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Thoth Study Group - The Hanged Man - XII

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Goldenhair's Avatar
Goldenhair  Goldenhair is offline
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Originally posted by Centaur:
Interestingly, the Hanged Man appears to hang suspended above what might be a body of water. A lake? A river?
The Hebrew letter for this card - Mem - means water.

The traditional meaning for this card is sacrifice and I find the faceless person, for me, represents this more clearly than the noble, contented looking man presented in other decks.

When we sacrifice for our loved ones, our children or even our careers, no one acknowledges the sacrifice. It is done, but not noticed by others and rarely are we thanked for our sacrifices. It is faceless - like the being on this card.
Top   #11
Centaur's Avatar
Centaur  Centaur is offline
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Originally posted by Goldenhair
The traditional meaning for this card is sacrifice and I find the faceless person, for me, represents this more clearly than the noble, contented looking man presented in other decks.
I would totally agree with that Goldenhair. I think that we can all relate to the faceless man. It represents each and every one of us. Also, interesting what you say re. the Hebrew letter. That would explain the watery colours, and the fact that he appears to be suspended over some kind of lake or river of sorts. I was looking at him again last night, and I realised that in the middle of his chest is what appears to be a circle. Am I imagining this? Perhaps someone with a magnifying glass or a larger Thoth could clarify or not as the case may be?

On another note, someone mentioned earlier that the Hanged Man is almost crucified. However, it is an upside down crucifixion. I am aware that Crowley was very much into using Christian terminology in the most dramatic and shocking fashion in order to meld various ideas into his vision of the New Aeon. Basically, as far as I am aware, the Aeon which preceded our present Aeon, was characterised by Christianity and man-centred religion. It is the Aeon in which the man is worshipped... the penis... as opposed to the Goddess, and the womb. Crowley talks of the present Aeon as the New Aeon... and it is characterised by what one might call various 'New Age' lifestyles. So... I am thinking that the reversed crucifixion of the Hanged Man may be a symbolic representation of this. He appears to be drifting out of view and into the past (the departure of Christianity?), and the Sun of the New Aeon appears to be rising at the top of the card. Interestingly, after this card comes Death. Rebirth. Birth of the New Aeon? Ofcourse, I am just surmising here! Hehe.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd... before the Hanged Man is Lust. Lust is a depiction of the Great Whore, Scarlet Woman, or Mother of Abominations; whatever you prefer to call her. Interestingly, Crowley again uses dramatic terminology. In his new Aeon, the Whore is not seen as bad, or immoral. Instead, she is symbolic of the Universe, and how the Universe longs to be re-united with her children; that is, she longs to be re-united with each and every one of us. So... in that sense, in Crowley's New Aeon, he elevates the Whore in the Lust card to that of a very high symbolic status. Obviously, he is not advocating that we should run out and sleep with everyone we see! Hahaha. Anyway... if you look at the what she holds in her left hand... she appears to be pulling down some form of fire... if you look above this... then there are the colours of the Hanged Man card. Could this mean that she is pulling down the Hanged Man... reclaiming her 'children' from Christianity?
Top   #12
TheoMo's Avatar
TheoMo  TheoMo is offline
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There is something very science fiction-ish about this card, and I can't place my finger on it. The way the face is depecticed on the card reminds me of a lot of communist/authoritarian statues, where the face is often made to not show specific features. The statues represent the "worker" or the "laborer" or the individual member of the nation, that type of thing. Plus the grid behind the person reminds me of graph paper or something science-ish.

When I concentrated on this card what surprised me was that I heard a "silent scream" ( I realize that's a bit of a contradiction ). I can't really make out a mouth on the hanging individual, but I would imagine that the person here would be in a great deal of pain. Even if the person *could* scream, the only thing that would be there to hear it would be the two snakes, one below and one by the person's foot. Whatever battles this person fought, and whatever pain this person is going through, it must be fought and dealt with alone.

The water aspect reinforces that -- there are no loud fiery noises taking place on this card (unlike the Tower, for exmaple); in fact, you can almost hear the water drip-drip-dripping from somewhere, (akin to water torture?) or even the snake rustling quietly through the water.

The legs also seem to make a figure "four" which is reminiscent of the Emperor.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I do hope we get through more of the cards!

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Rusty Neon's Avatar
Rusty Neon  Rusty Neon is offline
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Rusty Neon 

Originally Posted by TheoMo
The legs also seem to make a figure "four" which is reminiscent of the Emperor.
4 for Four and 4 for the symbol for alchemical Sulphur.

