Interpreting the Hanged Man Tarot Card

An introduction to the meaning of the Hanged Man tarot card

Hanged Man Tarot Card The Hanged Man tarot card conjures up an immediate emotional reaction as the image is morbid on the surface level, depicting a man hung up by his feet, his hands seemingly tied behind his back, an unnatural position suggesting what could be interpreted as torture or abuse. However, a careful reading reveals that the Hanged Man has chosen to restrain himself in such a way, his face peaceful and absent of pain or suffering, suspended between the heavens and the earth while tapping into the energy of both. He is in a state of inactivity, meditating and reflecting upon past actions and thoughts, not planning or creating, but refining and observing the world he has come to understand through past experiences.

The Hanged Man represents the slow, still flowing waters of the inner psyche, calmed by the need to stop and collect all the old aspects of ourselves, and by doing so, gaining a sense of peace, clarity, and understanding of who we are and where we want to go. Before we can take the initiative of the Chariot tarot card, we must enter the motionless stage of emotional and spiritual organization that is characteristic of the Hanged Man.

Vulnerable and exposed, defenceless and open, the Hanged Man has surrendered himself physically in order to unleash his spirit as it wanders temporarily directionless on a venture for the ultimate truth to himself, why he exists, where he wants to travel to in the near future, and what actions he should take to arrive at that destination. The limbs responsible for movement and use, referring to the legs for walking and running, and the hands for holding various objects such as tools and other devices, are contained and deprived of action and mobility, not paralyzed but passively resigned to rest, allowing the soul to speak while the body listens. The Hanged Man thus symbolizes the moments in our lives when we need to take a step back in order to see the entire picture clearly, and in full-view, allowing ourselves the gift of serenity by the means of surrender.

It's meaning in a Tarot Card Spread

The meaning of the Hanged Man tarot card is influenced by the position of the card as it is drawn from the deck, the position it occupies in the card layout, and by the cards that are positioned before and after it.

The Hanged Man tarot card - upright meaning:
When the Hanged Man card lands in the upright position it indicates a time to be patient and wait. There is wisdom in doing nothing at all. A sacrifice of some sort may also be required and occasionally there's a need to step back and re-do or re-think before moving forward.

The Hanged Man tarot card - reversed meaning:
When the Hanged Man card is in the upside-down/reversed position it's a warning to stop trying to take the easy way out. Time is being wasted. Procrastination may be or become a serious problem.

This position screams out: "What are you waiting for?"

Keywords/phrases associated with the Hanged Man tarot card:

Upright - sacrifice, waiting, patience, reflection, hope, faith

Reversed - wasting time, procrastination, escapism, indecision, undisciplined

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Meaning in a Tarot Spread

Meaning Upright

Meaning Reversed