The Hanged Man teaches us to integrate the humility of Justice by moving from ego to soul through surrender into it, which allows us to see things from a new perspective — things which perhaps others can’t. We may not believe what soul is telling us, and this topsy-turvy reorientation may be uncomfortable while we’re suspended in it, but an attitude of acceptance can foster a state of peace, which opens new awareness, allowing us to proceed, finding meaning in this discomfort and allowing us to transform it into power.
There is often a halo around The Hanged Man’s head, representing spiritual illumination or the higher self. “Let go and let God” is one way of advising surrender to the wisdom of the Godself.
(-) In resistance, we are unable to see from this new perspective and are left feeling ungrounded and vulnerable. Stifled and unable to adjust, this sense of powerlessness may create a reliance on others.
(+) In excess, we tend toward self-sacrifice, or a pattern of resentful submission. We may risk self-sabotage in the sense that we subconsciously undermine our own position. Here we have an intersection with The Emperor in giving up our power, and The Chariot in control issues — but where The Chariot is driven (or fails) to gain control, The Hanged Man feels it taken from him. This may be accompanied by victim mentality in a continuation from Justice.
The martyr is also an obvious element here, enduring great suffering for our principles; which also relates back to Justice, and sets us up for our next stop with Death.
Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include
- Where are you getting hung up? Might it be time for a new perspective?
- How do you allow for new perspectives?
- Are you always sacrificing for others?
- Where do you feel powerless?
- Do you easily submit to the will of others? Does this leave you feeling resentful?
- Are your egoic convictions in opposition to the guidance of your wiser parts?
- How do you connect with your Higher Self?
- Is there somewhere you may need to give up control?
- What are you willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of spiritual evolution?
What else? The archetypes of the majors are complex and you may have other insights. How has this card come up for you? What are some examples of this card’s energies?