In the 1701 Dodal Marseilles deck, to bring the point home, the printer even inserted an Arabic number 4 in the body of the Emperor card, near the top, in addition to the Roman numeral IV. This is the only major arcana in that deck with an Arabic number added to the card.
Top   #14
f. silvestris  f. silvestris is offline
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f. silvestris 

Regarding TheoMo's remark about the Hanged Man's face, it might be worth bearing in mind that Marxism was the last great movement of the Aeon of Osiris - Marx came out of German Protestantism via Hegel - so a Communist icon seems entirely appropriate. The more I look at him now, the more the HM looks like some Promethean figure out of the Paris Manuscripts, alienated from the sensuous external world by his own artifice.
Top   #15
knightofrainbows  knightofrainbows is offline
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When st peter was crucified, he asked to be crucified upside down, because he thought himself not worthy to crucified in the same way as jesus.
I think the hanged man is conditioning himself to cross his right leg over his left knee just like the emperor. Also, i think the death card is a new begining for the hanged man, his hard work and creative imagination are finaly paying off. he has visualised a way to cut through his 'little' ghosts, and transform them, its all in his mind of course. some people call them 'demons' and i think we all have them.
Top   #16
Diwha's Avatar
Diwha  Diwha is offline
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Hanged Man

It is awesome to be able to have so much insight available through all of you. Thank you all.
When I turn the HM card up side down, it almost looks like it can be seen this way too. Observe how the skin of his palms is being pushed towards his fingers as if he was hung in this position and gravity is pulling him down. It almost looks like the card could be viewed like this.
Then I say to myself, it's hard enough trying to understand the cards uprite, don't start looking for explainations up side down.......
Top   #17
Aeon418's Avatar
Aeon418  Aeon418 is offline
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The whole idea of sacrifice is a misconception of nature,... may regard this symbol as an evil legacy from the old Aeon; to use an anatomical analogy, its a spiritual vermiform appendix.

This card is beautiful in a strange, immemorial, moribund manner. It is the card of the Dying God; its importance in the present pack is merely that of the Cenotaph.

The Book of Thoth p.97
It's clear from the above quotes that Crowley himself regarded this card as little more than a memorial to the dead. Or to be more precise the formula of death and self sacrifice of the Aeon of Osiris and the life denying (the inverted Ankh) philosophies and religions of that era.

The Hanged Man himself represents the symbol of the Cross above a triangle which represents the descent of spirit into matter in order to redeem it. In the aeon of Osiris the earth was considered to be evil. The body had to renounced in order to follow the spirit. Crowley saw that this dichotomy between spirit and matter was an illusion. In the New Aeon of Horus the spirit and the flesh are not seen as enemies. The formula of the new aeon is one of life and growth. Matter and the body are viewed as the natural and complimentary opposite of the spirit. The body is to be used in the service of the spirit by the use of Love under Will.

It should be the chiefest aim of the wise to rid mankind of the insolence of self-sacrifice, of the calamity of chastity; faith must be slain by certainty, and chastity by ecstasy.
Top   #18
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Dean  Dean is offline
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The hanged man An involuntary pause makes it possible to let go of old compulsions.
Top   #19
Nemia  Nemia is offline
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A very old thread, but I want to add something.

While preparing a lecture about the history of architecture, I saw this image:

It's the Vitruvian man but NOT as he was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci but by an artist called Cesare Cesariano.

I find the geometric similarities quite striking - the aura around head and hands, square and circle, the modular rays in triangular form (turned around by Harris).

I wish I had the time to measure the Hanged Man and to check whether Harris followed the exact measurements Vitruvius himself gave. (details here: )

There are many differences, from the leg position to the ankh and the snakes. Still, I find the formal similarities interesting. It is possible that in her projective geometry studies, Harris "met" the Vitruvian teachings of proportion, the connection between the human body and geometry. And if the Hanged Man is the Vitruvian man, then he represents humanity in its ideal and non-individual way.

Just something to think about.

I can't post pictures any more but after I put the two images side by side and over each other, I was amazed to see how well they fit over each other, especially the geometric figures.

I'm quite sure that Harris must have known and studied this version of the Vitruvian man, if only for formal reasons. If anyone is interested in my overlay graphic, pm me and I'll send it to you so you can look for yourself.
Top   #20



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