5 Reasons to Love The Hanged Man

Quite often, when you mention The Hanged Man, a great many people will immediately flash on mental imagery like this...
Quite often, when you mention The Hanged Man, a great many people will immediately flash on mental imagery like this…

Not too long ago, I attended a Tarot gathering here in Los Angeles. At one point during the meeting, I happened to mention to the group that I personally love the Hanged Man card. One of the women within earshot was horrified by this revelation. “Wait,” she asked, wearing the kind of expression that’s usually reserved for encounters with the grotesque, “you love the Hanged Man?!” It was pretty clear that “love” and “the Hanged Man” were concepts of a rather mutually exclusive nature in her worldview…

And over time, as I’ve interacted with more and more Tarot enthusiasts, I’ve come to realize that her outlook on Trump XII is a lot more common than my own. The Hanged Man puts people off. He makes them uneasy. He registers as weird to them, and disturbing, and kind of scary. How – such people often want to know – could I possibly even like this card, much less love it?

I’m happy to answer that question. Without further ado, here are 5 reasons to love the Hanged Man:

1)  He offers a unique perspective. We live in a consensus reality, where, in order to get along together, we learn to adopt certain accepted ways of thinking and acting. The Hanged Man, however, is removed from all that. He looks at life from a position that’s a full 180 degrees from conventional group-think. He’s upside-down to the standard rightside-up. We like to reference the notion of “thinking outside the box,” right? Well, the Hanged Man is so far outside the box, that to him, the box is just a distant speck on the horizon. He doesn’t have to think outside the box – he lives there!

2)  He signifies impending rebirth. If you think about it, the Hanged Man embodies the same position as that of a baby in the womb. Suspended, inverted, floating there in the vast silence, and feeling the pulse of the cosmos in those embryonic fluids – the Hanged Man can be taken as a symbol of gestation. Many people seem to focus on the “delay” aspect of this card, but on the other side of any waiting period, a grand emergence into a bright new world is waiting…

An especially mystical Hanged Man card, from the Circle of Life Tarot (copyright Lo Scarabeo)...
An especially mystical Hanged Man card, from the Circle of Life Tarot (copyright Lo Scarabeo)…

3)  He’s highly mystical. The Hanged Man is strongly associated with the classical Element of Water…and in metaphysical thought, Water signifies the mystical and the psychic. Water stands for dreams and the subconscious, and it also represents our species’ shared collective unconscious. When the Hanged Man appears in a reading, he may signify a rather intense connection to the more mystical planes of our reality – and if you’re like me, you can’t get enough of the mystical and the psychic!

4)  He foretells new wisdom. Along with the aforementioned focus on delay, many people are also tunnel-visioned on the fact that the Hanged Man can sometimes suggest such less-than-joyous concepts as self-sacrifice and suffering. The thing to maybe focus on here, though, is what follows that suffering… Anyone delving into Norse Mythology will likely come across the tale in which the the great Sorcerer-God, Odin, gores himself with his own magic spear, and then hangs himself on the mighty World-Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nights without food or water. His suffering is titanic…but at the end of that sacred interval, the arcane alphabet we call the Runes appears on the ground beneath him, bringing written language and a new form of magic into the world. Odin positions himself literally as a Hanged Man, and after a period of self-sacrifice, he gains immense wisdom and power. These are all returns that the Hanged Man can symbolize.

5)  He’s intensely courageous. Most of us can’t stand being completely alone. Consider how the threat of solitary confinement strikes fear into the hearts of even hardened criminals. Think about all the people in the world who remain in relationships that aren’t right for them, simply because they’d rather be with the wrong person than be alone. Or ponder for a moment how legions of people in this internet age can’t even sit with their own thoughts for three minutes at a traffic light without whipping out their cell-phones to get a healthy dose of digital distraction. The Hanged Man, though, possesses that rare kind of fortitude that allows him to fully explore his own depths in exactly that kind of solitary silence. He’s the embodiment of of the psychonaut, plunging downward into his own consciousness without fear, without dread. We can all learn from his example, now more than ever!

As this old poster from the groovy '70s illustrates, there's more than one way to look at the concept of hanging suspended for an interval in Time and Space...and not all of those ways are relentlessly grim!
As this old poster from the groovy ’70s illustrates, there’s more than one way to look at the concept of hanging suspended for an interval in Time and Space…and not all of those ways are relentlessly grim!

So there you have them: 5 reasons to love the Hanged Man. He’s about much more than just pure doom and gloom!

Interested in a Tarot reading from a rather Hanged Man kind of perspective?  Book one with me today!

6 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Love The Hanged Man

  1. The Unfolding

    Reblogged this on The Unfolding and commented:
    “Think about all the people in the world who remain in relationships that aren’t right for them, simply because they’d rather be with the wrong person than be alone.”

    1. Thanks so much, Kimberley! I hope you’ll stick around for a few more posts that will similarly try to find some positive notes amid the symphonies of gloom played for us by certain other Major Arcana cards (I’ve posted about The Tower and Death now, with a few more waiting in the wings).

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