The Hanged Man Tarot Card – Meaning, Reversed, Guide, Love

Since old times, people have been trying to find a way to predict the future, in order to bring at least some certainty into the unpredictable course of life.

Although there are many things we are capable to make a prognosis of, there are so many aspects of individual lives we simply cannot imagine. We know that the sun would set in the west and rise in the east and that the sun will shine once again, after a storm.

However, we have no idea of when will we fall in love, start a dream job, meet new people in our life, go through failure and times of sorrow, succeed, discover something and so many more.

It all makes our life quite exciting, but also uncertain; people, in general, have a bit ambivalent attitude towards such things, because we prefer comfort rather than a change. Divination techniques have been practiced since we know of human civilization. Tarot reading is not that ancient, though still very old, from our point of view.

Tarot cards were originally medieval playing cards. Over the course of time they have began to be more and more used amongst mystics and occultists, for esoteric purposes.

The Hanged Man Tarot Card Quick Facts

Tarot decks usually contain 78 cards, divided into two parts, the Major Arcana, counting 22 cards, and Minor Arcana, the rest 56. Major Arcana are trump cards, numbered from 0 to 21.

All cards are richly illustrated, though typically stylized. Today, you could find dozens of wonderfully designed tarot cards, but they all feature some of the basic symbols.

The standard pattern for tarot decks would be the old Tarot de Marseille. The most popular deck used for tarot readings is Rider-Waite deck, published in the early twentieth century. This tarot design is probably the first one would stumble upon if surfing the internet for tarot cards.

The Hanged Man card is the twelfth of the Major Arcana. To be honest, people do not like thins card, as it is commonly taken to be the most negative out of all. Let us not rush with conclusions. First, we will go through basic information about the card.

Key terms for The Hanged Man tarot card: Sacrifice, surrender, a new perspective, transformation, letting go and breaking old patterns, spiritual development, getting dethatched from material values, waiting

Key essential element of the Hanged Man: Water

Major Arcana numerical of The Hanged Man card: 12

Planet and astrological sign of the Hanged Man: Neptune

Yes/No question for The Hanged Man card: Maybe

Related to the card of: The Empress

Visual Description of The Hanged Man Card

Let us look closer into the imagery of The Hanged Man card. This is, indeed, an unusual one. The hanged man depicted on the image is not ‘hanged’ in the literal sense of the word, but suspended by one of his feet, upside down, hanging from a tree. The tree appears unusual; it is of a T shape, reminding of gallows. There is no ending to the tree trunk; it appears infinite.

The odd, straight branches, or gallows, are not lifeless, however. They have fresh green leaves growing on both sides and on the ’pillar’, the tree trunk. If you think about the tree, it is hard to decide where it begins and where it ends. Could you recall any mythological tree to draw a parallel? Even if very loose, the tree could remind of the Ygdrasil tree of life from Nordic mythology.

There are no roots visible, but we could take it as they find their ways somewhere into the unfathomable depths of the earth, those we cannot see, reaching up to the sky on the upper side. The tree is a tree of destiny for the hanged man here.

Now, take a look at the man himself. The first thing you probably notice is the position of his legs.

While one leg is straight, as he is suspended by one foot, the other leg is crossed behind it. It gives him some kind of balance, it seems. His hands are tied behind his back, or he holds them behind; we cannot actually see them. If tied, they represent helplessness. Nevertheless, the man does not appear to be afraid or concerned, for his part.

Actually, his lovely, young face does not show any particular emotion; he appears calm and that is all we can get. He does not smile, but he does not seem sad, upset, angry or whatsoever.

The man is obviously young and beautiful, with golden hair flowing freely, as he dangles from the tree. The hair reminds of a root, to some point.

Two colors dominate his simple clothes, the serene blue and wild red, a striking contrast. The blue color is that of the mystical, the calmness, tranquility, spirituality and higher wisdom.

The red represents life, passion, strength, activity, intense emotions. The power lies in his agile acrobatic legs, symbolically.

One leg is trapped, but the other is free. It seems that the boy is not that helpless as it appears on the first look. Okay, is there anything more to notice?

The surrounding is empty; there are no landscapes, edifices, other humans or any other living beings around. The hanged one is alone. However, he still has the power to change his situation.

The Hanged Man Card Meaning Guide

I shall wait, accept and overcome.

