Tarot Saturday 7: The Hanged Man & Death

My crew, we skyped a Saturday because I was too busy with personal readings to post anything, so today is your lucky day 🙂 because you will be getting two posts! As I accustomed you by now, each Saturday we explore the deeper meanings of the Major Arcana 🙂 Today we are focusing on two difficult influences in the human soul’s spiritual development: The Hanged Man and Death cards. These two cards are always strange presences in a tarot spread and can inspire confusion and dread. But have a look below at compilation of the notes I made while studying the booklets of my 13 tarot decks, and perhaps they can help you understand what lies beneath first impressions.

The Hanged Man (linked to Neptune)

The Hanged Man card in the classical Ryder-Waite Tarot, illustrated by Pamela Colman-Smith
  • Represents a sense of peace through self-discipline and freedom from distraction. Putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation in order to understand it differently, from a fresh angle. Can also symbolize breaking free from the constraints of the past, from old patterns, a reversal in your values, or breaking through the constraints of society. Maintain a belief which is higher than your personal power or allow a new point of view to form,
  • The tree on which the Hanged Man is hanging from is the Kabbalistic tree of life (The Sephirot) and the yoga pose of the character also represents ‘the tree’, a sign of infinite vitality and wisdom. The Hanged Man is reaching illumination through self-restraint and in some cases, self-sacrifice. This card signifies a pause, a period of distance which is necessary to think deeper about what lies ahead. This is not the right time to act or make a choice, if we have in mind profound change; we first need to ponder how to instigate it, so this card denotes this a sudden break
  • I’m also reminded of the game ‘the Hanged Man’, where if you make a lot of mistakes trying to guess letters to a word, you end up in a hanged man state and the game is over. So to me, this card represents arriving at a turning point in life, when after a lot of personal setbacks you stop and realize ‘Enough is enough! How can I change deeply to turn my life around? (this is significant since this card is placed right before the Death card).
  • A sign of halting, since you cannot observe the world if you run at the same speed as the world and you also cannot find any new things when you view the world the same way that everybody else does. Also a sign that too much apathy can get you stuck, and if you can’t free yourself than life will pass you by. Missing opportunities and in a love reading, potential sign of a short-lived love affair.
  • Suspend your disbelief and expand the limits of your consciousness by submitting to your destiny. Coming to the altar of sacrifice, which hands between freedom or necessity; repentance and atonement. In the Chinese Tarot, this card is breathtakingly eerie as it is named ‘Hanging Ghost’ to symbolize those who had no recourse to social justice and committed suicide.
  • I love the spiritual energy of the Hanged Man/Woman (in the Decameron Tarot) as to me it speaks about a major perspective shift after accepting the consequences of your actions, a sense of renunciation, life in suspension, the changing forces of life and a necessary transition from negative past patterns. It is the card of placing other people’s needs above your own.

I learned that the interior of life was as rewarding as the exterior of life, and that my richest moments occurred when I was absolutely still.

Richard Bode
A 4-minute video I created describing this card my YT channel ‘The Spiritual Social’

Death (linked to Scorpio)

The Death card in the classical Ryder-Waite Tarot, illustrated by Pamela Colman-Smith
  • Not an actual death, but a transformation of the self; letting go of parts of yourself that are no longer serving you, releasing old baggage, and emotionally detaching. Releasing the ego to embody an expanded consciousness. A passage-way, rites of passage that change your identity. The Phoenix is a symbol of rebirth, a restoration emerges from the crumbling. This card also stands for the shift from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius, so a shift from oppositions to holistic perspectives. In the Chinese Tarot, this card depicts Yama who governs over hell and accompanies souls through many trials before they choose to reincarnate.
  • This card represents the cycle of creation, renewal and destruction; a proper revolution, life generates death and death generates life; a continual exchange of energy between complimentary elements; the necessary abandonment of suffocating ties; a painful mutation which imposes itself in your life; an inevitable transition.
  • Accepting that time passes and we can’t slow it down, so don’t turn down joy just because of fear; a finalization that comes about without your will, but it is imposed from the outside; a conclusion which can be traumatic and unexpected. Can also represent a regeneration of your shadow aspects and your own inner demons. Do not cling on to who you thought you were; awaken reborn.

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone

Harriet Beecher-Stowe
A 4-minute video I created describing this card my YT channel ‘The Spiritual Social’

In your own divination practice, you can adapt the meanings of these two cards according to the theme of the spreads used. These cards will give you different insights according to whether you are doing a career, love or spiritual development reading. Reversed cards are to me just blocked energy, so feel free to use your divination abilities to energetically unblock these two cards. As you unlock these two Major Arcanas, simply feel the power and deep inner knowledge that is available to you. Enjoy!

With universal love,

Lexi ❤

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