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Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning

This post covers the Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning in the traditional tarot deck. The featured tarot card is from the Light Seer’s Tarot deck

Planet: Neptune

Astrology: Pisces

Element: Water

Hermetic Kabbalah Element: 23 – Mem


  • Obstacles, limitations, burdens, and stagnation.
  • Fortitude and new perspective.
  • Being in the moment and shedding that which no longer serves us.

Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning In a Reading

A Need to Let Go

  • A need to let go and turn life around – the querent may be feeling trapped but they really aren’t. They need to find the strength to let go of something that will free them. This card is like a painful or difficult yoga pose that must be held to become more flexible, balanced, or gain strength.

Feeling Stuck in an Uncomfortable Situation

  • The querent may be in a very uncomfortable situation for a period of time and they don’t know what is going on or may feel stuck in a situation that just has to be dealt with such as an illness or a breakup. There is no way out unless they change their perspective. The querent may need to take a new path and, in order to see this new path, they must practice radical acceptance.
    • Not “It shouldn’t be this way” but rather “It IS this way and who am I in this situation? Who am I in this moment?”
    • We have to lose aspects of ourselves to transform. What do you have to let go of that previously served you?” What hang-ups to give up
    • This might mean having a break with key aspects of our identity.
  • The suspended, inactive period in life feels uncomfortable or unwanted, but it’s needed to learn something and see things from a new angle. It asks us to accept our reality and not to worry about what happens next. Trust that there is plenty of action behind the apparent standstill. Be prepared for new and innovative ideas. Could be a complete and unexpected change at home or at work. This pause contains possibility, visions, and dreamtime and we can only access these when we surrender.
    • What are the lessons here?
    • What is the pause?
    • How can I grow through the pause?

Finding Peace in an Involuntary Situation

  • The Hanged Man often shows up with an involuntary situation which offers the opportunity to find true peace that isn’t dependent on life circumstances or “winning” but in relationship to ourselves and the world.
    • Being with ourselves through these really hard moments.
    • Attending to what is and where you are while being in the moment. Hopefulness vs. helplessness.
    • When we know death is coming life becomes more beautiful – this is an invitation to stop rushing and be with what is here.

Prepares for a New Mindset or Change

  • The Hanged One prepares us for death but not physical death (the death card is not the end of the major of the major arcana). The hanged one presents an opportunity to come into another mindset and prepare for change. This is a time for radical acceptance of ourselves. There is a need to figure out how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and be in the present moment through our pain or suffering. During this time it is important to not abandon ourselves when we are most in need.
  • There is never a “best moment” to start something new or the thing you want to do.

Symbolism in card

  • A man suspended by the ankle from a flowering branch/tree = Fertility; beneath the sacrifice, there is new life.
  • Halo = holiness (suspended angel attaining enlightenment)
  • Suspended in the shape of the number 4 (The Emperor) = a reversal of the position of the emperor which speaks of non-achievement; doing through not doing.
  • The number 12 = culmination (12 months in a year; in the clock the beginning of day/end of day, 12th house in astrology).
  • Associated with Christ and Buddha = the truth of suffering
  • Connection to Odin who was also hung from a tree – this is the action of a martyr who is willing to sacrifice his own life in furtherance of the truth and as a sign of readiness to put aside the Ego in order to receive a greater wisdom.
  • Following the Justice card – historically the outcome of justice could be being hung. It is an acceptance of the consequences of our actions.

High expression

  • Showing ourselves unconditional love and connecting to our higher self.
  • Holding space for spiritual downloads, wisdom, and seeing things from a different perspective.
  • Trusting the self and placing faith in your ability to steer your own ship correctly. Taking time to make sure your mind and heart are in the right place, working together.
  • Recognizing the fragility and transience in life and living life in the moment. Finding peace and trusting in life pauses.
  • Addressing your procrastination and other self-sabotage techniques – being willing to sacrifice those for a new perspective.

Shadow side

  • Being unwilling to see things in a new and different way. Being closed to new perspectives.
  • Being unwilling to sacrifice hang-ups or behaviors that no longer serve you.
  • Unwilling to let go of the need for action. Always rushing and driving things forward; not recognizing the need for life’s pauses.

Magical uses

  • Choosing something to sacrifice for a period of time and see how it changes our perspective.

Related Articles

  • Tarot Card Meanings Library (all tarot articles on my site) – CLICK HERE

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The Hanged Man card from the Tarot of the Ages Deck

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