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Unpacking the Tarot - the Hanged Man

Unpacking the Tarot - the Hanged Man

The Tarot have been used for centuries to predict the future and answer our deepest questions. The traditional deck contains 78 cards — the 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards.

While the Minor Arcana can help shed light on the actions and decisions we make every day, the Major Arcana helps us understand our life’s purpose. Each card represents situations we face through our journey and the lessons we all must learn. 

Here is a closer look at the next card in the deck, The Hanged Man.

THE HANGED MAN

The Hanged Man is the card of sacrifice and surrender. Just as the Hanged Man has accepted—or maybe even chosen — his position, so must we give in at times. It might be urging you to go and let the flow of life guide you or to sacrifice something for the greater good. This card is also a reminder to take some time out for reflection or meditation. Don’t forget to listen to that inner voice and take in everything it wants to tell you.

THE IMAGERY

This card depicts a man hanging upside down on a cross formed by a tree. He dangles from his right foot and bends the left leg behind his right knee, which appears to form the number 4. His hands appear bound behind his back. His expression is calm, which suggests he may be hanging by choice. 

The man is dressed in red pants (the color of life and passion), a blue shirt (the color of peace and serenity) and yellow shoes (the color of intellect). Around his head is a halo, a symbol of his enlightenment and heightened insight.

THE MEANING

When you draw the Hanged Man, it may suggest the wind has changed directions and you should go with the slow. Don’t resist the change. Take time to pause, reflect on what you’re experiencing. The universe is giving you an opportunity to change your mind, readjust, start over or move on. Find out where the wind is going, right your ship and move forward with it.

THE REVERSE

A reverse Hanged Man suggests that you’re unwilling to change, to try or sacrifice. You’re focused on distractions — often unhealthy ones — because life isn’t what you imagined it to be. All the more reason to stop and look inward to discover what you really want. Then stop sabotaging yourself and go after what you want.