XII The Hanged Man

12-Hanged Man

light gravitates in the most
inexplicable ways; there is
a kind of poise, a kind of certainty
when the world is upside down,
its axis spinning out of control–
the pain that clenches me
is what feeds me wisdom
I hang on desperately as
the Shift pulls me downwards
down towards challenge,
towards dreams and nightmares becoming real
towards the other side of my heart

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man is about challenge–being grabbed by the foot, suspended from an uncomfortably public place. It’s a very unsettling and self-conscious card. The pain, the struggle, the humiliation as well as the exposure are all part of it. It is about confronting those things that unsettle us. It is about the recognition of outdated modes of thinking and values that are holding us back and no longer useful to us. It is about that understanding that even though they may have once served us, it is time to let them go. It may be painful, it may in fact hurt us if we were to part ways with them, but the separation is necessary because we cannot defy gravity. There is light and illumination that is waiting for us on the other side of our sacrifice, as we accept the changes needed to continue to improve and evolve. Therefore, we embrace the suspension with grace and dignity, knowing that the affliction is only temporary, and in letting go, we will find truth and healing and transformation.

There is always the sense that the Hanged Man is being watched and carefully perceived. As mentioned before, it’s a very self-conscious card. In a way, it’s a card about becoming aware of something, a kind of awareness that isn’t always easy. The Hanged Man is a very gutsy card, because it demands tremendous bravery and resilience to recognize the need to change, to take the first step towards that change, and to recognize, accept and strive for that change. It is a courageous thing. It is a leap of faith and readiness because to let go means to invite disorientation, to spin out of control before we land–but once we do, we will be more grounded than we have ever been before.

When The Hanged Man is in touch with its light aspects, it embraces the necessary changes and does what is right: severing yourself from toxic behavioural patterns and ways of thinking, accepting potential humiliation and shame as part of it, and dropping some of your agendas that are more egotistical in nature. It denounces the need to be clean and perfect–knowing that perfection originates from the acceptance of imperfections and the need to change and improve. It makes the best of a challenging or disorientating situation and learns from its mistakes and hardship–and doing so, it gains a new perspective. It is also about allowing yourself to be criticized and judged–it is about becoming vulnerable and lowering your shields so you can invite wisdom into your world.

Shadow Aspects

When the Hanged Man is in touch with its dark side, it points to a stubborn refusal to perceive, a willing and toxic participation in the things that are harmful to oneself or to others. It is unable to exit the vicious cycle or painful situation, and it remains painfully bonded to the state of suspension. It chooses to be blind, to endure, to resist change. At times, it may take on an egotistic trip of martyrdom, proclaiming itself a victim in order to gain sympathy or attention. In some cases, it can also represent extreme immaturity and reluctance to face reality, as well as a silent tantrum.

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