The Hanged Man


Upright/Well Dignified: The Hanged Man is that moment before transition. You can’t move forward, nor back. There is no true direction for you at the moment so all you can do is observe the world around you and learn about it, or you can focus inward and learn about yourself. Introspection before moving on in one of the primary themes of this card, where the only thing that you can change is perspective.

When the Hanged Man turns up in a reading, this suspension is exactly where you need to be at the moment. While there is a lot of nothing that you might be able to do right now, you’re still in a great position to learn a few things about what’s going on around you plan for the future. The trick is to ensure that you don’t get wound up about what’s going on at any particular moment. The more you do so, the more powerless you’ll feel.

A lot of decks show the Hanged Man to be hanging upside down, giving him a rather distinct view of the world. This view will often provide more use than you’re initially willing to admit, but at the same time, getting to see the Hanged Man’s perspective could be a little uncomfortable. It’s not a case of case of “if” you gain this perspective, but “when.” You can’t stay in the one viewpoint forever and eventually something will come along to turn your head. When the Hanged Man turns up, it’s probably nearing that time.

Various nations in history used to hang traitors upside down in order to show that their viewpoint was skewed away from what was considered the norm. When the Hanged Man appears, you ideas might even seem treasonous to yourself, but the truth of the matter is that the only reason that they feel dangerous is because they are a road as yet untravelled by you.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: There are times when the common point of view needs desperately to be challenged. This is REALLY not the time. Some aspects of common knowledge are nonsense, but in this case, it’s your own viewpoint that isn’t really serving anything. This is one of those times that you need to acknowledge that the reason that you’re not advancing at all is because you’re struggling to be different for the sake of difference, rather than recognising a good idea when you see it, simply because it’s not a new idea.Sometimes old ideas have stayed around because they’ve worked and the status quo have figured this out.

There are points where the suspension that occurs between one stage of life and another isn’t because of an inability to move forward, but simply because of the inherent fear of doing so. This is understandable, but moving backward is no longer an option if the Hanged Man is drawn, reversed or otherwise. The things that lie forward aren’t the things that you need to be afraid of. Staying where you are is much more dangerous as the past can try to drag you back into a stage of life that you’ve outgrown. It’s time to move forward into greener pastures. You’re not going to find the comfort in the past that you once had so why not move forward?

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