XII- The Hanged Man
Associated Astrology: Pisces
Key words: Baptism, Letting go, Suspension, Initiation, Internalisation, Hanging out, Perception, Sacrifice, Openness, Relaxation, Depth, Surrender
"Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of love". - Morihei Ueshiba
Welcome to the Hanged Man tarot card. Here we have reached a place of suspension. It's as if we are backstage in the play of our lives, waiting in the wings for a cue to action. Nothing much feels like it is changing on the outer surface of our reality. We can feel bored, frustrated and anxious. Our resources can appear to be depleting at frightening speed with nothing yet to show for it. This can be disconcerting and confusing. We can find ourselves fantasizing and overthinking about who we are, who others are and why we feel the way we do.
Wondering about alternatives and contriving ideas of how to move forward is getting us nowhere. The more we indulge in our mental labyrinth, the more we will feel exponentially constricted. If we act on impatient impulses, we will likely strengthen the elements of our character that seek to self-sabotage. We may as well press pause and stop a futile struggle.
There is a tendency under the influence of this card to view our current fate as an obstacle or an enemy to progress. Understand that only the Creative Cosmos is the true master of timing. It is our job as spiritual initiates to sacrifice ourself to ourself, just like Odin did. By hanging himself upside down in the World Tree for 9 days and nights, Odin learned the true meaning and unspoken secrets of the runes.
We have called forth a space of introspection with which to expand our consciousness. We are revealing to ourselves a new understanding. Our view will alter 180 degrees if we allow it. We will take on a totally different perspective by dismantling ideas that have not truly served us. If we remain stubbornly fixed on a former self-image then the changes required to move forward will stall. For how long? For as long as it takes us to realise we are in our own way!
Alongside this process, we are learning (sometimes to our horror!) how much self-discipline we require in order to calm the childish and changeable shadow elements of the heart.
To simplify, we are sacrificing our ego and enduring discomfort without expectation of return. This is the only way to master our present space. We must align with the Higher Force and gain invaluable clarity by allowing ourselves to be lead without question.
Our ‘right’ to measure, monitor, second guess or doubt the wisdom of this process must be subdued. It is no small task to relinquish the subtle voices of desire, pride, envy or vanity, especially in a state of uncomfortable waiting. Yet the path of least resistance is the path of no resistance.
How else are we going to see that we are at a significant turning point, readying for unprecedented transformation? If we struggle, we will delay Universal movement. It will not come to our aide without a willing ascent. Such is the lesson of this card. Our sense of power is an illusion. True power is only temporarily borrowed, and only if we are worthy of withholding its use.
When things come to a halt we can struggle to accept the process will lead to success. After all, we live in a world that tells us that success is marked by the results of our actions and endeavours. We are not a society that tends to honour our internal journey. However, the work we do on ourselves is the only sustainable solution to our striving for a happier reality. The Hanged Man reflects how we relate to this understanding. He allows us the opportunity to give up resistance.
If we give up the battle with our internal enemies and refuse to engage in their games and deceits, we will weaken them significantly. Some may even destroy themselves in the process. Our inner demons can be vanquished. Working with the Devil card in this process can be truly assistive.
How do we feel when nothing seems to be happening? If no measurable results are visible, then how can we assess where we are? Well, we must start with accepting the situation as it is.
This can be challenging if we are looking for answers or a change in our circumstances. We may feel strongly that we need reassurance via our own or another person’s actions. Maybe we feel our position is determined by how others perceive or react to us.
Let it go. Let them go.
We need to resist the desire to involve ourselves beyond our moral parameters. The ego will try to flatter and manipulate, to attack or construct defences. It will use every trick in the book. It hates to be in a bind. Yet surrender it will, if we hold to the steady Centre of our being.
Stay as open-minded as the wide lake. Do not be afraid of being misunderstood. Let the mind be unstructured in the now; innocent of agenda or expectation.
We may feel it's inappropriate to just 'hang out', and that it is not enough to release our longing for tangible results. Yet suspension allows ideas and answers to come to us - it is about accepting our position. This is fitting for a card long associated with water and depth. Its ruling sign is Pisces the fish - adaptable and sensitive to prevailing energetic currents.
We are at a crossroads in understanding who we are. We are being called to let go of a specific outcome and allow the Master Playwright to set the scene. We must be ready. This takes time and patience and a suspension of that most persistent of all trouble-makers: doubt. It is about fostering the correct waiting attitude.
Open the window to the here and now and let yourself breathe in the many potentials of life. Nothing is required of you but a sense of readiness; a willingness to receive.
We may need to realise we have not been open to exploring our alternatives. We may be struggling so hard to achieve a desired result, we now fail to see we no longer want it. Maybe we are clueless about how to find answers or anxious about achieving a specific goal. Maybe we have cause to doubt the benevolence of the Universal Force.
The Hanged Man says "Relax and let go of anxiety. Cease believing life should be a struggle to engage with. Accept the power in powerlessness and store your energy for the next scene. What are you prepared to sacrifice for the secrets of Higher knowledge?”
It is time to replenish from the last cycle of activity and let the sand settle on what has come before. It is not a time of pushing at the door, but of letting be. Inspiration cannot greet us without creating space in our minds and hearts. We must meet the will of heaven halfway and with 100% effort at stillness and receptivity.
We are already in the twilight space - momentarily postponed. We can take advantage of our ability to see our lives from this unique perspective. This is the bird's eye, topsy-turvy view. Simplify the journey and strengthen this helpful energy by retreating from unresolved situations.
The Hanged Man can sometimes bring a sense that the situation is somehow immovable. The truth is that we are not in control of external forces. We are here to recognise we can seek and find peace in the inner, Eternal space.
In the mystery schools, apprentices were often hung by the foot as a means of initiation. Sensory deprivation by way of a blindfold meant a physical and psychological test of nerve. Mercifully, this card is metaphorical, and you won't be required to string yourself upside down from a ceiling in order to relate to the concept. The message is a good one though. Free your mind.
The type of psychological release this influence can bring is incomparable. It is a tradeoff though. Only by willing forfeiture can we break through to enlightenment. Like a seed that descends into the ground, we must wait and gestate until Spring arrives - exploring our underworld, accepting it for what it is.
Given time we will see ourselves in the mirror at the bottom of Odin’s well, and we will no longer require our masks. We will discover our own reflection looking back.
Our renewal is en route even if out of view. Life will deliver at precisely the right time in ways we could never contrive or foresee. Let's make ourselves ready to receive the deep insight gifted with this life-changing card. Let's submit with joy to the will of the Universe. Greater knowledge of the Self awaits our return.