Tarot Tuesday – Major Arcana – The Hanged Man


Written by Algoth’s Grove

‘If we use the suffering simply as an impetus toward enlightenment, The Hanged Man teaches us, that there is no suffering at all but instead an action, a choice resulting in forward motion along the spiral of life, if only you would allow the change.’


The Hanged Man – 12 – The Chosen One – Scorpio – Testing – Spirit of the Mighty Waters

Archetype: The Great Crisis, The Orphan, The Lost Soul, The Enlightened One, Jesus, Odin.

Task / Goal: The Willingness to make necessary sacrifices, change perception, and insight.

Risk / Danger: Meaningless lack of inspiration and activity, losing one’s cool, patience, and calm sense of direction.  


‘Any notion that human nature is stronger than Mother Nature, or that man’s intellect is the ruling function of all life, upsets the Great mother and ultimately the human culprit as well. In retaliation, the goddess may grasp her impudent son by his heels n dunk his proud brains once more in the womb of her moist earth.’

                                                      Nichols’ commentary on Jungian Tarot (1980)


The depths to which The Hanged Man reaches is astounding, covering the physical, mental and spiritual worlds equally. His presence in a reading should never be feared but much rather understood and faced. A client of mine referred to her path with the Hanged Man as a necessary death, interestingly enough, she could not have been more accurate in her words.

The three mother letters of the Hebrew alphabet are Aleph (א), Mem (מ), and Shin (ש). These letters represent the primordial elements of all creation. Mem (מ) is attributed to the Hanged Man in his 12th position of the Major Arcana.  Mem is also the governor of Water, and in its central aspect in the 22 Major cards of the continuous journey, we find that The Hanged Man rules the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual depths of change – necessary change that is.

The Hanged Man is also known as Mannas or the suspended mind. If you read the commentary from Nichols above on the nature of The Hanged Man, you will find that this illusion we call life, and all the suffering is in the mind. The illusion is so well crafted and so ingrained in our psyche that we can almost not, not believe it. When you are faced with the Hanged Man, it is imperative that you sit back and breathe, make sure you can see all the choices and paths in front of you and understand that at this point change is needed for you to move forward in your life. Something has to give way for something else to be provided for you to move forward.

The Hanged Man is positioned in such a way that he represents the upside-down symbol of Sulphur. This upside-down alchemical sign is the symbol for true nature of enlightenment, and it speaks about how the Hanged Man if you follow his advice, will show you the path where you should go to find the purpose that you seek. When placing the Hanged Man below the World Card, the symbol that you are given is the Ankh – the Egyptian symbol of eternal life.



Categories: Tarot Tuesday

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