The hanged man, major arcana, tarot cards

THE HANGED MAN

  • LETTING GO
  • REVERSAL
  • SUSPENSION
  • SACRIFICE



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
  • REVERSAL
  • turning the world around
  • changing your mind
  • overturning old priorities
  • seeing from a new angle
  • upending the old order
  • doing an about-face
  • SUSPENSION
  • pausing to reflect
  • feeling outside of time
  • taking time to just be
  • giving up urgency
  • living in the moment
  • waiting for the best opportunity
  • SACRIFICE
  • 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

  • Magician - acting, doing
  • Chariot - self-assertion
  • Seven of Wands - defiance, struggling against
  • Ten of Wands - struggle
  • Four of Pentacles - holding on, control

REINFORCING CARDS: Some Possibilities

  • Fool - faith in what is, going with the flow
  • High Priestess - suspending activity, waiting
  • Strength - patience, taking time
  • Four of Swords - rest, suspended activity
  • Ten of Swords - sacrifice, martyrdom

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.

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.



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