number 3, which coincidentally relates to the triad: Past, Present and Future; Body, Mind and Soul or God the Father, Jesus the Son and The Holy Spirit.

Whatever your set of beliefs, there is no denying the biblical symbolism in this card. The shape his arms form (an inverted triangle) as well as his left leg (also a triangle) further point to the idea of three points of reference, and given the calm look on his face it seems he is hanging there by choice (in line with the martyrdom of Jesus sacrificing his life for the greater good). Therefore this card suggests when you come across this card it might be a time to practice the ultimate surrender in order to move forward. It is not a time for action, or swift decisions. This card suggests there is already a lot going on underneath, and the more you try and push something right now, the harder you will make your life.

Everyday situations where you might experience the Hanged Man.

  • You have just done a job interview and have been told the decision will be delivered to you within two weeks. You are restless and really want to know if you got the job because you have been eyeing it off for a while. However, you must wait and be patient. Calling them up everyday to find out about a result is not going to do you any favours, so you must surrender to the decision that others will be making about your future. Better to turn your focus else where as wanting it too much may actually result in not getting it due to the strange Laws of the Universe.
  • You have a keen romantic interest in someone and you think there is some potential for a chance of a good relationship with. However, this person has just been through a messy break up and is not yet ready for a new love affair as they need time to grieve the old one. All you can do is surrender to a waiting period and decide how long you are willing to wait. There is nothing you can do to speed their grieving process up, so you are suspended for a while in time. You must turn within and find inner stillness and peace  so you don’t ruin your chances of happiness with this person, or paradoxically, someone else.The Hanged Man In Tarot
  • You have hurt a close friend of yours by something you did, and now feel completely remorseful. You have apologized many times, yet they are not ready to forgive you and move on. You therefore have to play a waiting game and find a way to surrender to the inner turmoil and let go rather than push the situation. It is out of your hands now.

These are just a few basic examples of where the Hanged Man might show his energy to you, but on the whole, this is actually a deeply spiritual card in that it represents the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good, or a moment where time feels as if it is standing still, yet you want it not to feel like that. Underneath the surface there is actually a lot going on but it prompts you to bring your attention within rather than to external pursuits.

Things you can do to help you when faced with this card.

Despite the card indicating that it is better to take no action, there are actually some things you can do to make the waiting game pass over you which will help you keep a serene face just as the Hanged Man’s face is depicted. When you are faced with the Hanged Man the time may be ripe to begin a meditation practice and still your mind of the mental chatter and the ego that is telling you to ‘do do do!’ rather than just ‘be’.

Another fantastic tool which I can highly recommend during times of restlessness and angst is spending some time learning about energy healing and how it relates to your situation. One online course I would recommend is called ‘Duality’ by Jeffrey Allen. ‘Duality’ is an 8 week guided meditation course where you explore how the mind and spirit can affect the physical world. It is loaded with practical suggestions for a wide variety of situations you may come across in your life that cause you stress or tension. I have often been skeptical of such spiritual or ‘energy’ concepts in the past, but I thought I had nothing to lose by giving the course ago, and I was really glad I did. In fact, I am planning on taking it again soon. Now it is one of my top recommended spiritual development tools.

In summary.

The Hanged Man at its most basic represents a paradox in life where in order to make something happen we have to let go and just be. It is about going with the flow and it can leave you feeling like you need to sacrifice something. But perhaps at the heart of this feeling is the need to sacrifice the ego in order to allow your spirit or intuition to wisely guide you.

What situations in your life have you been through where you knew you just had to wait it out? I would love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment below and let me know!

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19 thoughts on “The Hanged Man In Tarot”

    1. Hey Victor-I think I am experiencing the Hanged Man right now! I want to go forth and create a brand new career for myself, however, my daughter is very young, my partner is studying and working at the same time and I am not yet decided about a second child. So in the interest of keeping things balanced around our house hold for now, I have postponed my own study for another 6 months because my intuition tells me that now is not the right time to forge ahead. What about you?

  1. I’m in a “hanging man” situation right now, waiting to hear from a potential job-of-my-dreams that would imply big life changes and I am just too impatient to wait for them to call but at the same time, the more relaxed I am the more I would be suited for the job, so I need not to show impatience!
    It’s good to know that sometimes letting go is the way to make things work. Quite a paradox though!

    1. Hey Paula. Oooh I hope you get the job of your dreams! Find some tools that work for you to help you divert your attention from wanting it too much! Good luck.

  2. Hi Liz,

    It is so interesting to know that the hanged man is actually not a bad card as it sounds. It symbolizes the biblical meaning to stay calm and accept the situation as it is for bigger meaning. It shows how great Jesus is to sacrifice himself for us. I like the way you relate this card to the examples and what yoga method we can follow so that we are not forcing ourselves to do something that will backfire later on. It helps us to meditate and stay calm.

