Friday, September 11, 2015

The Hanged Man - The Dark Night of The Soul

The Hanged Man always brings me back to the fist time I had a reading. My friend who was a very good reader, had used the Celtic Cross spread for my reading. I don't remember the placement of The Hanged Man, but I sure do remember my reaction to seeing this card. I was in a precarious relationship that would change my life, and was not going to end well, though I couldn't see it then. I had been and was going to continue to experience this kind of "dark night of the soul", that this card represents.

At this time, I knew nothing about Tarot, or the cards and their meanings. I couldn't begin to imagine what this one meant, but I was pretty convinced it couldn't be good, seeing this poor shackled soul, hanging from a rocky cliff, upside down, having next to no clothes on, with an Eagle seemingly in attack mode.

 The Greek myth is pretty gruesome about Prometheus. He defied the law of Zeus by stealing the fire of the gods to give to man. Prometheus means "foresight", and this Titan had the gift of prophecy. He had a profound sympathy and compassion for the plight of humankind.

The Hanged Man is a deeply relevant card for me. It is very much representative of what St John of the Cross talks about in his poem , The Dark Night of The Soul, and going into the unconsciousness of the psyche, experiencing great suffering and then coming out the other side transformed. Out of the darkness of the night, comes the light.

This poem illuminates the deepest kind of self-sacrificing love between the Lover and the Beloved, between humankind and God. I love this poem and Loreena McKennitt's interpretation is so touching and beautiful.

Loreena McKennitt - The dark night of the soul

Upon a darkened night
the flame of love was burning in my breast
And by a lantern bright
I fled my house while all in quiet rest
Shrouded by the night
and by the secret stair I quickly fled
The veil concealed my eyes
while all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
to the beloved one
transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night
in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire t'was led me on
and shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where he waited still
it was a place where no one else could come


Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave
And by the fortress walls
the wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow


I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lovers breast
And care and grief grew dim
as in the mornings mist became the light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair


Ellen said...

I like this song a lot but never related it to a more deeper meaning then that of a love song between two persons.
Beloved, what a wonderful name to address God

Unknown said...

It's a poem that's taken both as the love between two individuals, and between God. Yes I think so too Ellen, Beloved is a beautiful word to describe God.

Unknown said...
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