With today's card, we are delving back into the more expansive themes and lessons of the Major Arcana. We have been working a lot in the Minor Arcana, where each card represents a different situation, kind of like a snapshot. The Minor Arcana is made up of moments and day-to-day choices. Where the Minor Arcana cards are like Polaroids (people still know what those are, right?), the Majors are the heavy-weights: the Guernicas, the Mona Lisas, the Pietas. The messages they carry go deeper, expand further, and last longer.
Let me introduce you to The Hanged Man. This card is the only card in the Tarot that is intended to be reversed, the central figure suspended upside down. Every time I see it, my first inclination is to tilt my head or turn the card over, but that is the point of The Hanged Man. While it may be awkward or uncomfortable to look at things from a different perspective, sometimes it is exactly what we need in that moment. The Hanged Man is suspension between places, choices, pathways. He calmly gazes at the world and at us, observing us and patiently waiting for what comes next. With this card, we must examine ourselves from every angle.
The Hanged Man's position in the Major Arcana is an interesting one: he falls between Justice and Death. In Justice, we are tasked with objectively studying our beliefs, our morals, and our truths. With Justice, we cut out what does not fit within our personal code and spare those things that jive. Justice is the black and white, the right and wrong, the good and bad. What we are left with is the gray. Once we arrive at Death, we are entering into a transition. We are letting go in a different way, a way that Justice never requested. We are losing parts of ourselves that we thought we needed, things we perhaps loved, but which nonetheless have run their course. And in between these two cards, The Hanged Man quietly implores us to examine the gray area left intact after Justice, to question what actions, behaviors, thoughts, and relationships in which we are still shrouded. Like a snake shedding its skin or a bird emerging from an egg, The Hanged Man gives us permission to grow. Continued