How to Read the Hanged Man Tarot Card

Learn how to read the Hanged Man tarot card from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Hello, I'm Ellen Goldberg, and I welcome you to a Tarot moment from the School of Oracles. In this segment we are going to look at the card The Hanged Man. This card comes as part of the triptych, the three cards, that are in the very center of the major arcana. The hanged man is a very special card in so many ways. One involves its Hebrew letter, which is Mem, M-E-M, which means seas or ocean. Mem, M-E-M. It's one of the three most powerful letters in the Hebrew alphabet. They're called the mother letters; Aleph, which goes to The Fool right at the beginning, Mem, which belongs to The Hangman here right in the center of the deck, and Shin, which comes towards the end of the alphabet. These are the three letters that are ruled by elements. The Fool ruled by air itself, The Hanged man ruled by water, and shin, fire. It is said in the oldest book of the Kabbalah, the Sefer Yetzirah, that these were the letters that were the primary ones used when creating the universe, so they are very powerful, and therefore I consider these cards extremely powerful when they come in a reading. Why should a man be suspended upside down as such a powerful card? Here it is wise to notice that this is a card of true repose, true inner peace.

The man has a golden nimbus, or halo, around his head. This is a holy state. the word man and the word mind come from the same Sanskrit root, Manas, to think, and so this card could also be called the suspended mind just as easily as it could be called the suspended or hanged man. And to let your mind go, to no longer just depend on our own weak powers of personality, but to have the idea of the true self, Of the divine working through us. There is the idea of sacrifice here. And life, sometimes when we are entering a new phase, demands a sacrifice so that we can move forward because nothing comes without a certain death as we will see in the very next card, the Death card. I suppose this card prepares us for the great transition that is going to come next, although it's not an actual death, more death of the personality. Here is where we learn to let go and let God. If you notice the way this card is formed, you will see that his legs form a cross, and his arms and the top of his head form a triangle.

A cross above the triangle is the inversion of the symbol for sulfur, which in alchemy, the fiery principal, when it is shown inverted, is a symbol of the completion of the great work of self transmutation. I like so much that the great psychologist Carl Young pointed out that the word sacrifice means to make sacred. And here we give things up, we reverse our personality, in order to enter more sacred time. Its very conscious sacrifice. You see in the wide awake deck that he is suspended from a tree, but a curious looking one. It's shaped like a T. And that T is for the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tov, Which means the mark of God, so you see that he is suspended and totally dependent on the divine. In fact it is often said that the greater the addict, the more complete his personal self surrender. When this card comes up in a reading for you and it's on its higher polarity, it has to do with true repose, getting out of your own way, letting go and letting God, letting the mind become quiet, as they say be still and know. And your inner self will soon speak to you. When it is reversed and the hanged man actually looks like he is standing on tiptoe, you are usually filled with anxiety, really thinking you have only your personality, only yourself to rely on, and wasting an awful lot of time and strength. On behalf of the School of Oracles, I thank you for being with me. Bye for now.

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