The Hanged Man is certainly an odd sight, sitting between steadfast Justice and mysterious Death at number twelve in the Major Arcana.
In the Rider-Waite deck, a t-shaped cross supports the body of a man, tethered by his right ankle. The wood appears to be alive, draped in green leaves, a symbol of the support given to us by Nature as well as The Universe.
The man looks serenely at the world from his upside-down position, his calmness suggesting that this predicament was of his own doing. His left leg is free, bent behind him as he takes in his newfound perspective. His arms are also bent behind him.
The man wears red pants, a symbol of human earthly passion, and a blue shirt for knowledge. The halo he sports around his head champions the new insight that he has gained from his time in this rather unorthodox position.
In this state of suspension and non-doing, the only connection of the Hanged Man to the world is the rope. Surrendering to stillness and gravity like a fruit on a tree, he is waiting for the healing light of knowledge and understanding, his spiritual birth.
He doesn’t interfere with life, he does not want; he simply is.
We have to consider the religious connotations of this image, which is reminiscent of Jesus on the cross. However, the upside-down crucifixion refers to Saint Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles, who said he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as Christ.
In the tales of Norse mythology, Odin the Allfather hanged himself from the holy tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights, until he gained knowledge of the runes and other worlds. During his sacrifice, he received secret wisdom and magical powers, like the ability to cure the sick.
The Hanged Man calls to mind giving. How do we know when sacrifice is necessary and how much is too much? To what degree is this sacrifice altruistic and when does it turn into self-imposed punishment, aiming for atonement or realization?
Thus, on one hand, we have a martyr, a selfless person who feels obligated to forfeit his own interests and well-being to help others. On the other hand, we have the voluntary confinement of a man who wishes to be free. He is, in a way, creating the disease he intends to cure.
In either case, suffering and pain are experienced, but they are gladly accepted. Like the Hermit, the Hanged Man is alone, isolated, and in a quite different state of mind than everybody else. But while the Hermit actively looks within, the young blond man of this card, helpless and yet placid, does absolutely nothing.
He refuses to participate in the human game of social conventions and has given up trying to control his fate. He lives in a different world. Who knows? If the rope was cut, he might fall into the sky. What’s interesting is the concealment of his hands behind his back.
Are they tied up as well? Or do they perhaps hold the key to his freedom? He’s got his secrets, that much is certain. And as the proverb goes, you never speak of rope in a hanged man’s house.
In this comprehensive guide to The Hanged Man, we seek to take a look at the world upside-down and analyze martyrdom in every which way possible.
Table of Contents
What does The Hanged Man Tarot card mean?
The Hanged Man denotes that it is time to pause and adapt. There exists a lack of balance that is restricting your ability to move forward. Old behavioral patterns must be shed, and new approaches will prove to be necessary as you move forward.
Sacrifice doesn’t always have to be for others. In fact, some of the greatest sacrifices you can make are for yourself.
Balance plays a large role in the themes of the Major Arcana and The Hanged Man is no exception. In order to appreciate ourselves as whole beings, we must learn to value and care for the different aspects of our consciousness, emotions, creativity, material well-being, and intellect to name a few.
No one of these aspects can be neglected and sometimes sacrifices must be made from within ourselves to ensure that this balance is kept.
The Hanged Man notes that our current path is leading us toward spiritual imbalance. You may have heard of the saying “What got you here won’t get you there” and this is a sentiment that is integral in understanding The Hanged Man. It is time to take a pause and reallocate your energies.
Old habits could be deteriorating your health while satisfying your material wants. Strong emotions could be getting in the way of progression in business or creative projects. Intense passion may be causing a lack of empathy. The Hanged Man says that this cannot go much further and must be readjusted.
Pauses aren’t always convenient, but if we do not take the initiative, this card promises that The Universe will step in and be sure that we take our necessary breaks and undergo the necessary changes. It isn’t always ideal, but this is the sacrifice we must make to get closer to being our best selves.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card Upright
The young man of this card might be immobilized, yet a great power lies in his serene gaze. It is the power of having no fear to be vulnerable and to detach from what doesn’t work for you.
The Hanged Man Upright is about renouncing choice. You can look, but you must not do anything. Stand still and wait; let life happen. Your point of view is undergoing readjustment. When the time comes, you will know, and you will experience true freedom. Until then, you must go through changes.
By refusing to make a choice in a game whose rules were not made either for or by you, there lies the opportunity to avoid a lot of regret and complications. This Arcanum is, despite its unorthodox nature, very simple to interpret.
Sometimes we can turn the world around just by changing our minds and finding new angles to look at life.
However, the Hanged Man’s enlightened, calm face hides a lot of pain and emotional distress. His secret is to welcome it, to accept and embrace the suffering that all human beings have to go through at some point, and then release it along with any and all attachments.
Struggling will be of no use. It will only tighten the ropes. Let everything go. Give up control, and don’t give in to easy solutions.
Take your time to heal, rest, and remember; you put yourself up on that tree of your own free will! Only you can be the one to know how and when you will break free from your fetters, and in what ways you must change to do so.