    1. Hey Jenna, yes meditation and staying calm or relaxation of some sort are the only real solutions in this instance. And I guess, distraction.

  3. There have been many times when I knew I just had to wait it out. Even though in tough times, I must find a solution to close the door behind me, it’s not always possible because it’s not always just up to me. Those times are tough. Be it personal or professional…not easy. And sometimes we have to make sacrifices. Even little ones like giving in when we’re wrong or or being stubborn. This happens to the best of us 😉

    Thanks for your post and enlightenment. It’s very interesting to find out about tarot cards and the meanings behind them. I’d like to get a reading one day.

    1. Hey Liz. Nice name by the way 😉 I know what you mean exactly. I have a hard time letting go of the reigns.
      Feel free to drop me an email if you would like a reading to gain more clarity on a situation you may be facing at the moment. I am currently doing email readings. Send to info@mindbodytarot.com. Thanks for your comment!

  4. What a fantastic post to read,

    I’ve never been to a Tarot reading but have always been curious as to how it works and what meanings you draw from it. This was really interesting to see how the meaning is drawn from the symbolism on the card. I really liked the part where you offered examples of the card reading in “normal” day to day life.

    Cheers!

  5. Hello Liz,

    I have always found Tarot to be very interesting. I have certainly experienced the energy of the Hanging Man, and it can be difficult to wait for an outcome as time appears to stand still. In fact, I am in one of those times in life right now where I am pretty sure that my Tarot would reveal a Hanged Man 🙂 Your advise on how to “wait” was wonderful. I have recently engaged in a meditation practice, and it has helped me feel more at peace with the process of waiting, while the outcome makes it way towards me. Great blog, and awesome article.

    1. Thanks Ciandress. Great you have found meditation to be helpful. I personally feel meditation is like brushing my teeth everyday-I need to do it, even if it is only a short time of focussed attention. If you would like a free email Tarot reading this month to get deeper insight on your direction, click here.

  6. Well.. I got the hanged man in the results of a tarot. This is so apt. I actually gave interviews to two colleges. And I cleared one which is like a good college. But the other one I could not clear, is much much better than the other one. Now I can try again for the better college after an year. And if I could clear it, it would be worth the year. Now I just don’t understand what would the “surrender” mean in my case. To go for the good college now and letting go of the better or to try for the better one and let go of the good college now. Wonder if you could help. Loved the post 🙂

    1. Please if you could help, I would love your advice. I just have a week left to make the decision.

    2. Hi Chelsea, thanks for your comment and sorry for late reply. In the case of the Hanged man regarding which college it could mean either choice. This is where you have to tap into your own intuition and get really quiet within your self. I would recommend you sit quietly and calm your mind and body through conscious relaxation, and then spend some time feeling your way through imagining you made one of the choices, then after you have done that, feel your way into the other choice. The way you will know which is the right choice for you is whether your heart centre feels ‘bigger’ with one of the choices. You will get a sense of expansion within your heart or maybe throat area-it will kind of feel like an ‘opening’ where the other choice will feel like a kind of contraction. You have to be relaxed to experience this so, go in with an open mind and drop into your body. This is where the surrender is I feel for you-to let go of worry and start feeling in your heart. I hope that helps. Let me know how you go!

  7. I find tarot cards, and readings, so interesting! I have experienced the hanged man in my everyday life a bit. Always making swift decisions, and taking action, when I shouldn’t have. But i’m learning to be patient, maybe I need to do some meditating, to help clear my mind and relax a bit.

    1. Hi Audra, using Tarot cards can certainly help you to slow your mind down and consider your options and tap into your gut feelings. This can help you make more measured decisions rather than reactionary decisions. But they are just a guide rather than something that is predictive and serve to highlight what might be going on in your consciousness without you being aware of it. Meditation is always a good idea for making clear decisions!

  8. Hi ! I got the hanged man regarding a friendship… One friend who was really close met someone and now lives far away… since he met that girl, Its like I don’t exist anymore… he keeps saying that his life has changed … but how can you stop to care about someone like he does???

    1. Hi Caro, sorry to hear you are experiencing this at the moment. The Hanged man in this instance indicates that you are sacrificing your happiness for this person who no longer seems to want to contact you. It is like you are having a hard time moving on from the change and it feels like time is standing still for you at this moment. You can’t really stop caring about someone (and this is a good thing because it shows you are full of heart), however, you can turn more of your attention to other things in life that make you happy, and over time new things and people and experiences will enter into your life, and all of a sudden, your life will have changed too! Hugs, and chin up!xx

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