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The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning

The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning

When change is on the horizon, a tarot reading helps you see into the distance. If your tarot reader pulls The Hanged Man, it likely means the universe has something to say about your reaction to that change.

The Hanged Man description

Everything is upside down for The Hanged Man, but he doesn’t seem to mind. The traditional Rider Waite deck illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith in 1909, depicts a man hanging by his foot from a living wood tree. It’s not a punishment but a form of self-sacrifice. 

The Hanged Man is suspended by his right foot with his left leg bent behind the right knee, like the number 4. His hands appear bound behind his back and his face is calm. It’s like he’s accepted his fate, or chosen to be there. 

The Hanged Man is enlightened. There’s a yellow halo behind his head that suggests a higher knowledge. He’s gained the wisdom to understand that he’s where he needs to be. He trusts in his intuition and the universe to guide him to the right path.

The Hanged Man is the card of sacrifice and surrender. He’s accepted (or chosen) his position. Sometimes must do the same. Sometimes we have to give in and go with the flow or let go of something we care about to get where we want to be. Listen to the voice within for direction.

The Hanged Man keywords


UPRIGHT | Sacrifice, wisdom, divination, intuition, contemplation, uncertainty, dedication, release 

REVERSED | Depression, apathy, addiction, selfishness, materialism, stagnation, dissatisfaction 

The Hanged Man upright

Change is coming. Change is always coming. Transition and transformation are common themes in the tarot deck because change is a constant part of life. We grow and evolve every day. It’s unavoidable.

Sometimes those shifts are teeny tiny and sometimes they’re huge leaps. The Hanged Man tends to show up when you’re on the cusp of major change. Don’t resist it, even if you know it won’t be easy. You’re ready to make the sacrifice needed to attain something big.

Have you ever been told your dreams are unrealistic or unattainable? The Hanged Man wants you to ignore that noise. Listen to your heart, even if others don’t like it. 

In your love life, The Hanged Man is the motivation you need to leave an unfulfilling relationship, especially if your partner doesn’t believe in you. Don’t let the desires of others hold you back from true happiness. 

In your career, The Hanged Man wants you to have the courage to pursue what you really love. It might mean a pay cut and a lifestyle change, but it’ll enrich your soul.

You’re ready and open for a change, but there’s no need to rush. Go with the flow at the pace the universe sets. Take time to pause and reflect. The universe always gives us an opportunity to readjust, start over or move on. Check which way the wind is going, right your ship, and sail on.

The Hanged Man reversed

Are you OK? This card in reverse suggests you may not be. Are you feeling depressed and apathetic? Relying too much on drugs and alcohol? You need to find meaning in your life, even if your life isn’t what you imagined it to be. 

Stop looking for satisfaction in material things. Stop trying to please or impress others. It poisons your self-worth. Now is the time to prioritize your emotional and spiritual needs instead. What are you passionate about? What used to bring you joy? What are your unrealized hopes and dreams? That’s what you need to prioritize.

Fight against procrastination. Set aside the distractions. Look inward to discover what you really want. Then stop sabotaging yourself and go after what you want.

What does The Hanged Man tarot card mean for me?

Everyone’s situation is completely unique. The interpretation of The Hanged Man tarot card can differ depending on who you are and where you’re at in life. Talk to a tarot reader who knows how to interpret the Rider Waite deck for an in-depth, personalized, one-of-a-kind reading.

Stop dreaming of getting a tarot reading and find out what it’s like for yourself.

Questions to ask tarot readers

  • How does my partner really feel about me?
  • What was the root cause of our breakup?
  • What stands in the way of me finding love?
  • What’s the best step for me to take now?
  • What is the biggest obstacle that stands in my way right now?
  • What is the biggest influence on my life right now?
  • What career or line of work can I go that will be the most fulfilling?
  • When is the right time to make a career change?