Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings

Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings

The Hanged Man tarot card meaning

Card Number: X11 the Hanged manArcana (12)

The Hanged Man upright

abandonment, apathy, change, dullness, life in suspension, readjustment, regeneration, renunciation, repentance, reversal of the mind and in one’s way of life, sacrifice, the approach of new life forces. the changing of life’s forces, the period of respite between significant events, transition,

The Hanged Man Reversed

failure to give of oneself, false prophecy, Lack of sacrifice, Over concern with the self, preoccupation with the ego, Resistance to the spiritual, unwillingness to make the necessary effort, useless sacrifice.



Some people think that the literal meaning of this tarot card is negative and associate it with death. Please rest assured that literal meaning do not apply here.

Tarot Symbol

There is a man who is hanging by one foot from a cross, or sometimes a bar or a tree. His free leg is always bent to form the number “4? and he has a serene and peaceful expression and does not seem to be suffering. Sometimes his hands are shown to be bound and sometimes his hands are shown to dangle. Coins can sometimes be shown to fall out of his pockets or hands.

Tarot Story

Hanged Man tarotThe Fool is determined on finding his spiritual self and settles behind a tree. He stayed in that location for nine days, nopt eating and hardly moving for this period of time. On the ninth day, with no conscious thought, the Fool climbs a branch and dangles upside down. Coins fall from his pockets because of the position he is now adopting and the Fool looks down at the coins as they fall. To the Fool, these coins are not money but simply pieces of metal at this point of time. The Fool feels that he is hanging between the mundane and the spiritual world and is able to see both worlds. He feels as if he is seeing light into mysteries. He also feels that a change in mind paradigm will enable him to view things differently.However, the Fool also understands that this feeling will not last. He understands that he will have to act on what he learns at this point of time to really have a change in perspective.

Tarot meaning

The Hanged Man is not a card of life or death. It simply implies a period of trial or meditation. The Querent should stop resisting and make himself or herself open to suggestions. In doing so, the Querent may find answers to problems that have been bugging him or her.

This tarot card encourages an individual to sacrifice a cherished position in order to experience a change in paradigm. This will enable the person to find answers or have a change in mind set to issues. He or she may then see issues in different light and hence will be able to find solutions to problems that have been bugging him or her.

What is your interpretation of this card? Let us know below even if its the same card but is in a different tarot deck.

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  • Lori Launier says:

    Historically, this is a card that’s implications and meaning have altered greatly over the ~500 years of extant tarot.In the early decks this card was entitled ” Il Traditore”, The Traitor, and was patterned upon some truly remarkable depictions of what were known as “shame paintings”. Shame paintings were artfully rendered likenesses of traitors, that is thieves and criminals! These shame paintings were propaganda and they did in effect shame the families of thieves to turn them over to the authorities.

    In some renditions of the early card Il Traditore holds money bags which connects him to thievery and to the thirty pieces of silver Judas Iscariot received for his betrayal and while Judas did not hang himself in a flyflot position, he did hang himself. In medieval thinking Judas was The Traitor.

    In other renditions the traitor is depicted with his hands tied behind his back clearly showing his criminality. Rarely does the traitor have a beatific countenance as has come to be standard on modern and post-modern decks. Through the years the sinner has come to be saint, that is too bad. I have always been just a tad skeptical about the late-modern tarot allusions to Odin and admit to finding the Haindl* correspondences implausible and rather “too much”. The same skeptical eye sees the early modern cards and the allusions to Jesus in the same way, “too much”.

    Better he should have remained the traitor as he perfectly fills the vacancy for the “bad guy” in the sequence. And, to my mind, the progression from Hanged Man to Death would have been more potent with the original meanings of the card in tact.

    However, having said all that in my tarot system one of the meanings I attribute to The Hanged man signifies difficulty, tribulation and suspension, stagnation and stasis. The stasis may be the result of outside forces, but most often it is of the Hanged Man’s own making. The trivial is a necessary and sufficient part of expiation and lesson. The card also speaks to traitorous interpersonal conundrums and to traitorous emotions as well as those times when we are at our worst regarding health.

    The Hanged Man can speak to the traitorous emotions of purging away the old, it speaks of being suspended between the past and being in the moment, it speaks of the stasis of undergoing the trivial of getting rid of the poisonous self-image of old to allow for the new self-image to come into its own. Although some tarot authors give this card the keyword of _regeneration_, I think the card speaks less of regeneration than it does to learning lessons. The Hanged Man, in certain spreads, depending on the position, is about honing a sense of courage and developing a steely determination; it can be said that The Hanged Man card contains the lesson of moving beyond ego and learning what our individual and personal strengths are composed of. Or, conversely, The Hanged Man may speak of common criminality..

  • Heidi Post says:

    In the centre of this card stands a tree trunk, it has a thinner branch on the top, to form a ‘T’. There are leaves at either end of the horizontal branch, cascading down the side of the card.

    The hanged man is at the centre of this card, suspended by his right foot, from the ‘T’. The rope loops around his ankle, and is tied to the cross-bar. He wears yellow slippers, red tights and a blue long sleeved shirt. A purple belt is around his waist. The hanged man’s right leg is straight, his left leg is bent at the knee, with his left ankle behind his right leg. His hands are behind his back, and his elbows are poking out. The hanged man’s blond hair hands down. There is a golden glow, like a halo about his head. He doesn’t look unhappy or even uncomfortable. His facial expression is quite neutral.

    LBW:- life in suspension, transition, change, reversal of the mind and in one’s way of life, apathy, dullness, abandonment, renunciation, the changing of life’s forces, the period of respite between significant events, sacrifice, repentance, readjustment, regeneration, the approach of new life forces.

    Reversed:- Lack of sacrifice, unwillingness to make the necessary effort, failure to give of oneself, preoccupation with the ego, false prophecy, useless sacrifice.

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