I’ve written interpretations for every card in the Wild Unknown Tarot. As the box of the deck states, there are no rights or wrongs. These are simply my perspectives on the tarot card meanings. I hope you find them useful!
Click here for a directory of all posts in my Wild Unknown series.
Deck Creator’s Keywords: sacrifice, letting go, new perspectives
Carrie’s Keywords: surrender, alternate perspective, liminal
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The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings in the Wild Unknown
What better creature than a bat to represent the Hanged Man? To us, he seems to be in suspension. He stows away in his topsy-turvy stance all day, and is active at night. Everything about the bat’s lifestyle offers a new perspective.
The Hanged Man may seems to be upside down, but to him, being upside down IS right-side up. He is adept at seeing the world, and all of reality, from a different angle than what we would call normal. Normal is a relative term, the Hanged Man would tell us.
Bats hang this way because their wings are not strong enough to come into flight from the ground. Instead, they hang from their feet and can only break into flight when they let go and plummet through the air. This Hanged Man knows that now is not the time to fly – but when the time comes, he will be ready. He is at home in the realm of the liminal – liminal meaning an inbetween state, the pause between breaths, the threshold that straddles both here and now.
The metaphor of only finding flight once you let go is appropriate here. This card asks you take the spiritually potent step of relinquishing control. You spend so much energy – physical, emotional and spiritual – trying to hold on. Perhaps if you let go, you will connect with your power in unfathomably potent ways.
The Hanged Man seems to have a secret. The protective wrapping of wings and the red glow of his eyes give him the air of someone who knows something that we don’t. He has learned how to let go of the normal filters of awareness and find comfort in discomfort.
The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings in General
Traditional depictions of the Hanged Man show a human figure hanging by one foot, the other leg crossed over so that his body shape resembles an upside down four. As the number four is numerologically associated with control and structure (think card four, the Emperor), the upside down four shows our potential of releasing that innate need for control.
The messages in this card relates to the Norse god Odin. Through the sacrifice of hanging himself on a tree, Odin gained access to the wisdom of the runes. Thus, the Hanged Man tarot card is commonly associated with themes of sacrifice and suspension. You often need to give up one comfort or another in order to fulfill whatever higher objective beckons you.
I personally associate the Hanged Man card with the concept of radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is the spiritual practice of accepting reality exactly as it is. Instead of trying to ration away the darker parts of our experience, radical acceptance asks us to sit with all that is. This does not mean condoning things that are bad or wrong or difficult. It simply means accepting that they are real, that they are what they are.
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This card asks you to consider the infinine perspectives currently available to you. Challenge yourself to consider your situation from a new angle, coerce yourself to question certain aspects of your reality.
Doing this might require you to devote to surrendering your ego’s desire to control. Letting go of the urge to control is very much easier said than done! In fact, learning to surrender can be incredibly uncomfortable. Remind yourself that experiencing discomfort is okay. In fact, this discomfort is absolutely necessary for your spiritual development.