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Updated: Nov 26, 2021

The Hanged Man is a powerful card that asks us to step outside of our normal view of reality and look at the situation from a different perspective, stating quietly that we may have to turn our world upside down to understand the situation.

The posture of The Hanged Man in the traditional Rider Waite Tarot deck; that influences so many other decks, shows a man hung upside down by one ankle, with his hands bound. This form was commonly used in 'Pittura Infamante' a form of artwork created to debase criminals; particularly those seen as traitors to the crown of Italy (Hanging by one foot was a prolonged and excruciating form of death, reserved for Traitors). Knowing this image we could see how this card was representative of wrongdoings, but in fact, it is more interested in telling us that the man hanging or those who receive this card need to consider things in a way that is unlike what they have believed before.

The Hanged Man is a card of surrender; of allowing one's mind to open to possibilities beyond the knowing of our day-in, day-out lives! Even in the earlier decks that depict The Hanged Man as a 'pittura infamante' (hanging by one foot, bound like a traitor), you will notice that his head is illuminated in some way; such as a glowing halo or oak leaves in the mouth, representing. This Halo is representative of the expansion of our mind that happens when we surrender (or are forced) to look at our situation from a different perspective. It is important to see that his eyes are open in every depiction I have seen; showing that while he has surrendered to his fate, he is there to earn what he can.

As a follower of Odin, I cannot help but be reminded of how he hung himself from Yggdrasil; the world tree to attain the wisdom of the Runes. Sacrificed to himself, by himself, Odin hung suspended for nine days with no food, no water, and a spear in his side. At the end of his ordeal, he was rewarded with the knowledge of the Runes. While I don't believe I need to physically hang myself, I do understand the sentiment. As a god of war, Odin needed to change his perspective drastically to become what he was not yet; a poet and magic user. After his time suspended from the World Tree he could no longer return to his regular life, in fact, he had come to the tree to surrender himself that he may be transformed.

When The Hanged Man presents itself in our life we are being asked to choose a different perspective, one that may be far out of our normal way of thinking. Often this change is unexpected, and earth-shaking; making it hard to avoid. Most of us can think of moments when we were forced to surrender to the will of the Universe; our lives were completely thrown about, we had no choice but to surrender. It is through this surrender that our perspective is changed, and our consciousness is opened.

I went through such a moment on a major scale twenty years ago. I describe my experience in my memoir Jump Girl . The November Incident; as I refer to my experience was a series of psychic events that turned my world upside down and made me question my sanity before finally turning me right again; only right side up was altered, my experiences granting me a broader view of reality than I had prior.

When The Hanged Man shows up in our life we must prepare ourselves for things to take an alternative path, one in which our way of seeing the world will be challenged. What kind of change it brings is dependant on the querent (person being read) as we are all different. My experience was in some ways extreme; my whole view of reality totally rearranged as my psychic consciousness and ability to experience the spirit world was turned way the fuck up! It's important to know I had spent my life working and studying psychic development prior to that point, making it a natural expansion. We all experience The Hanged Man in ways that are in alignment with our own growth. With this in mind, we must remember that like Odin we in some way went searching for this growth. Even if we look at The Hanged Man as a traitor to the crown, such as his body positioning; the pittura infamante depicts, we must ask ourselves 'What crown is he, traitor, too?'. By the look of contemplation and acceptance on his face, I would suggest he is a traitor to ways that no longer serve, turning his back on what was in order to find a new way of understanding the world. Many great thinkers were persecuted as traitors for thoughts; that proved to be true, that were outside of the accepted norm.

In many ways we are all experiencing The Hanged Man right now; the pandemic forcing us to look at the world and our choices differently. Do not fear The Hanged Man, while his path may contain hardship it is the kind that is rebuilding our foundation, making us better and more equipped for the world we live in. Surrender is key when you experience the topsy-turvy world of The Hanged Man, letting go of expectations and allowing the Universe to show us marvels will make the process more joyful. We are all here to expand our consciousness, how we do so is up to us. I go willingly...

spreading love-salicrow

THE HANGED MAN is part of a 22 part series that you can find here on my blog-


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