The Hanged Man card is mostly about looking at life from a different angle.
For the initiated and those interested in esotericism, it brings to mind the serene feeling of meditation and yoga, or it could even suggest the process of sensory deprivation as a means to approach enlightenment, altered states of consciousness, and gnosis.
The Hanged Man Keywords:
- Letting Go
- New Perspective
- Lack of Direction
- Divine Intervention
- Higher Calling
- Unexpected Halt
What Does The Hanged Man Tarot Card Mean When Reversed?
The Reversed Hanged Man almost looks as if he is standing upright. Gravity is working against him though, and he is tethered down by only his bound ankle.
The Reversed Hanged Man describes a situation in which a pause has gone on too long. Time is passing and no substantial change is being made. Because of this, opportunities are being missed and the course of your life is blocked indefinitely.
This may be a time in which you feel stuck in a rut. Self-worth and balance present us with daunting work. It can be hard to know where to start or decipher which part of our consciousness needs our attention the most.
When we get too caught up in deciding which path to take, though, we lose valuable time that could be spent exploring and learning about ourselves. Now is the time to pick a path and stick to it.
If it doesn’t work, you will always have the ability to pause and redirect again— this is The Hanged Man we’re dealing with after all!
While sometimes this hold-up in our development can be caused by a sense of anxiety, it can also be a result of arrogance or an inflated ego. When we think we are above change or were “right all along,” we push against the flow of The Universe.
New perspectives are necessary for living a balanced life and achieving spiritual growth. These are things we can’t put off. We must understand that we are not always right and adapting speaks to our maturity.
The Reversed Hanged Man isn’t meant to be a card of scolding despite all of this. Instead, it serves as an encouragement. Get back out there! There are no wrong choices, only choices that will help you to learn and get even closer to the best version of yourself you can be.
The Hanged Man Reversed Keywords:
- Missed Opportunity
- Purposeful Waiting
- Passage of Time
What Does The Hanged Man Tarot Card as How Someone (He/She) Sees You?
Sometimes it is difficult to track our own progress, but when The Hanged Man describes how others see you, know that others can see the changes you’re making.
When someone sees you through the lenses of The Hanged Man, they are seeing a completely changed person.
Something integral in their original perception of you has changed and you are a new person. This may result in heightened respect for you, or the reality that there are some people you need to move on from.
Think of a child actor. They can be completely unrecognizable when they grow up and begin starring in more adult roles. This is a physical representation of the change that The Hanged Man is citing.
Maybe it was your political views, your interests, or your goals, but something big has changed. Others see you as someone who is able to adapt to your situation in order to foster healthy growth of the self. They know that when they stick with you, they’ll be introduced to all sorts of new perspectives.
The people who embrace these changes are the ones that will help you move forward. If they scoff at you for adapting and favor “the old you,” then this card is a sign that they could be holding you back in the world.
The Hanged Man Reversed as How Someone (He/She) Sees You
Those who surround you want great things for you and want to see you grow. You are known to continually deny the opportunities presented to you, however.
When someone sees you in the light of The Reversed Hanged Man, they see you as a person who is stuck in the past and resistant to change. They want to move forward with you but don’t trust that you’re ready to come along with them.
The Hanged Man might be seen as a cocoon, a state of inactivity in which we enter to one day transform into a better, complete version of ourselves. It is very easy to forget why and how you got in this state to begin with, and to misunderstand its warmth and comfort for real change.
The person you are thinking about sees a version of you that clings to the past, attached to a fleeting dream, a memory of what you once were.
They see in you the opportunity and, perhaps, the necessity for change, but you seem to resist it, appearing either complacent about being inert, fearful of letting go, or waiting for someone else to make the change for you.
Or, worst of all, too lazy and stubborn to admit that you have to make changes in your life!
What Does The Hanged Man Tarot Card Mean in Love?
In love, The Hanged Man reminds us that good things come to those who wait. Steps in a relationship must be taken at their own pace and for the right reasons. Couples that are not willing to make sacrifices for one another will not be able to progress together.
It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. It might feel like everyone is in a relationship or getting married but you!
Though this feeling makes it very tempting to hop into a relationship with the nearest person or fast forward your relationship to the “I dos,” The Hanged Man serves as a yellow light— slow down!
Relationships are not nearly as easy as the movies make them out to be. We must always be mindful that our partners do not exist solely to be our partners. They are their own bodies and souls with wants and needs that might not always line up with ours.
Sacrifice and compromise are vital to the survival of a relationship. You can’t expect your partner to make changes for you if you are not willing to make changes for them. Allow this dynamic the time it needs to form. These things simply can’t be rushed.
Someone who is in search of a partner is being called to take a step back and evaluate what it is they are seeking in a relationship. Is it just for the sake of being in a relationship? It is okay to not be ready for a commitment. It is a difficult and sometimes draining thing. You must give yourself time.
What does the Hanged Man Reversed mean in Love?
