card study: The Hanged Man

I'm studying with tarot's own yogi, The Hanged Man for the summer. Looking at the different ways artists have portrayed these stage in The Fool's Journey. Key 12 has much to teach, if we ever find stillness long enough to know it.

I pulled The Hanged Man from my decks to observe and study with them. The differences and similarities were illuminating, opening up The Hanged Man to me in ways I'd not paid attention to before.

1. The Eye of the Storm

This is the version of The Hanged Man I'm most familiar with (and often most resistant to). I'm such a swords suit personality; I want to rail and keep at the fight even when it's best to be still as possible. Eyes open, the Hanged in these cards see the storm coming and are the embodiment of peace, be still. There's a look in their eyes that dares the storm to bring it on because not only can they take it, they know the secret to the quiet.

2. Sacrifice.

Take the fall. Just like when Death really does mean Death, sometimes The Hanged Man might really mean you hang for it. It's going to suck and it's going to hurt. There may be a point all of it, there may be no point to any of it.

3. The Trickster

Store away your gifts, your soft places, and present the harder side, the bare bones of you. Let the winter and predator pass you over. I've never seen this side of The Hanged Man before till this deck. A bluff, a mask, the trickster hides here. Eshu. It isn't just a matter of base deception, however. In this case deception may be a requirement of your survival. Many marginalized communities know this aspect of The Hanged Man well.

4. Intuition

What I feel to be the 'highest vibration' of The Hanged Man card. A release of semblances of control, of ego. I'm tempted to see this as 'let it be' but even in the surrender I notice intention. It is an active choice, to let go- one that often requires more effort than holding on. An eyes wide shut surrender.

So much about The Hanged Man is the preparation for an ending, for transformation, to trigger the alchemy necessary to breathe new life. The more I sit with The Hanged Man, the more I understand why the next step in The Fool's Journey is (perhaps has to be) Key 13, Death.

How have you met The Hanged Man in your tarot story?



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