I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process.
In the midst of this sweltering Summer which has been marked by rumor, confusion, mixed messages, and impending thunder, The Hanged Man now arrives, bidding us to stop — and pay attention.
The Hanged Man often startles those who are new to Tarot. His name sounds grim, but look more closely, and you will see that this is not a card about physical death, torture, or punishment.
Instead, the Hanged Man has a halo around his face, his eyes are open, and he is at peace. It becomes clear that he has chosen to hang in this way upon the living, leafy T-shaped Tau cross.
His position is the yoga pose of The Tree, and the Druid magical pose of The Crane.
He is the sovereign, who willingly steps down from his throne in order to give his life for the protection and fertility of the land.
He is the shaman, turned upside down, preparing, as he hangs on the World Tree, to descend into the Underworld (for the card in the Major Arcana that follows the Hanged Man is Death).
The potential of his eventual triumph is visible to those who can see it, for if you reverse the Hanged Man, you will discover he is in the same pose as the Dancer figure in The World card.
However, unlike The World figure, who extends the magic wands she holds, The Hanged Man has his arms behind his back. His power is not yet revealed, but is withdrawn, or is still in the process of being discovered.
Two Hanged Man Lessons from Childhood
It is good news this week that finally, the party opposing P45 and his stooges has found enough spine to propose an alternative to his “Art of the
Deal Steal.” Their “Better Deal” clarifies their values and populist agenda, both of which have been hijacked and smeared by the alternative fact machine now running the United States.
It may feel like a sacrifice for the Democrats to leave behind their same old bag of tricks. But Barack Obama is long gone, as are the Clinton years, and the world is radically changed. A monumentally progressive, creative vision is the only antidote to the lies and saber-rattling pouring out of the halls of power.
Hopefully by now, progressives around the world have learned that racing to keep up and push back, tit for tat, is not only exhausting but it reinforces the noise, and legitimizes the garbage.
Lesson One from childhood: When you are being bullied, you usually cannot win on the terms the bully has set (that’s what makes them strong). This only empowers their resistance and contributes to your losses. A game-changer must be found, so the bully does not have the “home field” advantage.
Lesson Two from childhood: Any parent can tell you that the only way to deal with a childish tantrum (whether a baby in their “terrible twos,” a furious teenager, or the Tweet-storming head of a nation), is to side-step further argument and discussion, and find something else more creative and useful to focus on.
Yes, for a while longer, you may have to endure ear-splitting indignation. But tantrums are blackmail–imperious, selfish demands for attention. Rewarding that behavior only guarantees more tantrums in the future.
Instead, as most moms, dads, and martial arts practitioners will tell you, there is enormous power in strategic yielding and redirecting. The Hanged Man depicts this with great clarity.
If, like The Hanged Man, the beleaguered parent or bullied victim can turn the situation on its head, or step out of the way completely, they will find more power and success.
The Artist’s Way
In my experience, The Hanged Man is the card that often guides artists, visionaries, and explorers. It can be an affirmation for those who are willing to sacrifice conformity, the status quo, and even conventional measures of success for a higher, more authentic calling.
This card especially blesses those who are relinquishing a safe, secure, hum-drum life, in order to serve The Work (in whatever ways they may recognize it).
If you, like champion swimmer and author Diana Nyad quoted above, hunger for journeys into the unknown, some discomfort often comes with the territory. That’s the price one must pay for stretching one’s boundaries. But the cost of denial and complacency is far higher.
Yes, it can be a difficult, painstaking, slow path. We must suspend our ego and possibly eliminate some cherished assumptions.
The Hanged Man represents this surrender of our personal will, which we often realize in hindsight, was not even our own to begin with, but imposed by expectations and norms from elsewhere.
Like Odin hanging on Yggdrasil, the temporary pain is nothing, compared to the rewards of magic and wisdom.
A Calling From the Divine
So, what creative divine download has your name on it? Be still, and allow your heart to be touched.
Once you get out of your comfort zone, what new breakthroughs are possible? Could it be that you have been clinging to people, choices, or situations not in your highest interest?
The Fool tapped you on the shoulder last week. Now, get outside of that same old box of yours. Allow creativity to be your guide and playmate, taking you to new places and experiences that stir your juices.
What if you look at things from a completely different angle?
Is there an important postponement that’s come up? Perhaps you need to pause, pay attention, have patience, and go deeper. How do you react when control slips away from you?
What path of soul initiation do you now find yourself upon?
Do you feel like you are being thwarted from what you desire, or even stuck in a holding pattern? That is often the Hanged Man’s backwards-seeming gift to us. Instead of a frustration melt-down, the wisest choice is to cooperate. What if you just breathe, and wait?
The great paradox is that when we let go of our need to be in control, but instead simply surrender to the process, true wisdom and power are given.
We are breaking barriers and heading for the next level. Only when we completely yield will we discover we never had to struggle in the first place.
We are always being supported by Divine love.