The Meaning of The Hanged Man [Card 12]

The Meaning of The Hanged Man Tarot

At a Glance

The Hanged Man Card #12 means being unapologetic, being at ease under precarious circumstances, living in the present and being suspended between two worlds.

If You Drew This Card…

Tarot cards offer a range of meanings to draw insight from. Both negative and positive aspects of each card can resonate with various aspects of your life.

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  • How does your precarious situation give you unique insight into other people?
  • How can you make the most of a situation by focusing on the positives rather than the negatives?
  • How can you go with the flow despite a bizarre setback?


  • By any account, are you in a precarious situation of sorts?
  • Do you often feel that you are on the brink of death or devastation? Are you quick to give up?
  • How can you be accepting your situation instead of trying to change it? Make decisions that engender the least resistance.

Interpreting the Symbols

  • Hanging Man : This is a spiritual position repeated in the myth of Odin and Merlin suggesting a shift in perspective. World turned upside down.
  • Crown : Enlightenment or holy endeavors.
  • Rope : Putting your life on the line for a holy cause.
  • The Lake : The water at the bottom of the card is depicted as a calm surface with water-lilies growing on it, suggestive of calm and peace.
  • Red Pants : Passion, aggression, and the ability to act swiftly despite gross setbacks.

Charmaine’s Take

The hanged man hangs upside down by one foot with one leg spryly crossed and his hands tied behind his back. A halo gleams behind his head, and his yellow hair hangs down. His costume is casual and light. The wooden cross he hangs from has leaves growing from it. The sky in the background is slightly gray making it difficult to tell what time it is. If flipped upside down, The Hanged Man appears standing and confidently holds his hands on his hips.

Upon closer scrutiny, we see that The Hanged Man’s face is not twisted, contorted, or strained the way we would assume someone in this predicament would be. Even though he has been sent to the gallows and bound up by his fellow men, he does not seem burdened with guilt or fear of death. We do not know what The Hanged Man has done to end up here; perhaps it was his fault or perhaps he was wrongly accused. Either way, he is not hung up on the particulars. He looks bravely out from the card, not flinching or apologizing. Also, The Hanged Man is not desperate or angry; he is not trying to scream out about injustice or persuade anyone to let him go. In his precarious predicament, he is somehow at ease.

Not only is The Hanged Man at ease, he has a divine halo around his head. Because of his precarious position, he is suspended between life and death like Anansi the spider or Stone Monkey. This gives him unique powers such as fearlessness, boldness, and intuition. Being suspended in the air, The Hanged Man also has a unique view of the world. He sees the familiar world now turned on its head. This allows him to have insights that before were hidden from him. It also makes the familiar strange and exciting again; this new sight enlivens him! He has nothing to lose so he might as well relinquish struggle and enjoy the time he has left. Though he may be close to death, he is surely not dead yet. There are no symbols of death in his card: even the cross he hangs from is in fact sprouting life!

Though the Hanged Man has been condemned by society, he appreciates each moment as though it were his last.

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