Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences.
The Hanged Man asks us to surrender seeing the world through the filter of our life experiences and to try a new perspective. The image of an individual suspended upside-down by one foot can appear hopeless, but the art often depicts someone with a calm expression on their face. It is when we are able to submit to the very real possibility that the filter we apply to our daily situations is no longer the best fit for us.
Have you ever met someone with worldviews so different from yours that you wondered if they came from another planet? How did it go? Did you part ways or did you embrace your differences? Sometimes when we suspend our own reality long enough to entertain another, we crack open blind spots we didn’t know we had. Other times, despite our efforts to see things their way, we are simply incompatible. That is okay too–there is room for all of us.
The Hanged Man is not an unpleasant card to turn over. It has the potential to be one of the most freeing opportunities of the major arcana. Imagine learning that there is an area of your life that could be lived with more joy and less resistance. In many ways, this card reflects what Buddhism proposes: attachment is the root of all suffering. Sometimes the things we hold on to the tightest are the things that need releasing.
Often this card does not indicate a choice we have made to see things a different way, but a situation or individual who has turned us on our head. This has the potential to make us feel powerless. However, by practicing the ability to set aside resistance and just be still this new perspective can be transformational!
I invite you to take some time to do a “brain dump” of things that feel challenging in your life right now. Is it a friendship that no longer brings joy but instead makes you cringe? Is it a decision you have been stewing over? Could it be a parenting struggle? Is it finances? Just put the pen to paper and let it all pour out in its messy, chaotic splendor. Choose three situations that really jump out at you, and imagine how someone who may be the polar opposite of you would handle it. Have fun with this; choose a film character or celebrity and imagine their responses. If you have had trouble expressing yourself to someone and are feeling stifled, imagine a notoriously outspoken rock star in your position. What would they say and do? Perhaps you can split the difference, omit the profanity and start there.
Pay attention when you find someone who challenges what you have established as your “absolute truths.” Some of these truths are vital to our well-being, others are simply limiting the rich, exhilarating experiences life has to offer. Be open to the possibilities that await with a new perspective!
“When everything is upside down in life; Don’t worry take a deep breath. The Almighty is busy remaking the best for your life.”
“It’s when I stand on my head that I see things the right way up.”
Until our paths cross again…