The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man (XII) is one of those cards that looks more terrible than it actually is. He isn’t being hung by the neck, but rather by the right ankle from a living tau cross, which symbolizes salvation through sacrifice of worldly things. He wears both blue and red: red symbolizing the fire of life, and blue symbolizing serenity and the mind. His shoes and hair are both gold, glowing with idealism.
His left leg is bent behind his right leg, like a 4 upside down. 4 is the number representing balance of the elements, and the legs make their own cross. His arms are behind his back, we don’t know if they’re tied up, or if he’s free to untie himself. Yet, he is serene. He has a halo around his head, symbolizing his spiritual awareness.
This card is one of the most esoteric and deceptive of the major arcana. Its meaning is highly personal and may represent a side of the querent or situation the querent is in that they don’t want to readily admit to existing. After all, who wants to admit to being helpless or caught in a jam?
On the other hand, the deceptive nature of the hanged man makes him difficult to trust. After all, if his hands aren’t tied, can he not free himself at a moment’s notice? He may look serene, but he really a maverick?
When this card is drawn, it represents a situation in which the querent is given the option to surrender and let things happen as they may. However, it can also show that the querent has more power than they let on, and others may underestimate them.
This card can also represent the deliberate withholding of using one’s power. It calls the querent to wait and see what develops before taking any action, or cutting themselves loose and leaving the situation.
The Hanged Man is making a sacrifice of some sort, whether he is doing it willingly or unwillingly, whether he has no choice or absolutely has a choice.
Either way, the querent is at a crossroads and some irreversible decision or action is inevitable. The Hanged Man tells them to take their time and choose wisely.
When the Hanged Man card is Reversed:
The Hanged Man reversed tells the querent that they’re sacrificing, waiting, or biding their time but for nothing in return. Or, they think they have the power to change their mind about something, but they actually don’t, and their sacrifice is total and absolute. They have to let go of the past, accept what has transpired, and move on.
The Hanged Man reversed may also mean that the querent refuses to make a decision. If they don’t act now, someone or something will make the decision for them.
This card may also signify a person who has simply given up and no long has the will to keep going. They’re swaying in the breeze letting life happen to them. They have to get their mojo back and find direction.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, this person has made a lot of sacrifices for the sake of others, or has simply waited or done nothing, making no decisions to see through.
Present: Right now, this person either needs to wait and see what will transpire before taking action, or they need to give up and move on.
Future: There will come a point where the querent has done all they can do and will simply have to wait or move on.