The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings

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The Hanged Man Tarot card describes a man hanging upside down from the World Tree which rooted in hell and stretched out to heaven. With a bright face, it was very likely that he volunteered to hang on the tree. His right foot was being tied while the left one was still free and his knees bent down behind his right leg at the same time as his arms folded and left behind his back which form the inverted triangle.

He wears red pants, represents passion and human form, blue cloak represents knowledge, and yellow shoes represent his great ideals. There is a bright yellow halo around his head which represents the soul, and a gray background that shows the hidden thing (a reminder not to show off your spirit). This is the card of absolute concession, to know the time to stop, to suffer, and to sacrifice to achieve better. The Hanged Man is a figment of contemplation about breaking down the bad habits and behavior which are holding you back.

The number of this card is 12 which is a higher multiple of number 3, showing careful planning and orderly development toward spiritual development process.

1 (start) + 2 (power of reason) = 3 (result of regeneration).

The constellation that affects this card is Neptune, the planet of self-sacrifice and idealism.

The detailed description of the Hanged Man Tarot card

The Hanged Man Tarot card is one of the most mysterious cards in the deck, simple yet complicated, and inconsistent in many ways. As you can see, the character in this card turns upside down, symbolizing paradoxical actions (but true ones) in life. However, this card contains the truth that lies behind the opposite things.

The biggest lessons of this card are that we “control” when we let things go and we “win” when we get lost. The image on the card number 12 made a perfect surrender – death on the cross – spread out the perfect aura of victory, sacrifice yourself and become the winner.

Keywords related to this card: Letting go, Reverse, Pause, Sacrifice.

Detailed meaning of the keywords of the Hanged Man Tarot card

Letting go

  • Relieve emotions;
  • Accept the reality;
  • Surrender;
  • No longer stuck;
  • No defense and open minded;
  • Uncontrollable;
  • Accept the will of heaven.


  • Turn your life around;
  • Change the way you think;
  • Revert to previous priorities;
  • See from the new angle;
  • Restore the old order;
  • Change your attitude.

Pause the action

  • Stopped to ponder;
  • Take time to relax your mind;
  • Give up the way of living life in a hurry;
  • Live at the present;
  • Wait for an opportunity.


  • Martyr;
  • Unconditional;
  • Ignore personal desires;
  • One step back, two steps forward;
  • Have the forbearance to go further;
  • Put others first.

A few opposite Tarot cards to the Hanged Man

  • Magician – action;
  • Chariot – self-assertion;
  • 7 of Wands – challenge, confrontation;
  • 10 of Wands – stuck;
  • 4 of Pentacles – hold back, control.

A few support Tarot cards for the Hanged Man

  • Fool – to believe in reality, to go with the flow;
  • High Priestess – hanging, waiting;
  • Strength – persistence, humble;
  • 4 of Swords – rest, pause;
  • 10 of Swords – Sacrifice, martyr.

Upright meaning of the Hanged Man Tarot card: delay, restraint, loosen, sacrifice

Words and Keywords

Inversion, action being slow down, being imprisoned, waste of time, experimental period, lesson learnt, sense of the universe, enlightenment, unique perspective, a new point of view, acting on a independent and different way, spiritual harmony, altruism, sacrifice, commitment, dedication, flexibility, adaptability, dare to differentiate, break the past, re-adjust, volunteer sacrifice to receive a better thing, stagnation, calm, slow motion, clear deadlock, sat on the fence.

Reflection, serenity, higher intelligence, mysticism, devotion, unwanted changes in occupation or in the family, man proposes, God disposes, favor both opposites.


Generally, the Hanged Man Tarot card shows you are sitting on the fence and need to select only one of the two (either going up or down; being off or on; and saying yes or no). You may find yourself wanting to do something, however, you do not know how to do it. If that is the case, you should definitely stop, relax, and let go of the desire to control life/circumstances/people.


This is a card that implies delay and waits as that may be what you need to do to let new possibilities can happen. Sometimes, inaction will help you find more opportunities for other options that are available to you and allow more promising chances to appear.

It is time for the attitudes and desires that are no longer useful to disappear from your life. Being sacrificed instead of holding on to something will bring out more positive changes. Most of all, it is time to ponder and contemplate, especially when you are eager to see what is useful to you.


Nothing special happens that makes you getting bored. If so, you can reflect on what you can do to change it. If not, do not blame yourself for everything. The Hanged Man tells that everything will change, it just does not change in the way you want. All you need to do is relax, or, you can look for another job.


Again, the topic throughout is “letting go”. For example, letting go of someone whom you can not reach out for can create opportunities for the right person to step into your life. In addition, you may need to let go of a relationship in which you think that you cannot live without your partner. If you are having a long term relationship, maybe both of you are at sitting on a fence. If you feel that everything is perfect, find out whether your partner feels the same way.


If you are in need, you should learn how to give and let go to expand the flow, even if all you have is a piece of bread. You need to understand that there is always someone who is ready to hand out to share with you that rare piece of bread. Simple things like this can turn the wheel and bring your prosperity to a better stage.


