THE HANGED MAN



[ Actions ] [ Opposing Cards ] [ Reinforcing Cards ] [ Description ] [ Reversed? ]

ACTIONS

letting go
having an emotional release
accepting what is
surrendering to experience
ending the struggle
being vulnerable and open
giving up control
accepting God's will

reversing
turning the world around
changing your mind
overturning old priorities
seeing from a new angle
upending the old order
doing an about-face

suspending action
pausing to reflect
feeling outside of time
taking time to just be
giving up urgency
living in the moment
waiting for the best opportunity

sacrificing
being a martyr
renouncing a claim
putting self-interest aside
going one step back to go two steps forward
giving up for a higher cause
putting others first


OPPOSING CARDS: Some Possibilities


REINFORCING CARDS: Some Possibilities


DESCRIPTION

The Hanged Man is one of the most mysterious cards in the tarot deck. It is simple, but complex. It attracts, but also disturbs. It contradicts itself in countless ways. The Hanged Man is unsettling because it symbolizes the action of paradox in our lives. A paradox is something that appears contradictory, and yet is true. The Hanged Man presents to us certain truths, but they are hidden in their opposites.

The main lesson of the Hanged Man is that we "control" by letting go - we "win" by surrendering. The figure on Card 12 has made the ultimate surrender - to die on the cross of his own travails - yet he shines with the glory of divine understanding. He has sacrificed himself, but he emerges the victor. The Hanged Man also tells us that we can "move forward" by standing still. By suspending time, we can have all the time in the world.

In readings, the Hanged Man reminds us that the best approach to a problem is not always the most obvious. When we most want to force our will on someone, that is when we should release. When we most want to have our own way, that is when we should sacrifice. When we most want to act, that is when we should wait. The irony is that by making these contradictory moves, we find what we are looking for.

See also the Fool's Journey.


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