The hanged man



Text by Ron Edward Ingalla


This is a small iteration of the archaic knowledge, something that after a bit of personal meditation, I’ve come about and is written as follows, without much editing.  The hanged man ‘hangs’ and is perhaps, with some level of the copacetic, content with poise, his suspension.  The predicament in which he finds himself, in the upright seen upside down, brings to mind the number of two brought to one. His hangs from one leg, but is supposed to have two, thus the ‘pose,’ if we can call it that, is both deliberate, and a matter of circumstance.  Some traditional interpretation is that of the saint, or more accurately, the martyr.  This figurehead, as one who essentially is hanged, calls to mind the archetype of the scapegoat, in which society sacrifices him for the greater good of some civil order.  There is also the religious connotation with his head, around which is a halo that echoes saintly order, delineated from biblical and other religious and metaphysical motif.  And as such, he plays in a way, the unconventional wounded healer, or the one who adopts Mohandas K. Gandhi’s approach of the non-violent defeated warrior of peace.  And it may be curious to note that this peace is found within his own observation.  The pose suggests crucification, therefore hearkening back to the Christ figure, who may come again if reversals are read within the hands of a Cartomancer.  


The two astrological signs that are usually connected in the new wave of astrological discourse are Pisces and Aquarius.  Jupiter influences Pisces in ancient practice, which indicates a great propensity for the expansion of the inner world--the mind, the soul, and feelings--these having the tendency to take on a degree of expansion outward.  Therefore the lessons of the hanged man take on the glow around his own philosophical findings while in prostration, and after observing in passivity the outside world.  Combined with the more contemporary rulership of Neptune over Pisces, the capacity to both see and feel illusion, and the general miasma of the mysteries of life, also are expanded.  And to top it off, the effects of Uranus and Saturn are brought with the Hanged Man’s relation to Aquarius.  This brings the dynamics of the unconventional and highly compressed lessons of the pain to reach certainly unorthodox versions of enlightenment, that are expressly particular to the Hang Man’s personal philosophy. However, because of the connotation of imminent death, he may carry these lessons to the grave, as they are hard pressed and so outside convention, that they seen but never known to those who may learn by his example of his martyrdom.


Like other major arcana, the Hanged Man, is somehow deified, or set on the upper echelons of spiritual progression.  It can be argued, however, that he is the only individual of the Major Arcana that symbolizes the potential of apotheosis, or, the one who ascends to heaven by some sort of bodily sacrifice.