You can change your perspective if you think your physical condition is not working. It does not mean you have to ignore all the doctor’s instructions, just research and think about it deeply. There may be things that you think you know but it turns out that you are not, so do it the other way. Your health will get better after the whole process.


The Hanged Man Tarot card also tells you that you should be willing to give up a small benefit in order to get bigger results which seems to be spiritual and personal. Therefore, you will probably need to invest in time, energy, and/or money to achieve them. Likewise, you are dedicated to the rights and are willing to take on the task ahead of you, but first, you need time to take a break and think.

It is important to let go of negative thoughts and limited beliefs. You still remember the principle of “autosuggestion”, so be careful what you allow yourself to say and think about life. Thus, you need to make sure that the “suggestion” you give at least corresponds to what you want.

Situation and advice

The reversed position of the man in the Hanged Man card reminds you to look at yourself from a completely different perspective. Although the image hanging backward implies that your life is delayed for a while, you will realize what needed to change in yourself. The tree on which he hangs has a lot of leaves and vines, which implies that the tree has the potential to produce more fruit.

Besides, this card shows a reversal in your normal way of life and the observation of the world from a completely different perspective. Perhaps you should try hanging up yourself and looking around as the character of this card. As a result, your view will change completely, although the surroundings will still be the same when you look at the standing position.

This card also requires you to rotate your world and look at your situation in a different way. When you do that, you will find something new that is proven to be more valuable to you at a deeper level. You may have to abandon your beliefs or even your previous way of life. This is a time of renewal, so your life will be able to move forward.

At the moment, let’s take a short break and stop the action. You need to re-evaluate your attitudes, goals, and priorities while maintaining loyalty to your spiritual values. Time seems to drift slowly and you may feel like you are in a state of inactivity. This is the time to experiment and learn a lesson. You are entering a great transformation in which you feel trapped between the old and the new, have the ability to devote yourself wholeheartedly to an important project or great ambition and have unique ideas that others do not understand or appreciate.

Perhaps you have to work hard or sacrifice to achieve more wonderful things. You can join the group of people who sacrifice like the way you do and need to give up the old ones to make way for the new ones. In addition, you can give up selfish desire in love and bondage to others (or even a relationship because you realize it causes the disadvantage). Time spent on contemplation, resting, relaxing, thinking is worth it. You need to reconnect with the spiritual life. It is possible that you are over anxious and need to connect with the higher power. Other people most likely do not understand your motivation.


The donor sacrifices himself for a purpose, the person who conceals his life for reflection, the one who dares to be different, a patient, a spiritual person, a Saint.

Reversed meaning of the Hanged Man: miserable, hesitant, delayed

Reversed meaning of the Hanged Man

Words and Keywords

Materialism, do not accept the necessary sacrifices, Martyr syndrome, wrong protection, unprofitable investment, a poor financial decision, lack of commitment, triumph over selfishness, unsatisfied, disappointed, bored, listless, lack of effort, useless, stuck in the present state, unwilling to give up the past, lack of spiritual harmony, excessively suitable, soul killer, the fake self, reject an important part of ourselves, always wants to keep up with others, end the hesitation.


When appearing in reverse, the Hanged Man generally still means that your life is leading to a turn in which you can only choose one of the two (either going up or down, being off or on, and saying yes or no). This is not the time to try to control people, the outcome or the situation. Instead, you should try to have a rigorous and correct view of yourself and your options for considering each step. If you really do not know what to do now, it’s a clear signal to be it.


The Hanged Man reversed shows the stage where you feel as if you are sacrificing yourself too much while the results are worthless. You can feel completely stuck with no progress or resolution. Maybe you are trapped by time and fall into the dilemma and there is no way out of the present situation. Your dreams and goals are confined to external realities and internal problems. There is a source of energy that is going through your life and now you can expect things to reappear as well as major changes will happen. This delay time is acting like a catalyst for what is about to happen

The possibility is that it is time to let go of the view, situation or relationship that is no longer necessary. Of course, you should think about it first, and understand that sacrificing useless things at the moment is likely to bring better things. The Hanged Man, in particular, encourages you not to fight the change.


If the job is not going well and this card appears, the first thing to do is to get rid of the attitude which is blaming for everything, everyone (except yourself) about what is going on. At the same time, you do not have to carry all responsibilities and then block yourself from the way of your progress. You may have to change some main elements at work, think about how your ideal job would be.


Again, with The Hanged Man in reverse, the main topic is still letting go. You may have to let go of some kind of typical relationship or relationship that you believe “I can not live without the other”. If you are having a close relationship, the high possibility is that you are sitting on a fence. Then, there is no need to worry about because all you have to do is take the time to subtly recognize the recent “signs” instead of ignoring them.

If this reversed card appears in the spread when you have a confined relationship, it suggests that you should have fun waiting. You will realize that this relationship grows over time and it is too complicated to accelerated. However, you do not want to be “stuck” forever and you are aware that it is time to make a decision about your current relationship.


