This card is just past the mid-point of the Major Arcana. The Fool has traveled his journey through the physical and mental aspects of life. He has learned lessons about personal power, intuition, creativity, relationships, limitations, love, reflection, solitude and balance.
|The Hanged Man - Anna K Tarot|
There have been trials and tribulations in all these areas and he is ready to step it up a notch.
As the Fool approaches the lessons of The Hanged Man, he has a lot of experiences with life under his belt. He has been through a variety of earthly struggles, and has developed some effective strategies with which he addresses these issues.
However, at this point the Fool is coming to the realization that control of his outer world is not the true way to achieve the contentment for which he strives. Rather, the Fool is looking for a greater peace – one that comes from the inside.
While there are many historic and mythological figures to whom you could compare The Hanged Man, I find this card reminds me of the Apostle Peter and his death from a reverse crucifixion. Peter was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. He was actually one of the most trusted of the disciples; Jesus’s right-hand man you could say.
When Jesus was arrested, Peter – for fear of his own life – denied knowing Jesus. He did this three times. This created great anguish in Peter for a couple reasons. One obvious reason was that he turned his back on a beloved friend during a time of great need. A second, more subtle reason was that it created a crisis of faith within Peter. His decision to deny “knowing Jesus” was in his mind a complete denial of his faith. He chose a life of earthly existence, governed by fear and conformity, rather than a spiritual existence, governed by personal beliefs and internal freedom.
After Jesus’s death, Peter’s crisis of faith led him to an epiphany about his purpose in life. He accepted his position as the “rock” on which Jesus would build his church, and laid the foundation for what would eventually become the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, he was martyred in 64 AD by Roman Soldiers for propagating his religious beliefs. Reports indicated that he requested to be crucified upside down because he felt he was not worthy of dying in the same manner Jesus did.
I think it is safe to say, that at the time of his death, Peter had resolved his internal spiritual tumult.
To me, that story really underscores the message of The Hanged Man. Like Peter’s experience, The Hanged Man speaks of our need to connect with the deeper truths of life. The Hanged Man heralds the beginning of the soul’s connection with the realm of true happiness and inner peace.
When The Hanged Man appears in a reading, it is suggesting the individual is at a point of transformation. This usually occurs in tandem with more challenging situations that can only be resolved through control of one’s inner, not outer, landscape. The lessons of The Hanged Man are some of the most challenging ones among the Major Arcana. However, once mastered, these lessons open the gate to the garden of internal mastery and a paradise unlike any you can ever hope to physically experience on the earth plane.