This Tarot Card Calls for a Profound Pause
In this series, Jamie Richardson of Ember + Aura Tarot explains how to embrace the message of each major arcana card.
The major arcana in Tarot, commonly known as the Fool’s Journey, follows the highs and lows of our own spiritual development. Falling at lucky thirteen in this series is The Hanged One (or Hanged Man). With its lifeless position, this card may at first induce anxiety and seem to signal dreadful things to come. As with so many cards in the Tarot deck, however, there is more to this figure than meets the eye.
When the Hanged One descends, one is being called into an initiation of sorts. Real growth cannot be achieved without a sharp and drastic change in our attitude and perspective. This involves an actual suspension- a time of putting life on hold, as well as a shift in the way we view our world. What better way to experience this change than by turning our entire “self’ upside down? If accepted, this invitation will lead one down a path of deep inner work.
Legendary heroes, embedded in our subconscious, have temporarily been hung or suspended in order to receive a vision and achieve personal transformation. For example, Odin in Norse mythology and Jesus of Nazareth in the Christian tradition were both hung from trees. Each understood that in order to attain new life, they first had to die. Whether or not this death is symbolic, the old self is surrendered and the higher self is born.
When The Hanged One shows up, you can be certain that you are being called to cross over to higher consciousness. This will be a time of intense and intentional surrender. Hanging upside down goes against our natural sense of gravity, as well as our personal need to maintain control. When we reverse the direction of our internal systems, we are proclaiming that any change is possible. We are sacrificing our dependency on things staying the same, or staying safe, in order to let something greater take shape and manifest in our lives. In effect, we have consented to become an instrument of healing to be used for the overall good of humanity.
The Hanged One often arrives during particularly confusing or stagnant times. Emotional blocks, ideas that backfire, or promising relationships that end in disappointment all set the perfect stage for the Hanged One to make an entrance. A heart that wants to share its gifts, but is repeatedly unable to find an outlet for them is an ideal initiate for this powerful teacher.
When the Hanged One is reversed, it indicates that you are holding back or not trusting the universal plan. This is not an accusation, but an opportunity to check yourself for alignment with divine flow. The Hanged One is simply trying to get your attention. It is asking, “ Are you ready to sacrifice comfort in order to become stronger, wiser, and more resilient? Are you ready to do the necessary shadow work that committing yourself to this path requires?”
Draw the Hanged One into your life by releasing your need to follow your life’s self-written agenda. Feel your arms extend in open receptivity. Let your soul expand and ask, what’s next for me? How can I be used according to my highest good? Feel yourself becoming ready, becoming available. The dark pause with The Hanged One is mysterious, personal, and challenging. It is a layover for the soul to gather all of its resources and offer them whole-heartedly to the Universe. In time, you will feel your feet touch the ground again. Everything is the same, yet everything is different. Gaze upon this upright world with new eyes, weigh your actions with a new mind, and connect to others with a new heart. The Hanged One is here to spiritually upgrade you in unbelievable new ways.