You may not know what you are doing with your personal financial situation. One of the most important things to know now is that you are not alone and do not try to do everything by yourself. Do not hesitate to seek help. Just like the upright card, even if you tighten your belt, then letting go to expand the flow.

You need to understand that there is always someone around who is ready to reach out for you and give you that rare piece of bread. Thus, you should find people you need and share with them. Simple things like this can turn the wheel and bring your prosperity to a better stage. We always live together in this world.


It seems that the situation is not very good, maybe you should consider changing the habit of living to see how it affects and helps your health (of course with the full medication). For example, many people find their health improved when they stop eating dairy food, bell peppers or meat.

Perhaps you will realize what you think is not good for yourself, turns out to be not. Just like the upright card, if you are feeling bad, think more carefully. There may be things that you think you know but the truth turns out to be not, so do the other way. You should listen to your body and consider the relationship between mental and physical symptoms.


Lessons from childhood can make us think again. Especially for those who have been raised in Orthodox families. You should consider your long-standing belief to see whether it fit into the mordern life or not. Ideally, the mind is a process of development. A concept that once was right when you were 12 years old can become too narrow at the present. Likewise, you should not hesitate to find someone who knows to learn and consider their views and distill the ones that suit you.

The Hanged Man reversed implies that you are losing confidence in your ability to overcome obstacles in life. You may be denied mental support. This is a very important time to ponder and restore your belief in the ability to overcome the problems of life. Thus, you should be aware that this difficult time will soon be over and accept realistic situations and be happy with yourself.

In addition, you may be feeling self-deprecating and not willing to sacrifice or compromise for a better result. Maybe you are being selfish or even arrogant, separating yourself from those who are trying to cooperate with you.

Situation and advice

For some reason, you are not honest with yourself. Perhaps you are sacrificing your life for no good reason. You can live on the desires of others and you deny the need and value within you. Are you playing the role of a martyr in a relationship? Such behavior can only lead to feelings of hopelessness and reluctance to associate with a worthwhile goal. You may not be willing to sacrifice for the better.

Are you afraid of making people around you saddened for acting differently or unlike others? Remember Emerson’s statement that a stupid insistence is the scary thing of a narrow mindset. You can search the whole world for enlightenment and do not waste your energy on useless projects. If you ask about a financial issue, be careful about investing in the wrong place or consider whether you are pursuing a dubious financial path at this time or not.

On the positive side, periods of stagnation may come to an end. If you are able to re-establish your priorities and find a way back in life, you are ready to act decisively.


Martyrs, selfish people, dependent individuals (those who live according to the wishes of others), people who do not bind themselves.

In a Tarot spread, the Hanged Man Tarot card reminds us that the approach we see is not necessarily the best way. Instead of forcing others to do things our ways, we need to let things go. And though we really want to take action, we should wait for the right time. The paradox is that when we do all those things, we will see what we have been looking for.

The Hanged Man also tells us that we move on by knowing how to stand still. By stopping, we get the time of the whole universe.

More The Hanged Man Cards from Famous Tarot Decks

1. The Hanged Man Thoth Tarot Deck

The Hanged Man Thoth Tarot card represents, and nothing more, the subject of revolving around one’s life. So, it represents the crisis in the midst of life, as well as all the big and small changes.

<< See More >> The Hanged Man Thoth Tarot Card Meanings

2. Le Pendu Tarot De Marseille

le pendu tarot

The Hanged Man – Le Pendu Tarot refers to the moment of a pause in everything so that we can turn to our advantage by improving our plan in more detail, self-understanding, and internal work. 

<< See More >> Le Pendu Tarot de Marseille Card Meanings

3. The Hanged Man Shadowscapes Tarot Deck

The Hanged Man Shadowscapes refers to giving up and surrendering to experience and release emotions, accepting reality, giving up control, suspending all actions and sacrifices.

<< See More >> The Hanged Man Shadowscapes Tarot Card Meanings

4. The New Vision Osho Zen Tarot Deck

new vision osho zen

The New Vision Osho Zen is not about the body or the mind, it is something transcending on both opposites. It is called the Blessed One – Buddha of 10 directions …

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5. The Mirror Wildwood Tarot Deck

The Mirror Wildwood Tarot is located at the autumn equinox, September 21, at the gate that leads to the sunrise. The element of the card is Water. The dark sea at midnight takes the soul on a journey to the mysterious island of healing.

<< See More >> The Mirror Wildwood Tarot Card Meanings

6. The Hanged Man Deviant Moon Tarot Deck

The Hanged Man Deviant Mo

The Hanged Man Deviant Moon often shows an inability to help himself through independent action. The energy is captured and awaiting judgment. With this card, there is no way for the will to regain control until the situation is over.

<< See More >> The Hanged Man Deviant Moon Tarot Card Meanings

7. The Hanged Man Linestrider Tarot Deck

The Hanged Man Linestrider is a mysterious card that often appears at transitions when you pause to assess a situation or find a new way of seeing and approaching life. 

<< See More >> The Hanged Man Linestrider Tarot Card Meanings

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