Osiris is a dying and resurrecting god. The symbolism of death and resurrection is closely tied to the agricultural cycle, which followed the course of the sun throughout the year. Here we see Osiris making preparation for His own death. As Osiris is turned upside down, so also is Life itself, as can be seen by the position of the ankh tied to His foot. Osiris is suspended above the waters of the Nile. Hapi, god of the Nile, can be seen on either side of Osiris, on the archway. Beneath Hapi are Egyptian symbols for water. This card represents the element of water, so is tied to all of the cups as well.

Water doesn't fight. It doesn't flow uphill. It shapes itself to whatever container it finds. Likewise for Osiris in this card. He willingly accepts the position He is in. He voluntarily prepares for His own death, so that by His death, others may also conquer death. Osiris knew His death was necessary for the cycle of the seasons, as well as the death/resurrection cycle. His face shows peaceful acceptance of this fact. I personally see a halo surrounding His head, even though it isn't depicted in this card.

I borrow from 78 Degrees for this card. Whatever the problem or conflict might be, don't fight it. Instead, go with it and let the situation play itself out. Be like water and shape yourself to it. If you are strongly moved to take action, do nothing. If you feel it best to NOT rock the boat, speak out.

This card reminds me of the Civil Rights Movement in 60s America. At some point a decision was made that marchers would be battered by the police during the marches and at no point would they fight back. The marchers were ok with this. They knew cameras would be rolling, which meant the nation would witness the violence against the marchers first hand. It would only be a matter of time before the nation couldn't stomach the violence anymore. The marchers won the situation by shaping themselves to it, just like Osiris & just like water. By agreeing to be battered and refusing to fight back, the entire nation was eventually able to progress beyond what we thought to be true. The sacrifices of the few opened the eyes of the many, once the marchers made the decision to become like water.


Thought I had some time and would go back and refresh myself on some of these posts. WOW Great job on this Sweetisthetruth. The hanged man is always a difficult card for me. Your thoughts on comparing it to the Civil Rights Movement, makes it so much easier to understand why sometimes self sacrifice is necessary for the big picture. :) I'm going to make a note on this in my journal, Thanks.


bumping up


Osiris is pictured as being in the middle, whether that's of the road or of being poised between two choices or outcomes. He is unable or unwilling to move in either direction.

The lack of discomfort, anger or fear on his features or in his body show that instead of being in a predicament, he is undergoing a necessary step in his own personal progress.

Suspended between heaven and earth and being part of neither, Osiris is in limbo, neither alive nor dead.

The Manjet, the solar barque that carried Ra across the sky during the course of the day, is depicted above Osiris' foot. The Manjet was believed to be carried on the shoulders of the god Nun, who became associated with the Nile. In addition to carrying Ra and the 7 other gods of the Ogdoad (with Nun being the eighth), the Manjet also carried dead humans who had risen to become the blessed dead, which included the deceased pharaohs who were Ra's descendants.

The ankh is a symbol of life. An inverted ankh is formed by the green rope tied around Osiris' ankle. So, if an upright ankh is the symbol of life, the inverted ankh can be construed to be a symbol of death. The presence of the barque and inverted ankh suggest that Osiris is dead or dying as pictured in the Hanged Man.

On either side of Nun are regular men who show the ritualized position of worship. Osiris' head is in an inferior position, suggesting that the mind is not in control, but spirit is; his position could also be seen as an extreme form of prostration that allows him to clear his head, possibly as an aid to worship.

The Nile god Hapi is pictured on the columns on either side of Osiris. Hapi carries a lotus staff and wears a headdress comprised of a watery papyrus plant. The papyrus was associated with an important message or insight, inferring that Osiris might be clearing his mind in order to gain insight into a situation.