Even if you were not familiar with tarot cards before, there is a chance you have sometime somewhere read or heard that The Hanged Man card is the worst one could pull in a reading.

Well, The Hanged Man card is not meant to be taken literally and its core meaning is not a negative one, although it often makes us face things we would rather avoid.

The Hanged Man card is about waiting and having patience when being in a limbo, a personal one. There are times when we literally feel as if stuck in the moment and we have no clue what to do.

No one likes the feeling of uncertainty, the stage of insecurity, self-doubt and having no concrete goal. Rare are the people who could feel relaxed without having any plan in life.

This card relates to such phases of life, when we feel is if we have no purpose, helpless before the destiny, not knowing which road to take. The uncomfortable feeling grows particularly distressing and could even turn into panic.

The Hanged Man reminds us that such times are inevitable part of our life, they are, in fact, a stage in our progression, development, regardless of how desperate it might seem.

This card is about sacrifices and loses and this is where people start thinking of the Hanged Man as an ultimately negative omen. No one loves neither lose nor a sacrifice.

These terms are wide and they could apply on many things; the meaning of the card would depend on a particular case, of course. Sometimes we have to break old patterns, in order to grow.

However, the Hanged Man is not about the enthusiasm and motivation for breaking up with old ways as the case is with the brave Chariot. For the Charioteer, this process appears much easier, for he has wings in his sails.

The Hanged Man is about passivity, about acceptance of the negative part of changes, necessary in order to grow.

The Hanged Man is about an inner process of transformation, especially in spiritual sense. It is about patience, waiting and, yes, stagnation.

Stagnation is an uncomfortable part of progress, but it is inevitable and necessary. Loss for the greater good is also something that requires a lot of patience and some sort of stagnation before moving ahead.

The Hanged Man  – YES or NO

Sometimes we have simple questions that we would like to get instant answers to.

Well, tarot cards could offer many explanations to various of our life situations, but simple ’yes or no’ readings could provide us with simple answers. You just have to ask a direct question and pull one card.

The very ambiguous of meaning, the Hanged Man does not offer a ’yes’ or ’no’, but MAYBE.

The basic meaning of the card is stagnation, waiting and, for the greatest part, refraining from making any move.

In that sense, the answer is neutral; you have yet to think through the question before getting a definite answer.

The Hanged Man Card Upright Meaning

The upright Hanged Man passes on the core meaning of this card, which is letting go of the past, waiting, patience, acceptance. In that sense, the card is not a negative one, but it does not carry especially cheerful meaning.

There will always be situations in life in which we will stagnate. On a bigger plan, everything moves forward, but on a minor, it is broken into stages of activity and inactivity.

Sacrifices often have to be made; we cannot process many things at once. We have to break with old ways, even if they make us feel comfortable. Some losses are simply unavoidable and, no matter how hard, there is no other way, but to accept them.

The Hanged Man represents both the process of acceptance and sacrifice and waiting.

The card also represents the detachment from the physical, the materialistic. The process of waiting and stagnation is an internal one, much more than external. It is very important introspective process.

The Hanged Man is left to the hands of fate, with no one else around. This is an allegory, because you could be surrounded by many people, yet, inside, you have to go through certain processes all alone.

The Hanged Man Card Reversed Meaning

When The Hanged Man card appears reversed it looks even more odd, because now you have the suspended man facing you as if he was standing.

The reversed Hanged Man tells about our unwillingness to accept losses or to wait for things in our own head and heart to clear up.

The reversed card is about the personal crisis one does not know how to deal with.

Therefore, we enter the state of defense, but this is completely pointless, it is a huge waste of energy, because, at the end of the day, there are things that are out of our power and control. Instead of surrendering to our Wheel of Fortune, we fight it back, which is usually fruitless.

The reversed Hanged Man is about being forceful, too demanding, making impulsive, hasty, forceful decisions and all in order to face loss or the reality of our current situation which demands not activity, but inactivity.

The reversed Hanged Man is, thus, far more helpless than the one in the original position, even if he was suspended upside down.

The Hanged Man Tarot Card – Career Meaning

The Hanged Man tarot card often opens in a reading of a questioner who is going through certain difficulties when it comes to career, money and business.

The outlook is probably not very bright and the questioner does not know how to proceed. Since the Hanged Man is ultimately about waiting, the best advise you could get from it is to be patient.

