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The Hanged Man. The Path to Stillness

“The hardest part of letting go is the "uncertainty"--when you are afraid that the moment you let go of someone you will hate yourself when you find out how close you were to winning their affection. Every time you give yourself hope you steal away a part of your time, happiness and future. However, once in a while you wake up to this realization and you have to hold on tightly to this truth because your heart will tear away the foundation of your logic, by making excuses for why this person doesn't try as much as you. The truth is this: Real love is simple. We are the ones that make it complicated. A part of disconnecting is recognizing the difference between being desired and being valued. When someone loves you they will never keep you waiting, give their attention and affection away to others, allow you to continue hurting, or ignore what you have gone through for them. On the other hand, a person that desires you can't see your pain, only what they can get from you with minimal effort in return. They let you risk everything, while they guard their heart and reap the benefits of your feelings. We make so many excuses for the people we fall in love with and they make up even more to remain one foot in the door. However, the truth is God didn't create you to be treated as an option or to be disrespected repeatedly. He wants you to close the door. If someone loves you and wants to be in your life no obstacle will keep them from you. Remember, you are royalty, not a beggar.”

― Shannon L. Alder

I think that the Hanged Man is a powerful and intensely spiritual card which is often misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Aleister Crowley tells us that the Hanged Man makes the shape of 4 or rather a cross with a figure 4 on top which symbolises ‘the descent of the light into darkness in order to redeem it.' In other words the Hanged Man takes the dark of the shadow and brings forth illumination.

Defeats and sorrows must be given their due but as a result we must then let go which for us humans is the ultimate sacrifice, the act of letting go. We don’t like to let go; we hang on to all that is a known quantity despite the fact it might be toxic. Keeping the same, even in robust and charming situations, is something we endeavour to do as the uncertainty of change encourages vulnerability and lack of form. Yet in this vulnerability there is great power and that is…the process of transformation.

You are sitting in a darkened room, you flick the light switch on and hey presto things look so different.

The lesson is to realise one’s capacity to wear the mantle of different! It is having the confidence of that which we create and achieve is not wasted or scorned; that our efforts are not futile or without purpose but the very state of being alive is spiritual in itself and holds meaning and purpose. No experience is ever wasted. Very often a shift in perspective alters how we handle the undulations of life. We sometimes require that shift in our view to move forward and in so doing we release ourselves from the fetters of old baggage and out worn ideas. The Devil’s work is done.

The universe abhors a vacuum and when we find ourselves in limbo the game is on.

The objective is to avoid stagnation and complacency. Otherwise at some point we will find that life itself will shove us from the bubble like a ball from a cannon, a course of action best given a wide swerve as it can be painful.

The Hanged Man swings from the Tree of life.

His head is pointing downwards into the waters - the spirit of the mighty waters. I am reminded of the passage in Genesis which speaks of how God, after creating the world, on the seventh day he cast his eye on all that he created, saw the light upon the water and was pleased with all that he had created and rested.

The process of illuminating the dark is a creative process and requires us to be still.

We speak of transformative milestones with such ease. How many times have you been told that you should and could forgive but it is not in your heart to do this? Or that unconditional love is lacking from your repertoire yet you throw conditions on all that you love because you are uncertain what it means to be love unconditionally. None of these things happen overnight; they are pathways and require patience and forbearing to make headway. Stillness is one of those paths.

The Hanged Man is a symbol of the necessary death of the old ego that encourages us to cling to an outmoded identity.

He asks us to go in search of a more complete knowledge of self. He tells us that growth is an inevitability of life and acknowledgement of personal growth is a way forward into compassion and wisdom.

The mystical archetype that is the Hanged Man is seeking his full potential and much of that resides in the dark recesses of our inner being.

When the Hanged Man appears, our attention is brought to our inner landscape and the challenges and confrontations that lie ahead as we change the contours of that landscape.

It is important that we don’t deny responsibility for our actions or habits; that we don’t disrupt others or steer a path where we will be out of control and unmanageable.

Our spiritual awareness depends on an acknowledgement of our psychic and spiritual experiences that are not tainted by the dependency on alcohol or drugs or artificial awakenings. Our entry to illumination is not through the back door but by the grand gateway of our own temple.

The path of stillness leads us there.


1. What is outmoded?
2. How do I let it go?
3. What do I need to be aware of?
4. What is my next step?
5. What is understood?
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