In the reversed position, The Hanged Man points to a sense of stubbornness. There is a change that needs to happen in order for your relationship to progress or for your desired partner to be interested in you. These things will not magically come to you overnight.
There is work that needs to be done to achieve these rewards— Work that only you can do.
When you show these matters patience and exhibit malleability, you will find that your love life seems to be falling into place.
The reversed Hanged Man in a love reading suggests that you have been waiting far too long for a change that only you can make. Love is not a panacea – it won’t turn your life around and solve all your problems just because you want it to.
It might seem like it at the beginning, but it won’t dissipate the need for self-work. There are times to be romantic and times to be realistic.
Stubbornness and a refusal to change can lead to feelings of dissociation and disinterest. While you are waiting for the magical spark to rekindle your love life, you might be overlooking that this spark begins from your own heart and soul. It needs time and effort.
What does The Hanged Man Tarot Card mean in Friendship?
Among friends, The Hanged Man points to the fact that the relationship is being held back due to someone’s inability to let something go. There is something impeding the balance between friends that needs to be given up or changed in order for things to continue harmoniously.
Grudges never get us anywhere.
This thing that needs to be parted with can take a number of different forms and could be perpetuated by any friend involved in the matter.
Perhaps there was an argument that one of you still hasn’t fully healed from, or maybe one of you has some toxic friends outside of your group who are interfering. The Hanged Man could also be a sign that these friends are not good for you in the long term.
It is time to analyze your friendships as well as your role in them. Friendships, just like any other relationship, are filled with sacrifice. In stable and healthy friendships, for every sacrifice you make, someone else will make one for you.
Sometimes, however, small sacrifices can turn into core-altering changes.
Remember that you are your own person. Don’t let peer pressure lead you to make choices that go against what you believe in. The Hanged Man asks you to take on new perspectives but is also an invitation to let go of things that threaten your ideal self.
What does the Hanged Man Reversed mean in Friendship?
The Reversed Hang Man once again speaks to the idea of stubbornness. Your friend group is at a stalemate and healthy change is being resisted. Maybe there is a new friend that wants to join or an old friend who has moved on. Resistance to these developments will only bring about discord.
This card occasionally points out that someone feels like a victim, either betrayed by his people or rendered immobile by the tragedies of life. It’s not always possible to go around asking friends to help and be there for you – that is something that must happen voluntarily.
Maybe this plea worked once or twice or many times in the past. But no one can guarantee that a friend will always be there for you. Perhaps they’ve given all they could and the changes they wish to make in their lives right now cannot involve you.
Instead, turn your head towards the people who actually want to help you and, most importantly, those you can help as well.
Those who will make you feel strong and capable to get down from that tree where you’ve been hanging and stagnating – they might even help you see that there is no tree, no tethers, and you’ve just been looking at it wrong!
What Does The Hanged Man Mean in Career?
In the world of career, The Hanged Man seeks to guide us through times of uncertainty. It is a reminder that we cannot force decisions or changes but must rather see them through with patience. Value this moment of pause and realign if necessary.
Every career has those tense moments of quiet, be it an actor eager for a cast list to be posted, or a businessman waiting for a client’s decision. The Hanging Man says that this time doesn’t have to be all nerves and disarray.
This is a built-in moment of quiet in your career. This could be time spent evaluating your position and considering any adjustments to your path that may be necessary. Take this time for yourself as professional development.
Whatever you do, though, do not try to force anyone’s hand.
When you attempt to interfere with the decision-making process of another during this time, it will not end favorably for you. You must allow things to take their course and know that the road does not end if things don’t go your way, a new road has merely been cleared for you.
What is best for you right now is to step back. Enjoy this moment of pause and do whatever it takes to calm your nerves. Things will pick back up again when the time is right.
What does the Hanged Man Reversed mean in Career?
When The Hanged Man appears reversed, it is time to readjust your views on your position in your career. This card is telling you that you’re stunting your own growth. It’s time to turn that around!
You have big dreams and that’s fantastic! However, you cannot turn up your nose or attempt to rush through jobs you think are below you. Your promotions will come with time. Believing your way is the best closes you off to a multitude of other perspectives and methods that could help you progress.
A card of stillness and passivity, the reversed Hanged Man could mean that you stubbornly refuse to work and progress, or that you simply don’t feel like it. Whether out of pride, laziness, or looking out for the dream job, this inertia is damaging your financial status.
Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees! For those of us who were not born into rich families, it is the same all over the world; we have to work hard to put bread on the table, a foreign concept to the elite and privileged.
And that is also why this card might seldom refer to a labor strike, a means to voice the workers’ concerns by halting production.
What does The Hanged Man Tarot Card Mean in Conflict?
When it comes to conflict, The Hanged Man asks that you see things from the other person’s perspective. At the end of the day, petty conflicts only hold you back. It might be time to let them win so that you can move on to bigger and better things.
Think of how The Reversed Hanged Man so often deals with stubbornness and battling against our own stubbornness. Sometimes in arguments, we can find our opponent to be a physical manifestation of said stubbornness.
People can get so stuck in their ways and after a while, the row becomes about being right rather than being correct.