Do not make rush decisions or invest money, at least for a time. If you look into your heart, you will probably realize it tells you that it is not actually the best moment to make some big decisions regarding finances, career and so on. Be patient and try to keep control over what you have.

On the other hand, the card could also indicate you will have to sacrifice something, in order to prosper. It could mean that you should sacrifice your time and money for a greater good.

However, this would greatly depend on other cards and on a particular situation. With the Hanged Man, it is always better to take time and reflect.

The Hanged Man Tarot Card – Love Meaning

This card is probably not the best one to get in a love reading. It does not speak about very happy and enjoyable relationship status; it rather tells about dissatisfaction, unhealthy routine, lack of understanding between partners, but, at the same time, the unwillingness to separate, for any reason. It applies to other close relationships, not only romantic ones.

The questioner probably feels very uncomfortable and uneasy with the very idea of putting an end to certain connection.

Breakups are always a stressful experience, even if performed without much argument and both side realize it was the best decision to make. It marks an end to a stage of life, to our habits and make us leave the comfort zone.

The acceptance is the key, and letting go of the past. There will be new relationships, of course! If you choose not to separate, maybe you will miss out the right one.

Breakups always lead to new connections and new commitments. Although they could be depressing and very difficult to process, each separation leads to a new connection.

The Hanged Man Tarot Card – Health Meaning

The Hanged Man tarot card is not really the best one to open in a health reading. This card is associated with illness, the physical illness.

As it is a card related to the term of stagnation, it does not have a very positive message regarding health. It is associated with chronic physical conditions. On one side, this is definitely not a good thing. However, there is more.

Any chronic condition makes one’s life more complicated than it would normally be.

However, there are different ways to deal with it; chronic conditions require constant attention and care (of course, some of these are, fortunately, mild). The key is one’s attitude towards it. If we learn to accept the illness, we will be more able to live a quality life. People do not like this idea for one reason.

The think of it as giving up, which is not the case. By the acceptance of a current physical state, we actually could start thinking of improvement. If we keep denying or, worse, completely ignoring it, we would only make it heavier.

This card is about spiritual metamorphosis, which is of vital importance exactly when it comes to chronic health problems.

The Hanged Man Combined

Each tarot card gets a specific meaning when combined with other cards from Major and Minor Arcana.

Our ambiguous Hanged Man will appear differently in different combinations. Let us go through several interesting examples that could show up in a reading. Here we go.

  • The Hanged Man and The Fool: Release, relief, getting rid of something negative, such as an illness
  • The Hanged Man and Lovers: Sacrifice in the name of love
  • The Hanged Man and Queen of Wands: Flow of creative force
  • The Hanged Man and The Eight of Cups: Chastity
  • The Hanged Man and The Six of Swords: Lust
  • The Hanged Man and The Ace of Pentacles: Fake prophets

Astrology and The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man is associated with the mysterious and distant blue planet, Neptune. Neptune is the planet of mysteries, illusions, imagination, art, mysticism, emotions, spirituality.

It is a transcendental planet, associated with non-materialistic and abstract. The Hanged Man is all but materialistic.

The element associated with the planet and the card is water. Water is about the eternal flow and infinite depth, the enigma, the emotion, the inner senses.

The Water is associated with transformation, changes and the mystery of life.

The Hanged Man Zodiac Sign

Although Neptune and Water have nothing to do with it, the Hanged Man reminds of the Capricorn sign, ruled by the strict and cold Saturn. Stagnation and loss are associated with it. They are the part of every process.

On the other hand, Neptune rules Pisces. Pisces are highly spiritual sign. The two appear as if being completely opposite. They are indeed different.

However, the spiritual, inner transformation releases us from the strict bonds of control and the material. The process requires acceptance of limitations, in order to outgrow them and move forward.

Numerology and The Hanged Man

The number of the Hanged Man is twelve. If you think about it, Major Arcana deck is numbered from 0 to 21.

Zero is the Fool; we did not mentioned it before, but, visually, the young men on these cards remind of one another a bit. The Fool, as 0, could stand at both beginning and the end. The Hanged Man, the 12, is as an inverted 21.

Number 12 alone, for its part, stands for the needed change. It is about looking towards new roads, but it means you will need to leave the past behind.

It requires a lasting process, a state of processing, just as the Hanged Man implies.

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