hanged man

Oh, this card! There he is, that guy, just hanging there upside down. *massive sigh*. Is it torture? A punishment? Crucifixion? Certainly, at this particular moment he doesn’t appear to be master of his own fate.


This is the card pointing to my “near future” experience in my New Year’s reading (see it here, and also read what I believe about how tarot cards work). You know in movies when the hero is running headlong through the jungle, and then he accidentally springs the rope snare and boinggg, he’s hanging upside down by one leg? That’s this card.

It’s a helplessness card, a waiting card. *another massive sigh*. It signifies being hung up, being forced to hang in there. When outward movement is suspended we have no choice but to turn inward.

The Hanged Man, number 12 of the major arcana, is part of the ego sequence- the path of discovering who we really are, of testing our resilience and our ability to hold it together under duress.

I’m told this is only tarot card associated with a specific myth. The Norse god Odin hung himself for nine nights from Yggdrasil, the tree of knowledge, in order to attain some special runes he’d been seeking.

Looking at it that way, maybe the Hanged Man isn’t so much about getting snared as about performing (or at least acquiescing to) a wilful self-sacrifice to attain insight. All that blood flowing to the brain must be good for something, right? And the enlightenment idea is visually underscored on the card by the man’s yogic posture and serene expression, to say nothing of the halo.

The world does look pretty interesting upside down.

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