The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed

The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana XII

The Hanged Man Tarot Card Keywords:

Upright: Obedient, delay, visions, mysticism, waiting, overcoming, disinterest, calm, confusion, transition, sacrifices.

Reverse: Stagnation, pause, defeat, unfulfilled promises, breaks, denial.

The card of the Hanged Man is number 12 of the tarot deck and is part of the 22 Major Arcana set. Like the rest of the 78 cards, it has a different meaning when appearing “Upright” or “Reversed.”

The Hanging symbolizes the presence of challenging situations or that require a high capacity for adaptation. It represents the altruistic person, willing to sacrifice himself for the common good, and who is faithful to his principles, even when they impede his freedom of action.

Also, it indicates a change of perspective, a decision or action that will give a turn to the current situation, and a change of fortune. Its qualities are mental agility, dedication, altruism, mysticism, wisdom, and clairvoyance. Also, it symbolizes premonitory dreams, initiation, rebirth, growth, and fertility.

The reversed position indicates a materialistic person, shallow and frustrated, the stagnation in emotional situations, dependence or challenging to break bonds. It can also suggest an inner struggle that ends in defeat, projects that won’t thrive, and obstacles in the foreseeable future.

Read on to discover the Hanged Man Tarot card meanings in the upright and reversed positions in terms of love, health, work and money.

Description of the Hanged Man Tarot Card

The Hanged Man has his hands tied behind his back, and his right leg is placed behind the other. A halo of illumination surrounds his head, signalling that a divinity force has manifested changing his believes.

The Hanged Man, or the Sacrifice of the Victim, also called “Prudence” in old tarot decks, represents: the expiation suffered or needed, the renunciation, the change of mental schemes, and a pause to rethink our path.

The mental slavery, and the liberating awakening, freeing himself of all kinds of chains: guilty thoughts, remorse feelings, apathy, and the diseases that ones own negligence brings. All these are situations related to the Hanged Man tarot card.

At first glance, this card brings misfortune and total impotence. It presents us with such an uncomfortable situation that our first instinct in accommodating it is to turn the poor man and release him from his torment.

Going beyond appearances, as should always be done when reading Tarot, can we consider that this man suffers? His facial expression of absolute normality and contemplation tell a different story. It seems that we are experiencing more pain by seeing him depicted this way, in fact, the image portrays a moment of illumination or joy due to his pose, similar to that of a dancer performing a pas de bourree, but there is a small detail: a little rope keeps it inverted, hanging literally from a thread.

With a distorted worldview, the Hanged man symbolizes every man who, absorbed by a passion, subjected in body and soul to the tyranny of an idea or feeling, isn’t aware of his slavery.

Every human being dominated by a mental habit resembles the picture of the Hanged Man. In the same way, every man dominated by a moral judgment belongs to the category of people who aren’t free, tied head down for his prejudices.

But the symbol of the Hanged man also leads to another observation. Its apparent inactivity indicates an absolute submission that assures a higher spiritual power: the regeneration that will occur during his next step: death, card XIII of the tarot.

The necessary sacrifice: The Hanged Man, an upside down world vision

Between the internal fight against the instinctive forces, and our animal aspects, versus the reason, that we encounter in the Strength Trump, and the renewing life energy that forces us to remain in a constant change of the Death Trump, we find ourselves with an uncomfortable pause: The Hanged Man.

This card, related to sacrifice is also a wake-up call to rethink our beliefs and ideas. What drove our hero to this terrible torment? Why, and by whom was he Hanged? Well, a psychoanalyst would say that by himself: Unconsciously he traced that destiny.

Is it the man or the World he lives in that is upside down? Everything seems to indicate that it is he who, literally hanging by a thread, is in need to change his perspective. His heart and feelings have come to occupy a preponderant place concerning reason that lies beneath, feeling the worst of martyrdoms, an avalanche of blood, and life galloping toward the head, almost until it makes him burst.

Perhaps it is a voluntary sacrifice, maybe it has taken place, and responsibilities that don’t correspond to him. Maybe the pause he makes is only a break to wait for better times, perhaps he’s forced to live in this situation “sacrificing” himself, and does nothing to defend himself.

What we know for sure is that the protagonist of the Hanged Man Tarot Card, is between life and death, literally, and we are about to know who wins this fight.

However, pauses and recovery times are mandatory in life. Everything in nature has a time according to the divine plan, and we must learn to wait. The hanging is an invitation to understand what’s stopping us, but also a lesson of patience.

How to interpret the symbolic world of the Hanged Man Trump

The Hanged Man is one of the most mysterious cards of the Tarot. It attracts, but also disturbs the mind, contradicting itself in different ways. The Hanged Man is destabilizing because he symbolizes our lives.

The main lesson of Hanged Man is “let it go.” As long as you remain tied to a feeling, fixed idea or creed, in a firm way, you will stay like him. Unable to see the world as it is, the Hanged will gain much more by letting things flow, ceasing to resist the inevitable (as we’ll study in Death, the next card), and allowing life to teach us to accept the things as they are.

