We discussed Card 12 of the Major Arcana in a tarot class last week. As with any deep study of a card, we looked at it from a number of different perspectives. That is a particularly funny statement to make about the Hanged Man, though, because the Hanged Man is all about perspective.
Hung upside-down, in an obviously uncomfortable position, the Hanged Man shows no signs of distress. His calm demeanor and his halo remind us that in this uncomfortable state, he has reached a place of enlightenment.
That’s a valuable lesson. Often, when seen from the right perspective, discomfort can bring enlightenment. Often, to turn your world upside-down is a way to change your perspective.
The Hanged Man can also be about waiting, about life in suspension, and about surrendering control. It is the card of yoga, and of the 12-Step program.
One student asked me to explain how the key word “sacrifice” applied to the Hanged Man. I know it is a traditional key word, but not one I had really thought about.
Sometimes, though, the uncomfortable positions we assume are a karmic sacrifice. Sometimes we put ourselves in difficult positions particularly to help another person.
Sometimes, as with a 12-Step program, we are sacrificing a bad habit. Always, we are sacrificing our freedom, and our comfort, in order to receive enlightenment.