9 October 18: The Hanged Man

Hamstrung. This is one of the weirdest cards to me, Number 12 of the Major Arcana, The Hanged Man. A human hangs upside down from a tree by a bit of rope tied to one ankle. There is a lot of mythology in the tree alone, linking heaven to the Underworld, but on the Morgan-Greer image it is not a tree but a scaffolding made from two dead trees with a pole stretched between them from which he hangs gracefully. He may have even built the structure himself. His face is serene, and he holds his hands clasped behind his back, one knee bent forming a triangle shape with his legs. Aerial yoga. He’s simply looking at the world from another point of view. Yogis assume the Sarasana pose – standing on your head – when they want to see the world from a different point of view  and stimulate the brain.

From above, he looks right side up. This is a card of surrender, no doubt, to a higher power which could be God or the Universe or the weather, but it’s as if the rope were a puppet string controlled by an unseen hand from above and we’re not in control right now. This card is unique in that when the card is right side up our human is upside down, meaning that’s exactly where he’s supposed to be at this juncture. To everyone else it looks pretty strange but this ‘suspension’ is necessary right now.

Neptune, the Patron Saint of the Hanged Man, loves all things foggy and weird and wobbly and wavy and misty and mystic, like the gray wall of fog we see behind the hanging man. Neptune also loves art and music, and this dedicated and passionate (the red pants give him away) artist is sacrificing all for his art. When he finally does come back down he will have created (1+2=3, the number of Creation) something divinely inspired, as did the Norse God Odin, who after having hung himself upside down for nine nights in the World Tree, the one that grew up from the center of the flat Earth, was granted the wisdom to create the Runes.

This is basically being ‘hamstrung’ for some reason, sometimes even literally. An accident victim in traction who came out of his coma declaring he’d had a revelation and was never the same, it changed his life. That’s obviously an extreme example, but the epiphany is the same. The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, an invalid for much of her life, affixed a mirror to the canopy of her sickbed and created her beautiful and complicated self-portraits, considered some of the world’s greatest works of art.

This is delay, but a productive one in some way. Worth the wait, worth the ‘hangup.’ Be patient. This isn’t the time to move, that’s all. You may be having to wait on something or someone else before you can do much of anything anyway.

Or, a psychologist is giving you another perspective on your own ‘hangups’.

Which is Major.