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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Hanged Man - Letting Go

When I had very my first reading done for me by my friend many years ago. This card, The Hanged Man came up in my reading, and it totally freaked me out, but I was really wanting to know it's meaning. It looked pretty gruesome and a little disturbing. Oh the other hand the guy looked kind of peaceful just hangin' there! Some particular cards will kind of shock us especially if we aren't familiar with them, or know what they mean. As time passes I learn more about each card on a deeper level. I don't believe there are any "bad" cards.

Today this card kept coming to me in my mind's eye. Then I did a one card reading for myself and guess which card came up when I asked my question? The Hanged Man. Oooo well now, that did kind of freak me out a little. But when I thought about my question in relation to this card, it made sense to me ,even though I wasn't too sure if I liked the answer!

The following overview I found at http://www.learntarot.com/maj12.htm
The Hanged Man is one of the most mysterious cards in the tarot deck. It is simple, but complex. It attracts, but also disturbs. It contradicts itself in countless ways. The Hanged Man is unsettling because it symbolizes the action of paradox in our lives. A paradox is something that appears contradictory, and yet is true. The Hanged Man presents to us certain truths, but they are hidden in their opposites.
The main lesson of the Hanged Man is that we "control" by letting go - we "win" by surrendering. The figure on Card 12 has made the ultimate surrender - to die on the cross of his own travails - yet he shines with the glory of divine understanding. He has sacrificed himself, but he emerges the victor. The Hanged Man also tells us that we can "move forward" by standing still. By suspending time, we can have all the time in the world.
In readings, the Hanged Man reminds us that the best approach to a problem is not always the most obvious. When we most want to force our will on someone, that is when we should release. When we most want to have our own way, that is when we should sacrifice. When we most want to act, that is when we should wait. The irony is that by making these contradictory moves, we find what we are looking for.


 The card of the Hanged Man in the Mythic Tarot deck portrays Prometheus as a mature man with brown hair, and a beard. He is shackled in an upside down position to the bare face of a cliff. His upside down posture implies that his head - the rational mind - no longer controls him. Like the setting sun on the card, this image symbolizes the descent of the spirit into the darkness of the unconscious. Behind him there are the craggy rocks, and the large wings of an eagle as it approaches.
Many people are familiar with the story of Prometheus. He was the Titan who defied Zeus, the father of the gods, and stole the fire from the gods to give to man, knowing that he would be punished for his deed. The name Prometheus means 'foresight', and he also possessed the gift of prophecy. He had a deep sympathy for humankind, and wanted them to have some of the holy fire so that they could discover progress and illumination, but this didn't go over well with Zeus. Zeus seized Prometheus, and had him chained to a high cliff in the mountains. An eagle flew down each day to devour Prometheus's liver; and each night, his liver was renewed, and the torture continued. After 3o years of this torture, Zeus relented, and allowed him to be rescued by Heracles thus making Prometheus immortal.
On an inner level, the Hanged Man, is an image of a voluntary sacrifice for a greater good. The sacrifice can be of a material object, or an inner attitude, but it is made with willingness, and an acceptance of the suffering that might be required. The image of Prometheus is a symbol of the part of us which has the foresight to understand that such changes might be needed for the unfoldment of an inner plan which is not yet clear. He implies an acceptance of waiting in the darkness which many mystics have called the 'Dark Night of the Soul' where one can only wait without a vision of how everything will turn out. The card of the Hanged Man is the natural next step after the turning of the Wheel of Fortune, for it implies a willingness to trust in the Self which knows better than the ego what might be right and necessary for one's personal development.
In a reading, the Hanged Man can signify the need for a voluntary sacrifice for the purpose of acquiring something of greater value. It may be an external object, or a cherished attitude which needs to be released. In any case, it often involves a time of waiting where we are not able to see clearly in the darkness, and must wait for a time of clarity.
By Donna M. Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010
Thanks to Juliet Sharman-Burke, and Liz Greene, the creators of the Mythic Tarot for their insightful comments.

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