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The Hanged Man

Tarot Card Meanings

The Hanged Man card reflects a particular need to suspend certain action. As a result, this might indicate a certain period of indecision.
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The Hanged Man Tarot Card Description

The Hanged Man depicts a man suspended from a living wood T-shaped cross. He is hanging upside down, looking at the world from a completely different angle, and his facial expression is calm and serene, implying that he chose to be in this hanging position.

He wears a halo around his head, which represents new insight, awareness, and enlightenment. His right foot is restrained by the tree, but his left foot is free, bent at the knee, and tucked behind his right leg. He has his arms bent and his hands behind his back, forming an inverted triangle.

The man is dressed in red pants, which represent human passion and the physical body, and a blue vest, which represents knowledge. The Hanged Man represents ultimate surrender, being suspended in time, martyrdom, and sacrifice for the greater good.

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.

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The Hanged Man Keywords

 Upright Keywords:
  • Pause
  • Surrender
  • Letting go
  • New perspectives
Reversed Keywords:
  • Delays
  • Resistance
  • Stalling
  • Indecision

Upright Hanged Man Meaning

The Hanged Man reminds you that sometimes you have to put everything on hold before taking the next step, or else the Universe will do it for you (and not always at the most convenient time!). What got you here won’t get you there, as the saying goes, and this card exemplifies this. The Hanged Man invites you to let go of old mental models and behavioral patterns that no longer serve you, so you can see your world from a new perspective and embrace new opportunities that would have otherwise been lost to you if you hadn’t slowed down.

Here’s the deal. These pauses can be either voluntary or involuntary. If you listen to your intuition, you’ll notice when it’s time to hit the brakes and put things on hold – before things get out of hand. However, if you are out of alignment and ignore those intuitive signs, the Universe will most likely put things on hold for you in the form of ongoing obstacles, illness, and breakdowns. Pay attention to the ‘pause’ as it approaches; otherwise, the Universe will turn up the volume until you can’t ignore it any longer.

When The Hanged Man appears in a Tarot reading, your projects and activities may come to a sudden halt. Don’t keep pushing forward in the hope that more force will propel you to your destination. Instead, embrace the opportunity to pause and use it to reassess and re-evaluate where you are on your journey. Something new is emerging, and you won’t be able to see it unless you give it the time and space it needs.

The Hanged Man is your invitation to embrace these “pauses” with open arms and surrender to “what is” – even if it differs from what you expected. Take time out of your schedule to connect with a new way of thinking and seeing. Sure, you may have to put important projects on hold while you do this (and it may be extremely inconvenient), but trust me when I say it will be well worth it. This is the Universe’s way of assisting you in seeing new perspectives and preparing you for the next stage in your life. If you push or resist, you will encounter more obstacles along the way; instead, ‘allow’ opportunities to come to you smoothly and effortlessly.

The Hanged Man can sometimes represent a sense of being stuck or constrained in your life. What is keeping you in this stuck state? What is preventing you from progressing? On one level, The Hanged Man is pleading with you to give up and let go. Accept your current circumstances and allow yourself to flow with life rather than invest in specific outcomes or resist them. On another level, you are being called to change your perspective and shift your energy, and you may find that separating yourself from your daily life, whether through a walk in nature, a retreat, or moving to a new country, is beneficial. Alter your routine so that you can begin to shift your energy and flow more freely again.

Reversed Hanged Man Meaning

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The upright Hanged Man invites you to take a moment to reflect and see things from a different angle. Reversed, this card may indicate that you are aware that you need to press the pause button, but you are resisting it. Instead, you fill your days with tasks and projects, keeping yourself busy and distracting yourself from the real issue at hand. Your body and spirit are urging you to slow down, but your mind is racing. Stop and take a break before it’s too late. If you ignore the Universe, it will turn up the volume, and you may end up crashing. As soon as you hear the call, clear your schedule and make room in your schedule to tune in and listen.

To your frustration, you may already be in a situation where everything has been put on hold. The reversal of The Hanged Man can indicate that you are becoming blocked, stuck, or restricted as a result of other people or circumstances. Even if you are resistant, you must surrender to ‘what is’ and let go of your attachment to how things should be. Be in flow with life, even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned (when does anything ever go exactly as planned? ), and let go.

If your life has already been put on hold for a while, The Hanged Man Reversed may be a sign that you can now move forward with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor. You may discover that events are falling into place with greater ease and flow, and you’re ready to go again. A breakthrough or stark realization about how you need to do things differently may have occurred. You’re ready to make those changes and move forward with a fresh perspective.

When a relationship is on hold, The Hanged Man Reversed suggests that you are willing to wait… to a point. You recognize that this relationship will evolve and that you cannot rush it due to its complexities. However, you do not want to wait indefinitely, and you recognize that you will have to decide at some point.

The Hanged Man Reversed can also indicate that you are putting off making a decision or taking action. You may believe you are waiting until you are completely prepared, but guess what? You’re probably never going to be completely prepared. So, what are you holding out for? Take the risk! Make your choice! Do it now, before the Universe decides it can’t wait any longer.

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