The Hanged Man invites us to observe our complexes, the inhibitions that keep us frightened, and in a state of servitude. We don’t have to keep playing the role of the victim, doing nothing, and, therefore, not developing our potential. It represents passivity. In a way, he’s like a weather-cock. As the wind blows, he swings according to moments and opinions.

The spiritual message of the Hanged Man is quite clear; he’s here to make us uncomfortable, and ask us what we are willing to sacrifice to progress in life.

Upright Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning:

Upright Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana XII
Upright Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning

When The Hanged Man Tarot card comes out in a spread it puts us at a crossroads. We must decide to move away from passivity, and above all to be firm in it. It can symbolize that you have to leave a relationship, a job, or an idealistic vision.

The Hanged Man also makes us wonder what we’re willing to sacrifice to progress in life. We must leave harmful or toxic relations, not let ourselves be influenced by the opinion or pressure of third parties, and also stop playing the role of a martyr, which leaves us stagnant.

Whether it is an environment where gossip stops the energy flow, or you’re letting yourself be carried away by others opinions, the role of a martyr can only be exercised for a specific time. Then the sequels will appear in your psychic life, in your health, and in the exhaustion of the few personal bonds that you have managed to sustain.

If the Hanged Man comes up when consulting the tarot questions for a person, he lacks free will and independence to get things done, and at this time cannot do anything or make decisions on their own. Perhaps an emotional, monetary or familiar circumstance is the origin of his lack of definition. It also talks about faithful people, friends, willing to give help and sacrifice for their loved ones.

If you ask about the progress of projects or situations, well, let’s say it won’t occur as soon as you expected, it’s time to wait and see.

For all people who are characterized by being profoundly influenced or fickle, the Hanged Man spiritual message tells them: don’t be a weathervane, don’t let yourself be carried away by every breeze that knocks on your door, because if you don’t set a course, you will end up lost.

The meaning of the Upright Hanged Man Trump when it comes to:


He talks about an ambiguous relationship, in which they don’t know where the relationship is going. It comes with bad news because it denotes that the relationship is passionless and that maybe the best thing for both to do is going separate ways.


State of neglect, you are not taking care of yourself. Depression originated from low self-esteem and the little respect you have for yourself. It would be a good idea to go for a medical check-up and start doing exercise. Take action.


Lack of motivation at work, apathy, disinterest. You are feeling under-appreciated in the office. It’s time for you to give more importance to your achievements.


By taking the right actions everything will turn out as you expected, so it’s time to give back and donate to charities.

Reversed Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning:

Reversed Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning (Inverted) – Major Arcana XII
Reversed Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning (Inverted)

Now, if the card of the Hanging appears reversed, the sense of the altruistic, and sacrificed vision of the Hanged Man person changes, and we encounter with a selfish, foolish person who expects everything to be done according to his criteria. It’s his way or the highway.

The reversed Hanged Man Tarot card makes you feel that you are exempt from making a decision, with the hope that everything will solve itself over time. However, this is often just an illusion. You may have felt that things are at an absolute standstill, without any movement or resolution. But that suspension is not coming from outside but from your inability to step forward and get things done. It is as if you were suspended in time, and you cannot move forward, backward or sideways to get out of your current situation.

What happens is that you’re merely lengthening the inevitable. At some point, you will be forced to make a final decision and a sacrifice during the process. Your own goals and dreams are put on hold due to external realities or internal problems.

This outer energy will make things start happening, and necessary changes to occur. This period of suspension is like a catalyst for what is to come.

Associating this card with relationships indicates that love has been suspended, and that you’re willing to wait, to some extent. You realize that this relationship will evolve, and that, due to its complexity, it cannot be rushed.

However, you don’t want to be “on hold” forever, and you recognize that there will come a time to make a decision about your current relationship. This means that intentional waiting could have positive results, but it’s mandatory to establish some limits. Waiting forever isn’t fair to you, isn’t good for any healthy relationship, and might indicate this love isn’t probably the right one for you.

The meaning of the Inverted Hanged Man Trump when it comes to:


Very significant, although short, love relationships that will leave a mark. It also indicates that a woman could be having a strong influence in your love life. Take her advice.


The inverted Hanged Man refers to some imprudence that could lead to health problems, accidents or even death depending on the following cards that shows up in the spread.


Moment of rethinking jobs, careers, and projects. Dismissal or job changes.


Ruin or money loss. Don’t invest.

Look Down

The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning Upright & Reversed
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The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning Upright & Reversed
The Hanged Man Tarot card is number 12 of the Tarot deck and is part of the 22 Major Arcana set. Read on to discover the Hanged Man card meanings in the upright and reversed positions in terms of love, health, work and money. It may symbolize the presence of some challenging situations.
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