The Hanged Man is one of the more uncomfortable of the Major Arcana cards. The Devil and the Tower aren’t comfortable either, but the apparent threat is obvious. The Hanged Man is subtler in its promise of disarray.
The Major Arcana 11 through 21 are the external forces, even consequences of our actions, that shape our realities. The Hanged Man, in the paradigm I’ve created, pairs with the Hermit.
Usually, cards cannot be interpreted as stand-alone if we are to truly understand a situation. Even pulling one card to get an idea of the day to come is very limited in what it reveals. But as humans, our understanding is limited.
If the internal process, the archetype is understood, the external consequences becomes clearer. The Hermit is the archetype of seeking the answers “within” one self. The Hanged Man is receiving the answers from “outside” oneself.
Odin traveled into the wild landscape, hung upon the tree of Life, and sacrificed one eye for the wisdom of the runes. He had accepted the cost for the keys to the Universe. This was no easy task and the Hanged Man offers to turn the world upside down. If you are willing to let go, to give up your cherished beliefs, you too will reap the rewards of wisdom earned.
With the Hanged Man, you are invited to sacrifice your expectations. You are encouraged to reach beyond the bounds of perceived reality. You are given the opportunity to do this on your own terms rather than in the unmitigated chaos of the Tower.
Following the processes of the Hermit archetype is the key to working through the challenges presented by the Hanged Man. Going within, viewing the external circumstances as a reflection of internal beliefs, will help accelerate the process of coming to a new perspective.
May the journey take you to unexpected realms and reward you with insight and clarity. Otherwise, you will be dragged kicking and screaming into chaos of the Tower. You’ve been warned.
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Writer, Tarot Counselor, and Life Purpose Coach