Upright: Suspension, restriction, letting go, sacrifice
Reversed: Martyrdom, indecision, delay

The Hanged Man shows a man suspended, upside-down, from the living World Tree, rooted in the underworld and supporting the heavens. Given the serene expression on his face, it is believed he is hanging on the tree of his own will. His right foot is bound to the tree but his left foot remains free, bent at the knee and tucked in behind his right leg. His arms are bent, with hands held behind his back, forming an inverted triangle. The man is wearing red pants representing human passion and the physical body, a blue coat for knowledge, and yellow shoes representing his high ideals. Around the Hanged Man’s head is a bright yellow halo showing spiritual attainment, with the grey background suggesting invisibility (a good reminder to not flaunt your spirituality). This is the card of ultimate surrender, of being suspended in time and of martyrdom and sacrifice to the greater good. This is the archetype to meditate on to help break old patterns of behaviour and bad habits that restrict you.
The Hanged Man’s number is 12 – a higher octave of the number 3, representing careful planning and orderly growth leading to spiritual development. 1 (beginning) + 2 (the reasoning force) = 3 (the product of rebirth). The ruling planet is Neptune, the planet of self-sacrifice and idealism.

The Hanged Man reflects a need to suspend action, and as a result, a period of indecision may be indicated. Decisions or actions that need to be implemented will be postponed, even if, at the time, there is a sense of urgency to act. In fact, you may be much better off if you can stall on any decision-making and action-taking at this time in order to provide yourself with more time to reflect on the situation at hand and to consider the greater good. If you can buy yourself some more time or hold off on any further activities for a short period, then you may actually create a different, and better, outcome. This is a card that is all about suspension and waiting, and suggests that this may be just what you need to do in order to allow new possibilities to arise. Sometimes not acting will help to shed more light on what other options are available to you and will allow more attractive opportunities to emerge.
The Hanged Man can sometimes reflect that you are feeling stuck or restricted in your life. You need to get in touch with why you are feeling this way, and work to release yourself from these restrictions. In this way, the Hanged Man is also about letting go. You need an emotional release from whatever it is that is leaving you feeling stuck. Accept and surrender to your present circumstances. You may need to become more vulnerable and open to different experiences but this will help you end the struggle and give up your need for control. It is when you can really let go of all the worries and concerns that you have, that you find these concerns suddenly disappear and a new reality is possible.
The reversed position of the man in the Hanged Man indicates the need to look at yourself from an entirely different perspective, while the hanging indicates that your life is simply suspended for a time in order for you to recognise what needs to be changed in your personality. The tree is also abundant with leaves and vines, which suggests the possibility that the situation will bear fruit. Thus, the Hanged Man represents a reversal of your usual way of life and seeing the world from a completely different angle. Try hanging upside-down yourself and look around you. Does it not all look so different?! Your perspective has changed completely, yet the physical surroundings are exactly the same as when you were looking at it from an upright position. The Hanged Man asks you to turn your world around and view your situation differently. When you do this, you will find something new that will prove to be of greater value to you on a much deeper level. It may be that you have to sacrifice your previous beliefs or even way of life but it is a time of renewal and your life will go forward.
The Hanged Man is a willing victim, someone who has chosen the path of sacrifice to accomplish a higher goal. The Hanged Man represents the willingness to forsake the temptations of instant gratification for a higher cause, and because of this willing sacrifice he accomplishes the goals he has in his heart. He is like the ultimate martyr, putting his self-interest aside and giving up his personal needs for the greater good. Consider areas in your own life where you need to act in a more selfless manner, either for the benefit of others or for the fulfilment of your own deeper needs. On the flipside, you may need to assess your life for areas in which you are giving up too much to others at the expense of your own mental and spiritual well-being. Sometimes martyrdom can go too far!
Similarly, the Hanged Man tells you that you should be willing to lose something lesser in order to fulfil a greater goal. This goal is likely to be spiritual and personal. An investment of time, energy, and/or money may have to be made in order to reach this higher level of attainment. You are devoted to the cause and are open and ready to take on the task in front of you but first you need time to pause and consider.

The Hanged Man reversed represents a period when you feel you are sacrificing a lot and getting nothing in return. You may have felt things were at an absolute standstill, with no movement or resolution. It is as though you are suspended in time and unable to make a move forward, backward or even sideways to get out of your current situation. Your own goals and dreams are put on hold because of external realities or internal issues. This is an energy that is passing out of your life and you can now expect things to start happening once again and major changes to occur. This period of suspension is like a catalyst for what is to come.
You may be putting off making a decision, in the hope that it will all sort itself out eventually. However, this is often just wishful thinking. What is happening is that you are simply stalling the inevitable and you will at some point be pushed to make a final decision and to make a sacrifice in the process. In a reading where a relationship has been put on hold, the Hanged Man reversed suggests that you are happy to wait around, to a point. You realise that this relationship will evolve over time and that, due to its complexities, it cannot be rushed. However, you also do not want to be ‘on hold’ forever and you acknowledge that there will come a time when you must make a decision about your current relationship.
The Hanged Man reversed suggests a loss of faith in your ability to surmount life’s obstacles. You may be refusing to go within for spiritual nourishment. It is very important at this time to look within through meditation and restore your faith in your ability to get over life’s challenges. Know that this difficult time will soon pass. Accept your circumstances and be at peace with yourself.
Alternatively, you may be preoccupied with yourself and unwilling to make a necessary sacrifice or compromise for the greater good. You may be acting in a selfish or even arrogant manner, and significantly disengaging others who are trying to work cooperatively with you.



