Tyldwick - Hanged Man


What I notice in the Hanged Man:

An inverted man (resembling the Vitruvian man) with a sun behind his head
Oak leaves/limbs surrounding the painting
Newton's cradle
Heavy chest with drawers

The inverted man is the sun god, known among neopagans as the Oak King. The Oak King was associated with spring and summer - active times of the year when new growth, fertility and abundance reigned. But at Midsummer, when the long days began to get shorter and shorter, the Oak King was "sacrificed" by his other half - the Holly King. The Holly King would reign until Yule, after which the days would gradually start to lengthen again and the Oak King would come back into power. To me, this is a perfect image to symbolize the Hanged Man. Just as growth stops and a focus on survival begins at winter, at times we find ourselves suspended, unable to move forward by controlling outer circumstances. We may struggle, but fighting the situation will be useless; we might as well surrender and tell our egos to go on vacation for awhile.
On a side note, in the Fortitude card before the Hanged Man was a wren, the symbol of the Oak King that was often sacrificed at the turn of the seasons.

The oak tree has long been seen as a symbol of strength and endurance. But as was learned in the Fortitude card, the strength needed now comes from an inner place rather than physical power.

Newton's cradle is a toy made of suspended metal balls; when you pull back one on the end and release it, it sends shock waves through those in the middle, but only the ball on the opposite end will react by swinging outward. It illustrates the three physics principles at work: conservation of energy, conservation of momentum and friction. What could be a better symbol of the Hanged Man than something that shows the conservation of these three principles? And just as the balls are suspended, so are we.

The heavy chest (probably made of oak) the Newton's cradle sits on emphasizes the heaviness of this card - things have come to a grinding halt. All that important stuff we were so keen on doing has been put on hold and stuffed into the drawers. We're just going to have to be patient for a bit.



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