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The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man Tarot Card

The Hanged Man has associations with Odin of Norse mythology who hung himself upside down on the World Tree Yggdrasil as a way of knowing the secrets of the future. Therefore, like the Hermit, the Hanged Man is on a spiritual quest. The difference between the two cards is that while the Hermit seeks to undo ego trappings to achieve enlightenment, the Hanged Man seeks to master self discipline, similar to what people seek in yoga.

There is enormous enlightenment that can be unleashed once we learn how to quiet the chattering mind. The Hanged Man often appears in association with Sagittarius with their philosophical hunger and undying aloofness. Representing another, this Archetype is highly independent and difficult to corral.

It appears when your life seems to be in suspension or when you are on hold waiting for some type of answer from another. It is said that Odin was so focused on knowing the future that when he finally caught a glimpse of it, the information only made him melancholy. In this way, the Hanged Man can be a message to return to the present where you can observe today’s gifts, rather than looking so far ahead of yourself that you get caught up in self doubt.

Disappointment is the result of having expectations that have nothing to do with being open in the present. You may need to accept ‘what is’ in a way that allows you to move out of suspension and back into the flow of your life.

Patience is not only a virtue, it is also a discipline. How do you nourish your mind during periods when you feel you are ‘on hold?’ In the I Ching hexagram #27 Nourishing Vision or Hunger, we are told that to understand what is important to the person, observe what they are actively nourishing. Do you fill the present with ideas of the past and future or are you actively cultivating the inspirational energy at your disposal in the here and now?

There is a riddle to be solved when the Hanged Man appears. Mimir the great Sage told Odin that he would reveal the future only if Odin sacrificed one of his eyes, so there can be a message of necessary sacrifice or surrender. You may need to examine the price you are willing to pay to achieve the object of your inquiry and whether it is truly worth it.

If you are attempting to corral a non committal partner, freedom may be the sacrifice required. If you are waiting to hear about a job you may need to explore whether all of your talents are utilized to ensure fulfillment and longevity. This necessary pause in your journey will allow you to examine the root of your desire.

Keywords: Life in suspension. Allowing events a chance to unfold. Accepting what is. A spiritual retreat. Moving beyond ego to tap into spiritual ideas. Meditation, yoga and calming self discipline. A person who has asked for a time out. A partner asking for space.

Reversed: Indecisiveness and a lack of patience. Hanging onto what needs to be forgotten. Facing delays with frustration. Re-emerging from a period of soul searching to re-engage life. A change of heart after soul searching.