The first thing anyone thinks when they see this card for the first time....it's upside down!
Nope. The Hanged Man is an ominous looking card and for good reason, but if we look closer we notice a halo? This man does not look upset by his present predicament, in fact he looks quite serene.
Self sacrifice is a main theme of this card, but it also symbolizes enlightenment through hardships. Sometimes we have to let go of control and be a martyr. Looking at things from a different perspective, and embracing non-conformity.
Many occultists believe that the Hanged Man of the major arcana depicts Yggdrasil; Tree of Life. Shown by the lines of the mans body, representing the roots of the tree. This explains the halo, he is enlightened by his journey along the tree and now retreats into the earth. Look at the branches above him, in earlier decks this card has a rose vine hanging all the way down to the title of the card. Just like on the Magician, the red rose vine symbolizes magic and alchemic wisdom.
Traditionally, The Hanged Man meant punishment. The card that precedes this one is the Devil. The man dies a horrible death for his crimes and goes to Hell. Rather harsh, don't you think? But this marks the journey of the Soul where we must go inwards, face our Shadow and begin the path to enlightenment and the super-conscious. Thats what this card is really about. We must make sacrifices in order to advance on our journey, things might get a little bit rocky but it's in our best interests.
Some of the wisdom we can learn from the Hanged Man archetype:
What is our current attachment
How do we let it go
What is given
What is received
What is revealed, understood, learned
This reading is a great tool to get past mental or emotional blockages.
It definitely helps with the process of shadow work and can give valuable insight to meditate upon.
Let me know if you'd like to see a Hanged Man wisdom reading listed for bookings! I am curious to know which Arcane symbolism of the tarot most people are interested in working with...I've got lots of fun ideas ;)
Much love x