The 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 3
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.
- 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.
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!