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The Hanged Man

A description and interpretation of the role of The Hanged Man in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • waiting

  • stagnation


General overview

The Hanged Man provokes lots of questions, and even fear, among cartomancy adepts. Although the symbolism conveyed by its name is not very pleasing, the card can actually be extremely beneficial to those who know how to learn from it. The 12th arcana in the Tarot represents a young man suspended from a bar by a rope around his foot, with an upside down tree either side of him. This is very strong symbolism, as trees are traditionally associated with ideas of knowledge and spiritual elevation. Note that he is attached by his left foot, thus creating an obvious link with the heel worn by The Magician. The Hanged Man's hands are joined behind his back. It's easy to imagine that they are tied together too.

The character's clothes are mostly red and blue. The red tells us that the Hanged Man is actively committed to searching, despite his somewhat uncomfortable position. You can also see his right ear, which suggests that the Hanged Man is listening to the solutions available to him. The blue, on the other hand, bears witness to the links he has with the world of ideas and intuition.

Note also the character's impassive face and that he is looking straight ahead. The Hanged Man appears to simply accept his situation. But if having his body tied up means he can't act as he would like, it also means he can now focus all his attention on his mental activity. All the strengths he needs to develop and change will be found within himself.

The wait is in proportion to the happiness that’s expected.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    When analyzed within a reading concentrating on your love life, the Hanged Man often reflects the existence of a secret love, undisclosed feelings or a platonic relationship. For this reason, it is most often associated with a form of non-realization and waiting, which can sometimes be painful. If you are in a couple, the character evokes the need to reassess the relationship, so as to stop it stagnating or to prevent a feeling of generalized bitterness.

  • from a career viewpoint

    In the professional field, the Hanged Man teaches the seeker that it is not yet time to stand in the spotlight. The work they do in the shadows will, however, highlight all their qualities of perseverance and thoroughness. Consistency and regularity are highly valued qualities in the world of work. And inevitably one day they will be recognized at their fair value by the seeker's hierarchical superiors.

  • from a life path viewpoint

    This arcana emphasizes the virtues of patience, self-sacrifice and resilience, three qualities that are particularly useful for anyone who wishes to calmly prepare for the future. Unlike The Chariot, the Hanged Man invites you to take stock of your life, get everything out in the open so you can get a better understanding of what drives you and what is preventing you from moving forward. Accepting certain blockages is the first step you need to take before setting off again in a more open way.

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    Its influence

    • short-term

      In the short term, the Hanged Man encourages you not to act impulsively and to recognize the benefits of patience. It is time to take advantage of your need for solitude to reflect on the meaning you want to give to your life, accepting with open arms the difficulties you are currently experiencing. By questioning some of your certainties, you will be able to face your daily life in a new way, with happiness and serenity in your sights.

    • long-term

      Long-term the Hanged Man's influences are highly dependent on the cards that surround it. Coupled with Strength, for example, it means that your questioning period will lead to professional and romantic success. Associated with Justice, it indicates your questions may eventually shape new behavior, driven by moral rectitude and respect for the rules.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of The Hanged Man upright

    Although a lot of people worry about drawing the Hanged Man, this character is extremely positive to those who know how to benefit from his teaching. As a beginning, the Hanged Man invites you to accept your situation as it is today, the blockages that are holding you up at the moment are signs of a destiny demanding you be patient for a while. If, at first sight, accepting things like this can seem distressing, this is because society constantly highlights the power of action. Keep in mind that action for action's sake leads nowhere, and sometimes can even result in particularly hazardous situations. After all, as the saying goes, a good thing is worth waiting for.

    Although the Hanged Man encourages patience, it's not a question of inaction. If his body is tied up, he will use his mind to find the means to move forward. In fact, what's needed is the acceptance that you need to look inside yourself and confront your fears and traumas. By refocusing on yourself like this, in the future you will be better able to understand the complex workings of your psychology and the values that drive you. Drawing the Hanged Man evokes the need for open-mindedness. As his position suggests, it may be necessary to reverse your viewpoint and approach issues from a different perspective. New perspectives will undoubtedly emanate from this new state of mind!

    Interpretation of The Hanged Man reversed

    When it appears upside down, the Hanged Man suggests a sterile inertia on the part of the seeker. Although the character invites you to be patient and work on your character, idleness and total inaction dominate the picture. So psychological blockages become reinforced and the situation quickly becomes difficult to bear. For the seeker, the danger is a loss of contact with reality and a deep seated sense of helplessness. Fortunately, there are solutions for getting out of this bad patch. The thing to do will be to fully accept the difficulty of the situation. The path of a human life is inevitably fraught with obstacles. It is therefore natural to have to deal with negative emotions. It should be borne in mind, however, that no situation lasts eternally and that destiny is cyclical in nature. We are also taught this by the Wheel of Fortune (add internal link). While exploring their subconscious, the seeker will discover hidden treasures and all the strengths they need for their development.