Think of why your opponent may be arguing their side. Are they speaking from their own experience? Are they perhaps uneducated on the topic? Perhaps they’re in the right and you merely needed to look at the bigger picture. This may be one way to restore harmony.
However, if a fight seems to be dragging on and on, think of all the things you could be using this time and energy for. The Hanged Man preaches the casting off of things that hold us back. This argument may be one of those weights.
It might be time to sacrifice this battle and let them win. Anything for it to be over with. They may not have come here to have a discussion, but rather to argue. That is not what you need to be surrounding yourself with.
What does the Hanged Man Reversed mean in Conflict?
In the reversed position, The Hanged Man says, “We’re going nowhere.” This war is fought by two stubborn parties that will not budge for anything. Either walk away and get on with your life or prepare to be here for a long time…
No one likes to be proven wrong. And when two people fight over nonsense, that is the greatest failure of communication.
Even when the matter at hand is serious, if nobody is willing to alter their perspective of it, to compromise, or at least back off and stay out of it, well, the most crucial conflict turns to nonsense all the same.
Just think of the mindless accusations and babble of rival political parties… They don’t actually care about solving anything, they are only undermining their opponent and justifying their views, pointing their fingers, and giving pretentious, rehearsed speeches.
They are like the Reversed Hanged Man; they would deny gravity if it would reinforce their argument and keep them in their place. And while they claim they can bring about great change, their hands are tied. And they are perfectly fine with it, not willing to change a single thing.
Should you argue with people who mistake idiocy for cleverness, who pass lies as the truth, and who will not ever consider changing their opinion, do the smart thing and walk away; or, as Mark Twain said, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as How Someone Thinks of You
When the Hanged Man describes how someone thinks of you, it means they think you are an enlightened altruist.
The Hanged Man has a tremendous capacity for acceptance and empathy. The person you asked the question about appreciates how you often put the interests of others first. They believe you are very calm, understanding, adaptable, and resilient even in the direst of circumstances.
People admire your kindness, your patience, and the peculiar way you perceive life and the world. You know when to stay out of trouble, and you would offer help even when you have nothing to gain. Most importantly, you know when you have to change your mind and adapt.
The Hanged Man is perfectly self-aware. He knows that it’s not the world that is wrong; nature is perfect as it is, but we humans sometimes miss that.
We can rediscover that, for ourselves and others, by standing still, if only for a moment, to appreciate life with all its joy and pain, feel grateful, and look from a new perspective.
The Hanged Man Reversed as How Someone Thinks of You
The Reversed Hanged Man, however, tells a different story when it turns up as the answer to your question about how someone thinks of you.
In reverse, the Hanged Man is thought of as a stubborn, helpless person detached from reality. You want to help others out of obligation, not joy, and that is quite harmful to you. They might wonder why you are punishing yourself in such ways, and think that you’ve got some kind of martyr complex.
Perhaps you’d like to clear your conscience of guilt and regret or feel obligated to offer help, while in reality, you cannot help yourself.
You might be trying to get involved in situations that ultimately do you harm, appearing as a masochist, or seeking the help of others to get you out of a dire situation in which you ended up all by yourself.
Look out; self-punishment is the sediment of a guilt-ridden religious mindset. You won’t acquire a clean slate by pretending you can help others when you obviously cannot, and that shows. People won’t appreciate someone who gives up everything for others.
There’s a certain kind of desperation in this; the notion that nobody will like you if you don’t do everything for them.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as Feelings.
The Hanged Man describes a feeling of suspension.
This is a nerve-wracking time of transition. When describing feelings, this card calls to mind the anxiety and frustration that being caught in limbo can inspire within us and hopes to point us in the direction of a healthier approach to embracing the unknown.
There are many emotions that come when we find ourselves in periods of waiting. There is nervousness, boredom, and even irritation. All of these things together create the frantic feeling of suspension. It may feel like all of the blood is rushing to your head.
The waiting game is never a fun one to play, and The Hanged Man sees your struggle. However, this is a card that comes to tell you to take a deep breath and relax. This pause in your life has you tied up in knots and it is time to unwind. This will not last forever.
Consider where your negative emotions are coming from and who and what they are directed at.
It is important to remember that no matter what happens, your life will continue forward. The sun will rise and set each day and the world will keep turning. Even when things don’t go our way, new paths are opened up to us.
While there may not be a way to speed up the time your suspension lasts, there is a way to make it more enjoyable. This is a perfect time to try a new perspective on size. You may realize that the thing you’re waiting on isn’t exactly what you wanted in the end.
The Hanged Man Reversed as Feelings
In the reversed position, The Hanged Man describes feelings of apathy or laziness. There is a bounty of opportunities laid out before you, but you would rather choose what is easy over what is necessary or most beneficial.
Apathy can come as a result of exhaustion, arrogance, or fear and leads to a state of stagnation. Though it may be difficult to exert the effort it takes to move forward, the consequences of staying in place will prove to be harmful to your development.
These challenges must be pushed through in order for rewards to come. There is no certainty unless uncertainty exists.
