Afternoon Tarot: RWS 12

Just Hang Out

From Roman, to Norse, to Egyptian, to Christianity – a lot of religions have a story of self-sacrifice of some kind. Given that it’s a tree the man is hanging from it really reminds me of Odin’s self-sacrifice in order to gain the knowledge of runes and pass that onto humanity.

It’s important to note that The Hanged Man is depicted in such a way that he could easily get himself down. But that’s not what is needed nor wanted and so he stays.

It’s not an act of laziness, nor is it avoiding responsibilities. This is the stillness needed to collect one’s thoughts, options, requirements, etc. This is the lack of action before exploding into action. If you’re a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is King Bumi’s Neutral Jing. There’s a time to conserve your energy and there’s a time to strike.

The Hanged Man is also a reminder not to rush to a decision. Oftentimes when life is going sideways we want to find something, or someone, to blame. Maybe a job change with “fix” everything, or a relationship change, a location change, etc. The honest answer is that there’s rarely ever a single-action-fix to things with life seems to be coming at you from every angle.

Sit. Breathe. Let the dust settle. You, and the world, will be fine if you just take a moment and stop. Once you’ve got all the details sorted out and you’ve had a moment to calm the emotions that helped kick up that dust, the conclusion you come to is likely to be very different from what you thought it needed to be.


Time to come down off the tree and move. You’ve got your ducks in a row and it’s time to get moving. It’s important though, to move with clarity – planting your feet and redirecting blame toward another source is something the inverted hanged man could be warning you against.

We’re all human, and it’s hard to accept you’re wrong about a thing and that you’re what needs to change, but it doesn’t make you less. Being able to identify and grow from your shortcomings is the pinnacle of humanity.

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