The 12th card of the Major Arcana is the Hanged Man, appearing right after Justice and just before the Death card.
The Hanged Man is often viewed as a mysterious card in the Tarot, and it is easy to see why. In most imagery, a man hangs upside down outdoors, a usually gloomy atmosphere surrounding him. There is not much to the image, yet this card has many layers and complexities.
It is a card of seeing things from a different perspective. It is a card of sacrifice. It is a card of being stuck in limbo, those moments when you hover between one path and another, one decision or another, one mindset and another.
Justice brings us knowledge and understanding of right and wrong, the Hanged Man is the process of this information, and Death is the often extraordinary change we experience once we have processed it. So goes the cycle of the Tarot.
The Hanged Man is the ultimate paradox card. We win by surrendering, rise by kneeling, and control by letting go. The Hanged Man represents situations that we can only truly understand once we have lived them, and it is why it appears right after Justice, the card of karma, and right before Death, the card of change. It shows the bridge between the two and how we can often only experience change when we see things in an entirely new light.
What Does the Hanged Man Mean?
The Hanged Man can mean any of the following:
- Letting go
- Having an emotional release
- Accepting what is
- Giving up control
- Acknowledging that not everything is in your power
- Changing your mind
- Having new priorities
- Seeing things from a new angle
- Taking time to reflect
- Living in the moment
- Being a martyr
- Casting aside your self-interest
- Giving up for a higher cause
- Putting others before yourself
What Does the Hanged Man Mean in a Love & Relationship Reading?
In a love and relationship reading, the Hanged Man as feelings implies that the person feels stuck in limbo at the moment. They are processing their feelings for you – the same way a memory card on a computer may download information!
As a feelings card, the Hanged Man indicates that they are seeing you in a new light. Quite possibly, these are new feelings, or they are only just realizing them now.
As a card for how someone sees you, the Hanged Man indicates that they see you as someone who makes sacrifices or that you are a martyr. It can also mean that you have turned their world upside down, and it is causing them to reflect.
For what they want to happen between you both, the Hanged Man highlights there is a suspension in time, and they are uncertain at the moment what they want to happen. One thing is for certain; there is going to be change.
Read this next: A Tarot Spread to Uncover When You Will Find Love
What Does the Hanged Man Mean in a Career Reading?
In a career reading, the Hanged Man indicates a new assessment regarding your career.
Change is coming. You may not know exactly what yet, but the Hanged Man highlights that you may be looking at your career from a new perspective and ready to take steps toward something new.
This does not necessarily have to be a new career. It can simply mean that you are having a new thought process regarding how you approach your current career or job. You may choose to expand or work with others to form something different.
The Hanged Man in a career reading can mean that you are sacrificing something for your career or you are sacrificing your career for something else in your life.
What About the Hanged Man as an Obstacle?
As an obstacle card, the Hanged Man indicates that you are not taking the necessary time to sit and reflect.
There may be an urgency to get things moving, but without adequate time to understand new information or new circumstances, moving forward is impossible.
As an obstacle card, the Hanged Man is an advice card: stop, look, and listen. What is it that is coming to mind? How are you beginning to see things differently?
What Does the Hanged Man Mean in Reverse?
As a reversed card, the Hanged Man indicates that you can now move forward with a positive perspective. The download is complete, and it is time to get moving.
It highlights that a waiting period is now over, and it is time to move forward.
However, this card reversed can also indicate stagnation or discontentment. It can indicate feeling stuck. If this was a computer, there would be a problem with the memory card! It could be jammed or not working correctly.
Same with the Hanged Man. There may be an unwillingness or avoidance, meaning information is not being processed properly.
Read this next: Everything You Need to Know About Reversed Tarot Cards
How to Make the Hanged Man Work For You
The Hanged Man is a wonderful card to remind you of positive affirmations that can help you throughout the day, particularly when you are going through a transition of some sort.
Some of the affirmations you can use that are associated with the Hanged Man are:
I will release my emotions
I will surrender to this experience
I will allow myself to be vulnerable
I will give myself time to reflect
I allow myself to see things from a new angle
I accept there are things out of my control
Repeating these affirmations to yourself – or whichever ones work for you – is a wonderful way to harness the energy of the Hanged Man.
Did You Pull the Hanged Man?
While mysterious and complex, the Hanged Man is an essential energy that affects all of us in our lives at some point. It can be on a smaller or grander scale, but the Hanged Man’s energy is that moment where you stop, reflect, and think, “Ah … I see now that this is the way things have to be.”
The Hanged Man shows us that sometimes the answers can only be found when we take time to pause.
We are always in a rush, our lives are so chaotic, and we rarely allow ourselves time to stop and simply be. It is in the stillness that the message of the Hanged Man reaches us, and he teaches us that surrender is sometimes the ultimate form of victory.
Related article: You Pulled the World Card – Now What?