This apathy and uncertainty can feel like the dark side of limbo; there is no time, each day is the same and nothing will ever change, so you might as well stay idle, right? Wrong!
There’s a very distinct difference between the graceful letting go of meditation or yoga and the sedating numbness of giving up and avoiding life.
No good can come from denying the pain. The Hanged Man’s approach is to accept it with a smile and even be grateful that you are able to feel it, while also making an effort to heal. Running away from it and finding excuses to justify laziness won’t get you anywhere.
The same goes for any opportunities that you’re missing because you refuse to climb down from your “cross”.
The Reversed Hanged Man seeks the primordial stillness and safety of the womb; but since that will never happen, he settles for numb, rigid inactivity, warding off everything that would expose him to any feeling.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as a Situation.
The past position of The Hanged Man speaks to what comes after the release of the things that hold us back as well as the point at which sacrifice can become too much.
You have been heavily influenced by the things you have chosen to let go. This is the start of your new life. During this time, as you build your new self in accordance with your growth, be wary of what you are asked to sacrifice as you may not have much else to give after your recent transformation.
When The Hanged Man describes your situation, you are standing at square one, having just crossed over the threshold into a new chapter of your life. You have put in the work, cast off the things that no longer serve you, and are continuing towards your ideal self.
Though you are feeling powerful and fresh, it is important to remember, that in this young stage of your new form, you may be in a slightly more vulnerable state. You have given up a great deal to get here and those around you may ask for even more sacrifices from you.
It is important not to deplete yourself with all you have to give.
Tread cautiously forward but look at the world with wonder. As you start down this path, be open to receiving the sacrifices of others and know that you are also helping them grow.
The world is run on exchanges of energy between one another and you are an important part of it as long as you are willing to give as well as get.
Cherish this time and use it to fuel you forward into the next stage of your life.
The Hanged Man Reversed as a Situation
When reversed, or when the surrounding cards signify pressure and stagnation, the Hanged Man surrenders to futility.
In the reversed position, The Hanged Man is telling you that you are in a rut. Something’s got to change in your life in order for things to start going your way. It is important that you look inward before assigning blame to the rest of the world.
Pessimism is your enemy and it is time to try new things in the hope of summoning your motivation and bravery to move forward. You may have been feeling like your hands are tied, and it may very well be so, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope.
Release your burden. You’ve been looking at the world from an impassive, perhaps even sickened perspective for too long.
Your resistance to change will only put off your inevitable transformation. It is time to rip off the band-aid and move forward into a new era. You will thank yourself for it.
The Hanged Man as an Intention / What Someone Wants
When The Hanged Man appears as a desire, it pinpoints the want for a meaningful pause. The person who holds this desire does not feel they can continue in their current state and is seeking the time to make substantial changes in their lives.
No one is perfect and we all wish we could be just a bit better at one thing or another. For example, many people have weight loss or fitness goals. The trouble is, it can be so hard to find the time to work out and begin moving towards the results we want.
If only there were more hours in the day! The Hanged Man Speaks to this want.
The Hanged Man appears as a desire when the negative patterns in our lives can be ignored no longer and it becomes evident that change is necessary. There is one facet of your being that has been taking a beating lately and it is crying out for help!
A person whose wants align with The Hanged Man is seeking the time to rebalance and reallocate their energies so that they can continue forward in a better state.
This person may be wishing they were someone new and is ready to shed their old skin and reinvent themselves. While it is draining, this is an exciting time of growth for them and they want to do everything possible to continue their development.
On top of all of this, they most likely want— and need— your support and help to embrace the positive changes they are undergoing.
The Hanged Man Reversed as Intentions / What Someone Wants
When a desire takes the form of The Reversed Hanged Man, it speaks to the want to stay the same. There are outside forces causing a change in this person’s environment that they may find overwhelming. They are hoping to remain untouched by this change.
This can be a positive or negative thing. On the bright side, they may be hoping to resist a change that threatens their morals or core values. The shadow side of this card, however, suggests that it could also come from a place of stubbornness or ego.
They could be resisting a change that would benefit them in the long run.
So, it could be that somebody is trying to help this person break free. But this can only happen if they actually desire freedom! The process of liberation is hardly ever without pain, and too often people are fearful of drastic change.
They prefer that everything stays the way it is; normal, comfortable, and mundane.
However, this imminent change could do more harm than good. In that case, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay the same, in a stable and controlled environment, without unpleasant surprises!
Is The Hanged Man Tarot Cars a Yes or a No?
The Hanged Man is a fickle character in Major Arcana, his connection to both change and pauses renders him a maybe.
The Hanged Man does not present us with a clear-cut yes or no. Instead, this card asks us to look inward and check in with ourselves. Is there balancing that needs to be done before you move forward? It is probably best to draw other cards in conjunction with this one to get a clearer picture.
Rather than answering a question, The Hanged Man seeks to describe the nature of our predicament a bit better. It serves as a caution of sorts. There is gravity in this choice and with it will come change. All perspectives must be considered and one’s energy must be in line.
