Card 12: The Hanged Man


In Numerology: 12
Star Sign or Planet: Neptune
Yes or No answer: This card says Maybe
Key dates: None

The Hanged Man in an Upright Position

The Hanged Man indicates a situation where surrender is needed. There is a need for the querent to search themselves for the answers to their questions and to make change happen. There is a need to use intellect; the Hanged Man shows this by standing on his head, and thus energy is carried by gravity to his head signifying that the head needs to rule the heart in this situation. There is a need to reason with oneself and come to terms with the fact that sometimes the only thing that can be done is to lay in wait: apathetic or open to any and all of the situations and things that come his way.  There may be delays with decisions; things are being blocked from running their course. The querent may have to postpone plans or cancel meetings.

The querent is asked to sacrifice something in order to attain a goal or gain favour, possessions, or something of value. There may also be someone close to the querent who is making sacrifices. The querent may have to put their interests aside, so they may help another person with their problems or challenges. There is spiritual enlightenment in the future for the querent or person in their circle that is making sacrifices and surrendering to the powers above. Someone may change their minds about something. Letting go is a definite theme of this card, and there are indications that letting go is an excellent thing to do in whatever situation you’re in. This is similar to the saying, ‘Let go and let God.’

The Hanged Man in a Reversed Position

When the Hanged Man is found in a reversed position, he is no longer surrendering to anything, and is displayed balancing on one foot but upright. He is still attached to his cross, and still maintains his pose of complete openness. This is thought to more of a pretension. It seems that the Hanged Man is pretending to have made sacrifices or given up something but may have intentions of picking his habits and behaviours back up when no one is looking. The Hanged Man here is attached to his prop, meaning that there is a person in the querent’s wake that may be using gimmicks to convince another, or this may be the querent themselves. There is caution in a reversed Hanged Man: to avoid being caught in a stagnant position or falling prey to blockages of energy that can stall your progress on way to your goal. The querent could be stalling on an important decision or business matter, which will work out terribly. Thus, the querent is advised against procrastination and indecisiveness.

Regardless of what circumstances the querent finds themselves in, it is imperative that they take on a proactive attitude when the Hanged Man is reversed in a spread. Pretending to make sacrifices or pretending to have given up something only to take it back up when no one is looking. There is a call for being genuine about oneself and honest about what one has done to contribute or not contribute to a problem. This is a good time of self-evaluation. The reversal of the Hanged man shows this well: it begs the question of if the querent is being honest with himself and really taking all of the necessary steps to attain a dream. If they are not willing to give up everything, than they are not deserving of their reward. The way the Hanged Man stands on his one foot signifies doing things only for their value when attempting to impress people. The querent may be putting on a show, or someone in their circle is putting on the show in order to impress you or influence the outcome of a specific situation. This is a warning to watch out for people who embellish things and exaggerate the truth to suit their purposes. The Hanged Man is observed to be quite content in his position, so a reversed Hanged Man in a spread foretells of one who is not concerned with the sacrifices or suffering of others but is fairly content with himself and his choices.

Symbolism and History of the Hanged Man

There is a man depicted in The Hanged Man that is hanging upside down with his hands seemingly tied behind his back. He is in a prone position: unable to move or fight off whatever comes his way. This vulnerability is the true essence of the Hanged Man and his message. However this card does not show the man who is hanging upside down in pain but in quiet acceptance of his fate. It is as if he is making a sacrifice of some sort. He is also free of bindings that would hold him in this hanging position; therefore, he is hanged by choice, and could be holding himself up. This is a card that is about life, and not death or despair. There is a feeling that whatever happens to the content man standing on his head is for the best, meant to be, or deserved.

The Hanged Man is considered to be Card 12 in the tarot deck. His pose shows that he is rather relaxed and open to the what the world and unseen forces have in store for him. The shapes his legs make show triangles and crosses that signify the elemental energy of water or emotion as well as holiness. There is a feeling of martyrdom that comes with this card, and an attitude of the man ‘doing it to himself’ rather than being a victim of circumstance. He has placed himself up on the cross and is awaiting his fate as if he is relinquishing control to the powers that be with clear knowing that he is doing what he is meant to do. He is leaving everything up to God, which indicates a need for letting go and surrendering in current circumstances.

Key Terms

Surrender, Trust in the divine, Making sacrifices, Letting fate take its course, Stagnancy, Apathy.

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