From Odin hanging from the Tree of Life to an Italian punishment for criminals, the image of a person suspended from their ankle, upside-down, evokes many stories. Perhaps that is its greatest strength. This Hard Card is the Hanged Man!
A Man of Many Talents
Because this card often shows a figure in some kind of meditative trance it has become associated with acquiring knowledge, understanding the self, and being more open/vulnerable. Within this card is the call to surrender to the moment. To be present. Each time this card comes up is a chance for us to check in with ourselves and see if we are on the path that we want to be on.
But that isn't all the Hanged Man is good at. I struggled with this card for a long time, hitting a mental wall whenever he would come up, it got incredibly frustrating incredibly quickly. This is a great card for those whose minds are slightly left of center. Those that find themselves outside the neurotypical spheres that much of society inhabits. The Hanged Man is not looking at the same map you are in the exact same way you are. Instead, this upside down figure sees multiple strings he could pull, roads he could wander down.
Bringing It All Into Focus
A lot has changed here at QST in the past year and the biggest change of all has come from me personally. I recently discovered that I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and too many puzzle pieces fell into place for me. Surely you will have noticed a certain erraticness in my postings of late. There hasn't been a Hard Card in quite a while. But the Hanged Man is a great tool for clarity. In a different way than many of the other cards in the Tarot. He says, look, you're squinting way too hard at the canvas. Back off, spin it around, see what there is to see from another vantage point. The next time you're feeling out of focus as if you've been stretched too thin across obstacle after obstacle, think of this card. You will want to find an answer right away, that's human nature. Shore up the issues and forge ahead but the Hanged Man has a different meaning here. A more precise laser that we need to pay attention to if we want to truly move onward.
The Bones of It All
In the end, the Hanged Man is best when they stop complicating things. Human beings will never not complicate things. It's sorta what we do. By grabbing us at our ankles and forcing us to look at where we started, this card asks us to evaluate our reasons for being in this slump in the first place. What led you here? Was it worth it? What happened? When did we veer off course? Let's tackle it and do something unexpected. Let's get back to basics. Why is that an unexpected move? Because it is so deceptively simple. Here is where the real work begins.
What that work is, depends on the person and where they are at and what they're doing with their lives/goals/so on and so forth. It could be something like, Oh, I need to get up thirty minutes earlier in the day, all the way to, this career is not working for me.
Wherever you find yourself in the road, don't be stumped by the Hanged Man when he shows up in your readings. Think of him like the crazy spinning compass from Pocahontas and meet him where he asks you to. Take it from the top and leap again. And again. As often as you need until you're wise enough to say, I did it and here's how, dammit.