The choice lies with you, however. This card will not give you the thumbs up or thumbs down. Only you can say if you are ready to move forward. There’s a chance you may need some time to define your goals and purpose or give attention to an area in your life you’ve been neglecting.
Other cards can be drawn in tandem with The Hanged Man if you are seeking a more concrete response, but do not let these other messages overtake the warning that The Hanged Man offers. No matter what you choose to do, self-awareness will be imperative.
Is the Hanged Man Reversed a Yes or No?
When reversed, the Hanged Man wavers in the same kind of uncertainty.
In the reversed position, The Hanged Man takes a similar tone, not taking the side of yes or no. As opposed to questioning your balance, though, it questions your intentions.
Are your actions in the name of growth and self-improvement? Or are you trying to run away from something necessary? It is time to return to the drawing board and define exactly why we are asking our yes or no question.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as a Place.
Because The Hanged Man deals with the will of the universe and patiently pauses, it is at home in a place under the open night sky.
When we lie on our backs in search of shooting stars, we look into the mouth of the uncontrolled universe. The only way we have a shot at making our wishes is if we sacrifice our time to patiently await the passing of meteors. It is not something that can be forced.
Under the open night sky, we are reminded of the magic and the beauty that The Universe possesses. So little of the night sky has been explored, so truly we are staring out into the unknown. There is no knowing what is in store for us, but well aware that we hang in the balance of every astronomical event.
We cannot control which constellations or heavenly bodies we might see, though, and so we must wait and enjoy the view.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card Reversed as a Place
The Reversed Hanged Man dwells within a prison, not necessarily an actual detention center, but the confines of one’s own home. It could otherwise be a place of desolation, where the memory of past atrocities and tragedies still lives on like a ghost.
Well, if we exclude the impossibility of a zero-gravity chamber, the Hanged Man card in reverse would most likely refer to a place of emptiness and silent sadness. This could mean that the querent is stuck in their home.
As a card of martyrdom, it could also bring to mind desolate places where people suffered unjustly, or monuments built in their memory.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as an Obstacle or Challenge
Not all obstacles can be crushed by sheer force alone.
The Hanged Man champions restraint. When taking the form of an obstacle, it rears its head at times when things are uncertain and seemingly hanging by a thread. This is a situation that we wish we could rush or force but know we can only purposefully wait out.
Much like its connections to emotion, The Hanged Man mirrors that odd concept of suspension when it crosses us.
This is a time in which the ground is unstable, and we cannot seem to find our footing. The world seems to be on its head. If The Rider-Waite’s Hanged Man reached up to untie his ankle, though, not only would he be working against gravity, but he would come crashing to the ground— right onto his head!
The Hanged Man as an obstacle can feel like a test of faith.
It is tempting to reach in an attempt to mold our fates like clay, but The Universe knows there is nothing to learn from that. The challenges you are faced with are meant to be learned from rather than resisted, no matter how difficult withstanding them may be.
This is not a card that renders you powerless, however. Externally, there is little you can do that won’t plunge you into trouble, but internally you are being given all of the necessary tools to continue developing your spirit.
Some of your greatest inner work will be done when the material world seems shaky and your consciousness is the only stable ground you have.
The Hanged Man Reversed as an Obstacle or Challenge
The Reversed Hanged Man tends to echo itself across all of its possible forms. There isn’t much to say when you’re stuck in one place.
As an obstacle, the shadow side of this card pinpoints your enemy as yourself. The person who is robbing you of opportunities and experience is you.
The Reversed Hanged Man is oblivious to his predicaments. You must overcome your apathy and ego in order to achieve the rewards that you want. It’s time to earn them!
It will take hard work, but the biggest challenge is overcoming your resistance to chasing these goals. The greatest obstacle is getting over yourself and making that first step, renouncing the safety of inactivity and accepting the risk of climbing down from the nest.
Once you conquer your hesitation to start, you will find yourself in a new world of possibility, and your completed goals will give way to bigger, more fulfilling ones.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as Action
While the Hanged Man is bound and motionless, he’s not necessarily inactive. Isn’t the conscious attempt to surrender to the powers that be an act in and of itself?
The Hanged Man calls on you to let go. You are already safely bound to a stable basis, so there’s no fear of harm. For a while, stand still, do nothing, and act like you have no intent to choose and act. Take some time for yourself to rest and just be; there’s no hurry.
We don’t always have to rush through life; the Hanged Man is a reminder to take a breath. Just do not interfere, don’t decide on anything, stay put, and dawdle for a week or two.
In the frantic pace of modern society, it’s important to know our limits. And equally important is to know when to pause, release all tension, and hang in there. You’d be surprised by the amount of stress you can avoid by simply disappearing from the world for a couple of days.
Great wisdom can be found in non-doing; think of the incessant running around of human beings on a daily basis. Going to work, shopping, driving, complaining about the weather… Even when we eat our lunch we’re used to the constant noise of television that occupies our minds.
Why, it doesn’t seem so natural, does it? Besides daily necessities, it’s all kind of superfluous.