The Hanged Man Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Feeling trapped, confined, self-limiting, uncertainty, lack of direction, needing release, letting go

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, The Hanged Man Tarot card indicates that you are in a situation that you are not happy with. You may be feeling like you are stuck in a rut or trapped in a situation or frame of mind that is not making you happy but you have the power to release yourself. This may involve walking away from the situation or simply changing your perspective on it. The Hanged Man may also signify that you may be facing a dilemma and are unsure of what path to take. You may feel that things are not turning out the way you planned with this Major Arcana card appearing in your Tarot spread. You need to step outside yourself and look at your situation from a different angle. Give yourself time to just relax, stop trying to control things and just let them be, the correct course of action will become clear to you in time.

If you have been experiencing health issues, The Hanged Man encourages you to consider all of your treatment options. This does not mean you should reject the treatment you’ve been offered but it tells you to rethink your health issues and consider tackling them from multiple angles. It can also indicate that whatever the issue you are experiencing, you may need to just allow yourself time to heal rather than becoming frustrated that your health is not improving as quickly as you want it to.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot context if you are in a relationship, The Hanged Man indicates that you may be unhappy with the way your relationship is going at the moment. It can also signify that either you or your partner may be feeling the need to take a step back from the relationship to assess your options or where you want the relationship to lead. The Hanged Man tells you to hold off on making any decisions and just give yourself time to think things through. You may need to rethink your perceptions of what your relationship should be like and focus on the positive aspects of the relationship as it is instead of worrying about what it isn’t. Alternatively, if you find that you are truly unhappy, The Hanged Man appearing in your Tarot reading tells you that you are the only one keeping yourself in this situation. You can walk away if you want to. If you are single, The Hanged Man can indicate that you need to release yourself from situations, ideas or people that do not make you happy. This may involve releasing old negative relationship patterns. If you have been holding on to your feelings for an ex, The Hanged Man tells you it’s time to release those feelings. It may also signify that you need to release any rigid preconceptions about your ideal partner in order to open yourself up to the options around you.

Money & Career
In a career context The Hanged Man indicates that you are feeling uncertain about your career path or feel like your career has become stagnant. You may be unclear about what steps you need to take to move your career forward. If you are struggling to make a decision, understand that you don’t have to make a decision right now. Just relax and let things unfold. Things will become clearer in time. If you’re having financial issues, The Hanged Man indicates that you need a fresh perspective. Maybe anxiety around your finances is making them seem worse than they actually are or there may be positive things happening for you in other areas that you are not appreciating because you are focusing too much on money.

In a spiritual context, The Hanged Man tells you to be mindful of your attitude to yourself. If you have been engaging negative thinking you need to stop this as it is may affect your outcome as well as how you feel about your life. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down spiritually. If you release old beliefs or negative thoughts that don’t work for you anymore, you will find that whole new spiritual worlds will open up to you and free you up to connect to your higher consciousness.
The Hanged Man Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Discontentment, apathy, disinterest, stagnation, impulsiveness, negative patterns, detachment

General meaning and interpretation
The Hanged Man reversed can indicate that you are being impulsive and making rash decisions as a way to distract yourself from some sort of inner discontentment. This Major Arcana trump card generally shows that you may be jumping from one bad situation to the next without considering where this behaviour is taking you. Ask yourself if there are feelings you trying to avoid confronting or changes that you know need to be made but are reluctant to tackle. If there are, consider what you fear will happen if you do? If you genuinely don’t know what to do in terms of your direction in life, just stop, breathe and wait for things to become clearer. However, if you know your behaviour patterns are not working for you, change them. Your attitude towards your life will determine life’s attitude towards you!

If you have been having health issues, The Hanged Man in a reversed position tells you that you really need to think outside the box to resolve them. You may consider the possibility that issues in other areas of your life may be aggravating or even causing your health issues. For example, stress, grief and anxiety can physically manifest themselves in a whole host of symptoms like migraines, insomnia, poor concentration, chronic fatigue, skin conditions and the list goes on. Alternative and holistic therapies could compliment your current medical treatment, boost your healing and help resolve any issues that may be exasperating your health woes.

Love & Relationships
If you are single, The Hanged Man in a reversed position can indicate that you have been repeating the same negative relationship patterns over and over without learning from your mistakes. You may be rushing from bad relationship to the next and never taking responsibility for the role you play in choosing these relationships. Try to slow down, figure out why this pattern keeps continuing and what you need to resolve within yourself to change it. If you are in a relationship, The Hanged Man can indicate that your relationship may not be working but you or your partner may be holding onto it for fear of being alone or starting over. It can also indicate that the relationship could be salvageable but you are not currently prepared to confront the issues you are experiencing.

Money & Career
In a work context, The Hanged Man reversed Tarot card indicates that things may not be going well but you have neither the will nor inclination to deal with the issues involved. You may be resorting to blaming others or feeling like you are powerless to change your circumstances. Now is the time to take back control of your career. Figure out what you want and go for it, don’t be a passenger in your own life especially if it’s not taking you where you want to go. Financially, this Major Arcana card can indicate that you are paralysed by your fear of financial hardship. If you are struggling to cope financially, consider seeking financial advice from a professional. A fresh perspective might be all you need to get things moving in the right direction.

In a spiritual context, The Hanged Man Tarot card reversed indicates that you may have lost your way spiritually. You may be seeking gratification in shallow ways rather than connecting to your higher self. Reversed, The Hanged Man is a stronger indicator of old beliefs not working for you anymore. Now would be a good time for you to explore new spiritual paths. Engaging with a new path may lift you out of a spiritual slump and leave you with a renewed connection to your higher consciousness.