--By Hyperion Night of Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot
The Hanged Man
Surrender. Acceptance. Suspension. Sacrifice. Letting go.
A friend of mine —we'll call her K—came to me in dire emotional straits. She was stuck. After flying high, in the zone, feeling one with light and love and bliss, she'd hit a block and come crashing down. For weeks, all she wanted to do was cry, but being a responsible adult, she kept the crying private. Now all she could think about was everything that was wrong with her life. All her failures. All her lack. And the fact that she'd been in such an amazing mood for months previously just deepened her current pain.
"I know, I know, the joy is there, inside me," she told me across my reading table. "I just can't seem to reach it. I've been meditating. I've been letting go—or at least trying to. I've tried somatic release. What else can I do? How can I get out of this and back to who I am?"
She was in an existential Hanged Man period, and a particularly rough one on the emotions. I told her to have faith in the process. That this period of introspection, meditation, and withdrawal would end, and once it did, it would bring a profound spiritual reward.
I could tell she wanted to believe me, but she couldn't quite do it. "Honestly," I said. "Just stop trying and trust something good is on its way. You may as well. The trying isn't working, and it's giving you even more stress."
She left my office feeling a little lighter, I hoped.
For most people, The Hanged Man in a Tarot reading isn't quite so angsty. It represents a period of withdrawal. The Tarot card suggests we surrender to what is and let go of things that are holding you back. Those things could be external or internal, such as wants and beliefs. Sometimes the wanting can get in the way of the getting, and the quickest way to get where you want to go—or just move on and be happy—is to let go.
In the Tarot card, a man hangs upside down from a living tree. His expression is relaxed. The action is clearly stopped. The Hanged Man isn't going anywhere and he appears content with that, indicating the stopped action is the right thing to do at the time. The Hanged Man isn't struggling against his bonds; he's "going with the flow." K's stuckness was also the right thing for her at the time, if she could just accept it.
The imagery likely reflects the legend of the Norse god Odin, who voluntarily hung upside down from the world tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days to gain enlightenment – specifically the knowledge of the runes. Odin died the moment he glimpsed the runes, but his understanding of them immediately resurrected him.
K returned a month later with a big smile on her face. "You were right," she said. "Something has changed. I'm still not sure what it is, but I'm happy again, and know I'm on the right path."
What do you need to let go of?