In the sharp words of Dostoyevsky, “The long and the short of it is, gentlemen, that it is better to do nothing! Better conscious inertia!”
The Hanged Man Reversed as Action
In reverse, however, the Hanged Man has stayed inert and inactive for too long.
The Reversed Hanged Man as an action card tells you that you’ve been avoiding life. It’s time to reverse the situation and get back on your feet. Perhaps you feel like there’s nothing you can do; even so, we all must begin somewhere.
If you’re just lazy, then there’s no excuse! But in case you believe there is absolutely nothing you can do, remember that the Hanged Man got tangled up in the tree on his own accord. If he stays there forever, he’s a fish on a hook! If he miraculously breaks free, he’s an escape artist.
What will it be? It’s not really a matter of choice when one stubbornly remains in a state of neurotic complacency and sloth indefinitely. Yes, you can rest if you’re tired and stressed, but eventually, you will have to leave your safe space. Start simple. Take a walk!
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as Advice.
Think of how the Rider-Waite imagery presents The Hanged Man: at peace despite the odd position he finds himself in. This carefree attitude he displays is wherein lies The Hanged Man’s advice.
We must allow ourselves to be moved by the universe. We cannot fight against the necessary things we must give and take. This is a time to pause and allow fate to take its course. Use this time to consider different perspectives in order to name the sacrifices that are needed of you.
It is time to put your feet up (maybe not in the same manner as The Hanged Man) and let The Universe do its work. It can be difficult to trust the forces at play, but we must remember that we are bound to get what we need.
The Universe gives and takes and we hang in the balance, much like how the Rider-Waite’s Hanged Man is supported only by the string around one of his ankles. It can be anxiety-inducing to know just how secure we are.
Note, though, that The Hanged Man does not spend his time looking up at his ankle, but rather forward at his new perspective of the world.
Hang in there! Now is the time to pause and take it all in. Upheaval can feel as if our world is being turned upside down. Take a look at the world from this position. You may find it new, different, and somewhat wonderful. It may take the sacrifice of your old view to open yourself to this unfamiliar magic.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card Reversed as Advice
In the reversed position, The Hanged Man says it’s time to get moving. You have been stalled by ego or fear for too long and your time is being wasted. It might be time to close your eyes and pick a path. Anything to get moving and stay moving once again.
You wouldn’t want to wake up one day and realize that you have sacrificed days, months, or even years of your life for nothing. Don’t be afraid to choose an unknown path. Life is too short to ponder indefinitely; eventually, we all have to make a choice.
Sometimes that means taking a step back so we can then take two steps forward.
The Reversed Hanged Man is idle for no apparent reason. Perhaps, though, the reasons have been hidden, purposefully forgotten. And they are the rope that ties him to the post.
Thus, we arrive again at the concept of the chrysalis, and the sterile safety and stillness of the womb; the individual is fearful of the outside world, hesitant to act, believing they cannot achieve anything. They look at the world as a separate thing, waiting for the moment of rebirth.
They are only biding their time, either waiting for a transformative change, without, however, actually making an effort, or they have given up altogether.
A new perspective is needed a new path. Don’t waste your time anymore!
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as an Outcome
As an outcome, the Hanged Man refers to a stalemate. It will be a time of recuperation and realignment when nothing happens. You can see this as an opportunity to look ahead, find your balance, and prepare yourself for long-term changes.
Like the calm before the storm, the Hanged Man card tells you that it’s not time yet. Changes are already underway, but you won’t see results for the time being. There may be some emotional distress, or the need to sort out psychological issues before progress is possible.
Keep a positive mental attitude and wait patiently, while also working on your well-being.
The Hanged Man Reversed as an Outcome
The Reversed Hanged Man points to an undesired outcome. Your goals will be delayed, an opportunity might be missed. Whether out of laziness to act, complacency, or trying to find the easy way out, you’ll be back at square one, feeling like your hands are tied.
They say that madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In the shadow of the Hanged Man, we could see the punishment of the Fool for believing he can trick the world, for acting on mindless whims, or for trying to escape responsibility.
As an outcome, this card in reverse tells you to start over. You see things from the wrong perspective, and important inner work must be done before your goals are complete.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card in the Future.
The Hanged Man can be a confusing card to understand due to its strong ties to uncertainty. This is not an accident, though. This is a card that asks you to find meaning within rather than out in the world. Mystery and uncertainty are major players in the magic that we live in our daily lives.
In the future position, The Hanged Man notes that there are many things that are still unknown to us. It is important to plan carefully and thoroughly, both internally and externally. Timing is everything. If you act at the right moment, you will get ahead.
The future position is another instance in which The Hanged Man offers very little in the realm of clear and concrete answers. Instead of telling us what the future is bringing, it rather warns us that the future is indeed coming, and we need to be ready for it.
Sometimes in divination, it can seem as if the future is just going to happen to us as a separate entity. The truth that The Hanged Man brings to our attention is that our futures are intertwined with us. We are the ones who influence our futures and they are intertwined with our spirit.
