|#12, The Hanged Man from|
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Major Arcana's # 12, The Hanged Man
You are suspended, waiting for the breath of the universe to
resume. Your world has inverted and you now have the unique opportunity to observe it from a completely different perspective. Congratulations, you have become The Hanged Man. He is not in distress. His hands, usually tucked behind him, may or may not be bound. His foot is slipped into a loop of rope or ribbon, much as an aerialist would position his foot to dangle above the crowd for sheer spectacle. His face remains calm while he reflects on his circumstances and internalizes the information he gathers through his position of reversal.
The Hanged Man is considered one of the most complex cards in the tarot deck. It was originally labeled, “The Traitor” in medieval times, because hanging by one foot, or even being depicted that way was the shaming treatment reserved for traitors and infidels. Some depictions show him with money falling from his pockets. Again, we see the symbolism of letting go of the concerns and trappings of our ‘normal’ state to gain insight. Where #9 The Hermit withdraws into himself to seek his inner truth, #12 digs deeper and requires more of a commitment, or sacrifice from himself to gain wisdom about his relationship with the world around him. The Hanged Man tests what he knows about the world to see if the inverse holds true.
What’s important to consider about #12 is that The Hanged Man is not stuck. His suspension is a matter of choice. His position does require a certain amount of sacrifice on his part, but the true meaning of the word sacrifice is to make sacred, not to suffer. When the proper motivation appears he will right himself and resume his journey. What he learns from his time observing the inverse of life will come with him. He has completed an absolutely necessary stop on the soul’s journey towards life’s richest rewards. After all, #12 is the inverse of #21, The World.