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Pearls of Wisdom - The Hanged Man

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Rede Seeker  Rede Seeker is offline
Join Date: 12 Oct 2006
Location: Texas Gulf Coast, USA
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Rede Seeker 
Pearls of Wisdom - The Hanged Man

What is wrong with this picture...yes, he's upside-down, but more so than usual.

A man hangs upside-down from a tree, but the scenery around his head is not a reflection. His head is in the clouds and although he is hanging upside-down, seen from his perspective, everything is right-side up..well, the bee is flying upside-down, but the mountains, shore, sky, sun are all where they should be from his point of view. He isn't upside-down, the world is...

The man is bound by the leg to a tree limb. The rope is tied all the way from ankle to knee and ends with a short string of pearls ending with a heart pendant. The rope has frayed ends and a snake twined around the limb with it. The snake's color imitates the rope and tree. It's head could be mistaken for the last live leaf on the tree if it weren't for the forked tongue. The tree looks to be healthy though shedding leaves. An owl sits in a hollow. The roots are thick and numerous. There is grass growing among the roots, and some dead leaves. The hanged man's shoes, cap, staff and bundle rest among the roots and lean against the tree's trunk. A butterfly flutters near the snake's tail.

The background is peculiar. Around the man's head, it looks normal. Behind his legs, it looks like a reflection on water. The sun forms a nimbus about the man's head and also appears above his bound foot.

The man's tunic is sun-yellow and bound by a belt of pearls ending in a heart-shaped pendant, similar to the string of pearls hanging from his bound leg. There is a purplish kerchef (?) on his lapel; a small red bud sits in it's center and is surrounded by white dots - possible small pearls.

The upper corners hold brackets with planters willed with green plants, but they are upside-down. The lower corners hold an owl, butterfly, the staff with bundle and snake and the purplish thing with red bud and pearls. The right column holds a gold oblong bracked from which hangs a string of pearls ending in a heart-shaped pendant. This string of pearls is one line, not a loop, necklace-like string. Both columns have a drowsy eye at it's center.

The Rune Wunjo is marked on the left column; the Rune Isa is marked on the right. Wunjo is the Rune of Joy and Fellowship. Isa is the Ice Rune - an odd choice signifying stasis. Isa has another, lesser used interpretation, known to anyone who has lived through a hard winter - ice forms bridges. You can walk across water, but be careful - the ice is slippery, and its difficult to judge how thick it is.

Wunjo = eighth Rune of the Elder Futhark
Isa = eleventh Rune of the Elder Futhark
Wunjo + Isa = 19 = Ehwaz, the Rune of Trust and Loyalty; a Rune that can only be fully understood through experience (it's a prime number) not learning and study alone. Together, these Runes tell us that our hanged man is not suffering. He has faith in the process that binds him like this. The world he sees from this perspective has more clarity for him than the other one.
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Sulis's Avatar
Sulis  Sulis is offline
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Here's an image of the card:
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dinah1's Avatar
dinah1  dinah1 is offline
Join Date: 16 Apr 2008
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I'm fascinated that he's called the hanged man as to me he is a hanging man - I expected to see a man hung by the throat before I first ever saw this card, not someone dangling upsidedown...

( past hanged ) [ trans. ] kill (someone) by tying a rope attached from above around the neck and removing the support from beneath (used as a form of capital punishment) : he was hanged for murder | she hanged herself in her cell.

hanging |?ha???| noun Act of suspending : Death by halter : a decorative piece of fabric or curtain hung on the wall of a room or around a bed : a beautiful wall hanging.

For me hanging is very different to being hanged - and this guy is hanging according to my eyesight... but I'm new to Tarot.

Anyway - at least he's got clothes on otherwise he might be a 'game player' and got his friend to do this to him! lol
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Marli's Avatar
Marli  Marli is offline
Join Date: 25 Apr 2008
Location: Trinidad, West Indies
Posts: 315
Other Things That Struck Me...


At first in looking at this card, short of opening a book for the "traditional meaning" of the card I was stomped, but then I read your interpretation of this card...

"our hanged man is not suffering. He has faith in the process that binds him like this. The world he sees from this perspective has more clarity for him than the other one."

And it finally came together in my head... then I started to really look at the card again, and noticed a couple of other things in addition to what you pointed out...

There is at least 1 sleeping nature spirit present in the background behind the man's head.

Two things struck me about the nature in which the man's belongings are placed against the tree:
a) The fact that they were placed there at all, as oppossed to being stolen/taken away.
b) The fact that they were placed there so neatly, as though he placed them there himself, and if that is the case.. then this leads us down a whole different road, if he indeed did put the items there himself, then it means that he is in the tree of his own free will, maybe to meditate.

In going through the deck so far, aside from the fool, he is the only other in the major arcana that I have noticed with a "bag" of his belongings (though I could be wrong) and whom also has a very different view of how things really are...which sort of suggests to me that maybe he is the fool, but later on in his journey, maybe a little wiser?!

Another thing that I noticed is that try as it might, the snake does not seem able to touch him, far less do him any harm, as though there is something protecting him.

There is also a symbol in the centre of his forhead, it's not a third eye... maybe energy?!
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Rede Seeker  Rede Seeker is offline
Join Date: 12 Oct 2006
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Rede Seeker 
Fool and Hanged Man

The Fool = 0
The Hanged Man = 12

A year after starting on his journey, the Fool takes another leap of faith? This time, instead of letting the river take him wherever its going, our Seeker takes control of his situation. He stays in one place and contemplates the world from a different point of view. The Fool wears glasses; the Hanged Man's eyesight is good. The Fool wears an elaborate costume. Our Hanged Man is comfortably dressed, less flashy, in a simple outfit. Our Fool has matured and healed somewhat (no longer needs glasses).

The Fool's elements are water (the river that carries him) and Spirit (the rainbow). The Hanged Man's elements are air and earth (suspended in the air but anchored through the tree to Mother Earth) - he is inspired and grounded.

The Fool's pouch is marked with elemental signs symbolizing access to all elements. The Hanged Man's pouch is a black and white checkerboard pattern - a pattern we see in the World in a more evolved form - earth and sky forming the dark and light squares; Justice; and the two of Swords. The checkerboard pattern indicates choice to me. With choice comes Free Will.

The snake does seem to be 'hanging out' with the Hanged Man, doesn't it.
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Marli's Avatar
Marli  Marli is offline
Join Date: 25 Apr 2008
Location: Trinidad, West Indies
Posts: 315
Re: The Hanged Man/The Fool


Thanks for your thoughts and agreement with me that the Hanged Man is indeed a possible progression of The Fool, I was wondering if anyone else saw the possible connection... and then you solidified it for me! How cool is that?!
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