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The Hanged Man The Hanged Man is one of those Major Arcana cards which tend to have a rather poor reputation - undeservedly, in my opinion. He represents the necessary process of surrender and sacrifice, which is probably why he is not greeted with open arms. Yet both actions are a part of everyday life. We just fail to understand that, every time we make a choice between two equally desirable options, we sacrifice one in order to have the other. We surrender one state to achieve another.

In fact, the Hanged Man can often indicate a period of apparent inertia, where new concepts and tenets are being absorbed. Once we have digested this new material, we can emerge from our period of inactivity with a fresh approach to things. So sometimes the Hanged Man presents us with an important method of self-development.

In most Tarot decks, there's an important visual link between the Emperor and the Hanged Man - both these figures are depicted with their legs forming the figure 4. 4 is a number connected to ideas about material stability. The Emperor often represents a man who has achieved much in the material sphere. He is usually a dynamic and energetic person who forcefully directs his will toward the attainment of his desires.

In a sense, we can see the Hanged Man as an outgrowth of the Emperor - though now it is not the material world which is the object of his aspiration - it is the spiritual realm in which he is interested.

So, on a day ruled by the Hanged Man, take a little time out to consider what your current spiritual aspirations are. Write them down and think them over. Think back to the last time you attempted to assess your current journey and see whether you feel you have achieved some of the things you aimed for.

And above all, recognise something. This journey of the spirit is like any other - we achieve it step by step, moment by moment. We will always be surrendering things along the way - and we need always to be open to new input, new concepts, new pages to be written in the book of life.

Affirmation: I pause. And in pausing, I see differently.

Jan's Online Guide to the Hanged Man card

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1997-to date Angel Paths Tarot and Healing. All material contained within this website is written by and is the copyright of Jan Shepherd and may not be reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of the author. Any problems, corrections, or suggestions, contact us. All Thoth tarot cards displayed are copyright US Games Inc.