The Story of The Hanged Man

As if shrouded in a cumbersome velvet wrap, she walks heavily up the staircase. She thinks ‘cloaking’ an apt word for the Hanged Man; perhaps he uses a cloaking device, a muffler against the world to protect him from pain. She goes too far, however, and has not yet reached the door, still weighed down by the soft tiredness that is a dead weight on her shoulders; she struggles to get to the entrance to the portal, finally escaping the velvety shroud, and slips silently through the silvery silken sheen into a mysterious misty landscape.

Walking tentatively into the swirling fog, she quickly realises that she can see nothing, that she is sightless, but that she seems to be possessed of a different kind of vision that operates like a movie in her mind. Swirling clouds of green and grey, shifting shapes and shadows pass across the screen behind her eyes, whilst far off voices, shout and scream, echoing around her like a flock of lost tortured souls.

It is as if she is standing on some ancient battlefield, listening to the cries of soldiers and horses long since buried in a time that has been lost. The clashing of steel swords sounds very close all of a sudden, as if the soldiers will suddenly appear out of the gloom, and the lack of clear vision and the violence of the noise overwhelms her. Feeling disorientated, alone, and incredibly helpless, she sinks down into the hollow in the ground that she is standing in, and wonders what is to become of her.

Sitting in the damp, wondering what will happen next, she is horrified to feel something slowly moving beneath her, a creeping writhing sensation that means that something alive is underneath her, and then in the calmness of the vision, but also with revulsion, she discovers that the moving things are beasts indeed.

Shining black snakes are emerging from somewhere in the shallow dip in which she is huddled, slowly covering her in their deceptively dry and scaly coils, winding sensuously around her body, until the weirdly hypnotic motion of the animals begins to relax her, and eventually she is lulled into some kind of hypnotic trance. Lying motionless, she watches as the snakes cover more and more of her body, and eventually, just as they are beginning to reach her head, she falls into a dream filled sleep.

In her dream within a dream, she is hanging upside down, in suspended animation, sacrificial inversion, call it what you will, but she is hanging upside down. All the fluid in her body has drained down into her head, which becomes to all intents and purposes, an alembic for some alchemical process. The water of her emotions flows into her mind, feeding the thoughts that are harboured there, washing and cleansing them, allowing them to become more in harmony with her emotional state. She has become a vessel for an alchemical process, where the muck and dirt of an un-lived life, dissolves into the purity of water to form the Prima Materia that will rise to live in a new form; she is the Solutio.

When she wakes, it is still dark, and there is a heavy silence around her. The sounds of distant fighting have stopped and there is no more clashing of swords or shouting just out of reach, in fact she can hear nothing at all. Her vision seems to have returned, for she can see that the mist has cleared, and that the sky twinkles with stars; nearby, she sees that there is a large oak tree ahead of her.  

The first subtle hints of light are beginning to break through the eastern skies and she walks over to the oak, inspecting the rough scaly bark of its trunk. Running her hands over the surface of the tree, she finds deep lines carved into the wood, that look like an old alchemical text, pictures showing images of the Hanged Man & The Emperor, with Lust in between. She is unsure of the meaning of this triptych, a mystery to meditate on in the future perhaps, but looking up once more into the lightening sky, she realises that it is time to go

One by one the numberless stars lose their light, and the arch of the heavens is painted by a new artist. Azure light chases away the fleeting shadows of night, dressing the glorious heavens in a cloak of shimmering fire. Gilded shafts of burning gold, herald the rising sun, molten and heavy, climbing over the dark hills, a bright beginning, a perfect birth, a new day.

Frustration binds you, as the old tested methods of achievement fail, and you might need to look at things from a totally different perspective to find your way out of this muddle. Pushing will not help, so take a back seat, regardless of how irritating this may feel, and allow time to pass; solutions will come in their own time, and may be found in the unlikeliest of places, it is the only thing you can do.

The Hanged Man- The Oracle of Change

XII The Hanged Man
The Spirit of the Mighty Waters
The Elemental Trump of Water
Also Associated with Neptune

Images of The Hanged Man

Tricia Newell from The Mythic Tarot

The Hanged Man from The Oracle of Change by Aia Leu

The Hanged Man from the Crowley/Harris Tarot


Joanna Grant. D.F.Astrol.S

My name is Joanna Grant, I am an Astrologer, Tarot Reader and Writer, who lives on the beautiful Beara Peninsula in the South West of Ireland. I can often be found at home, deep in arcane research, or practicing some new form of divination whilst burning the dinner! My children probably wish that I was “normal” but may well remember my eccentricities fondly when they come to face the challenges of their own paths. My long knowledge of Astrology leads and informs my practice, in offering guidance, empowerment and healing, helping others to lead a more authentic and magical life. You can read more about me here.

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