Sure we cannot control major life events like storms or the actions of others, but our reactions to said events and our preparedness for them lie in our hands and determine the flavor our lives will take.
The Hanged Man is a call to action. Now is the time to do some self-work in preparation for what is coming. Your way of handling your future situations will have a great impact on yourself, those around you, and the paths that become open to you as you progress.
The Hanged Man Reversed in the Future
In the reversed position as a card about your future, The Hanged Man means that necessary changes are being delayed or avoided. You will remain in the same rough spot unless you start connecting to the present moment. Until then, there is no point in catching a glimpse of the future.
Once again, The Reversed Hanged Man draws our attention to the fact that we may be stuck in a rut. There is no way to predict the future of someone who is staying still.
This is the “try again later” of The Tarot. It is time to get some action going in your life before reconsulting your deck. Currently, you are at a standstill.
It could be idleness or dissociation that got you here. But right now, the important thing is to figure out what will propel you forward. You cannot know the future if you don’t assume responsibility for your current condition.
If you wish for better days to come, you have to start today. Well, you might have had to start yesterday, so all the more reason to address the issues that keep you idle and waiting, tied up on that tree!
The Hanged Man Tarot Card as a Person.
The Hanged Man describes a person who moves with the flow of the universe. They are open-minded and patient, knowing that purposeful waiting and times of uncertainty are the keys to spiritual development.
When a person takes on the form of The Hanged Man, they are always seeking new heights. They are always changing and trying new things.
Despite the explosive nature of their passion and constant transformation, they are also a person with a mastery of relaxation.
They know when it is time to let go and allow for things to take their course. Even when life is uncertain, they can keep a level head. This is a good person to keep near if you are prone to nervousness.
A true altruist, the individual who is like the Hanged Man will go out of their way to help those in need. They know better than anyone the value of sacrifice. We cannot simply have all we want in life.
And while you may catch them looking unsure about literally everything, that is to their advantage. When we admit we know nothing, that is when we are truly receptive to knowledge. Finally, this is a person who values their bonds with their loved ones above all else.
The post to which the Hanged Man is tied up could literally represent one’s family tree.
The Hanged Man Reversed as a Person
In the reverse position, The Hanged Man depicts someone who is stuck in their ways. They are stubborn and it is nearly impossible to change their mind. They are always operating at the hands of their routines and repetitive behaviors. This is a person who fears change.
In this sense, the Reversed Hanged Man becomes a witness with a terrible burden; a person who is unable to act, speak or participate. Even when they do, they could be talking for hours on end but not really saying anything, trying to convince you that they are in the right and the whole world is wrong.
They cannot accept what they have become, neither can they surrender to uncertainty and let go of their delusive affirmations. Every argument that goes against their beliefs will only backfire because they don’t want to change their opinions.
They will try their best to appear relaxed, but anyone can see they are on the edge as if constantly hanging by a thread.
What can you do for someone who believes that freedom is slavery? Who pretends they feel no pain when they are walking on burning charcoal and will not, for a moment, break their frantic rote and unconscious habits?
They got it all twisted, and the more they try to escape from themselves, the more the rope tightens around their leg.
A reversed Hanged Man might pretend he needs help to escape from his self-inflicted plight, just to see who cares about him. Unable to alter his perspective, he wishes that somebody else will magically make the change on his behalf and cut the imaginary cord that ties him to his burden.
What Zodiac Sign is The Hanged Man?
The Hanged Man’s relationship with the unstable times in our lives is reminiscent of the great and terrible waves of the ocean. Because of this, this card boasts a connection with the Zodiac sign Pisces.
Pisces are known for a strong work ethic and sense of willpower. They know how to show restraint when it is necessary and are willing to take the time to balance themselves before plunging into anything rash.
The Hanged Man is all about the waiting game. Pisces’ wisdom allows them to value this time and use it to their advantage.
Nothing goes to waste with them. They are constantly giving of themselves for the benefit of others, and though their emotions get the best of them from time to time, this is a sign that, like The Hanging Man, has a strong connection to the flow of The Universe and the passage of time.
Get a Psychic Reading, 5 Minutes Free
If you are interested in getting a psychic reading, then as a VekkeSind reader, you can get 5 minutes free.
I’d love to hear about your experience. Please connect with me, after you’ve had a reading…
Major Arcana Cards Complete Guides
- The Fool
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant
- The Lovers
- The Chariot
- The Hermit
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Hanged Man
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Star
- The Moon
- The Sun
- The World
- What’s the difference between the Major and Minor Arcana?
- How to use the Major Arcana tarot cards
- How to read the Minor Arcana Tarot Cards
Shop For My Favorite Items on Amazon…
I love my Asakuki Diffuser, I have this going in my living room or my office with either peppermint or lavender. The diffuser holds more water than other diffusers and lasts longer. It also has a timer so that I doesn’t run dry. The Diffuser adds a nice gentle scent to my home.
I’ll fill the diffuser with lavender or peppermint. With the thunder in the background and the smell of peppermint, it’s like being whisked away to a faraway place!