Meaning and Interpretation of Hanged Man Card in Tarot Reading
What does Hanged Man have in his pockets and his psyche?
What is the Story of The Hanged Man?
The Hanged Man, a symbol of wisdom and sacrifice holds hints of Nordic paganism as well as Christianity. Thus, it is one of the most fascinating cards in Tarot. It is the twelfth card of the deck, preceded by strength and followed by death. The story behind this card is that once a Fool to seek knowledge settled beneath a tree, he was intending to find his spiritual self. There he stayed beneath the tree for nine days, he barely ate or moved. Countrymen, animals, moving clouds, flowing wind, drizzling rain, the twinkling stars, the blazing sun and the cold moon passed by him. However, on the ninth day, he suddenly ascends the tree and dangles from a branch upside down. At that moment, he surrenders his complete self, he renounces all that he was, all that he seeks, and all that he had. The coins in his pockets start to fall on the ground and he looks down on them – for him those symbols of monetary wealth have become chunks of metal and there he experiences an epiphany.
Hanged Man in the Deck: Then and Now
The Hanged Man shows a man suspended upside down, hanging by his own will from a T- shaped tree, ‘Yggdrasil’ or World Tree. This tree is rooted deep down in the underworld and is known to support the heavens.
Many Psychics believe that it represents the story of Odin, the most powerful of all Nordic gods, who offered himself as a sacrifice to gain more knowledge. He hanged himself from the world tree for nine days straight, he was wounded by a spear, he did not devour any food and starved. On the last day, while looking at the runes that had fallen from the tree he realises something. He descends immediately and picks those runes in his hands and declares that the knowledge he was seeking is stored in those runes.
Some readers suggest that this card was known as “The Traitor” card in the older decks, as in some countries traitors were hanged just like that. Few other readers speculate that the card symbolises the phase where a baby topples upside down in a mothers’ womb to take birth, hanging from the umbilical cord.
Hanged Man carries a serene and calm look on his face while his right foot is bound to the branches and his left foot is free and bent to make an inverted ‘4’. Sometimes his hands are bound in the back forming an inverted triangle, and sometimes they dangle. The man is seen wearing red pants representing the human passion of the physical body and the blue shirt represents knowledge and calmness. The yellow in his shoe, hair and halo shows his intellect and wisdom. This combination is commonly seen in saints.
Hence, the hanged man is the ultimate symbol of surrender and martyrdom, representing sacrifice for the greater good.
What does the card signify?
The most significant thing about this card is its state of suspension. The querent might feel that they are clasped between things and time. They await timelessly for things to resume, where one thing has already ended, and the next thing has not yet begun. They are afloat in uncertainty.
When a Hanged Man appears in a tarot one must expect an unexpected halt, It reminds us that sometimes one has to pause everything to take the next step. It asks one to surrender and reassess their lives. It signifies that something new is evolving and celebrates the changes in one’s perspective. This suspension allows one to dangle between both the mundane and the spiritual worlds. This new way of seeing things leads to greater insights into one’s doubts which the Hanged Man wanted to achieve through his sacrifice.
One might also put out a reversed Hanged Man, for them, it is not a relaxing state of mind, the querent might feel that they are stuck and are unable to make any decision. This happens in situations of restriction, grief, uncertainty, or simply at a time in life where the wheel of fortune is stuck for a while. This person needs to pause but they resist it. Their spirit and body ask them to slow down, but the mind keeps racing. They keep themselves busy and ignore actual issues that need attention.
However, one must remember that Tarot cards do not predict the future. Through a Tarot reading, it becomes easier for one to figure out the confusion and have more faith in your intuitions while allowing you to reflect on your own beliefs.