Hung Up: The Lessons of the Hanged Man

I’m posting this a little late, but I’d still like to note my observation. From Lammas (August 5) through last week, basically the Mercury Retrograde Pre-Shadow and Shadow Periods through the beginning of Mercury Retrograde, the Hanged Man archetype was everywhere. I got it in my readings for myself and others. I saw it coming up on other’s card a day draws online a lot too. And even the Man at Burning Man got stuck upside down, bringing the card into a giant, literal real life context. Everything felt suspended, like the Hanged Man.
The Hanged Man is going through the process of waiting for several reasons.
1) He is looking at things from a differ perspective.

2)From changing his perspective he will sacrifice something.

3) From this sacrifice he will receive a gift.

I’ve noticed a shift recently in the Spiritual Growth community. The trend of 110% positive thinking, acting and doing is over. People are starting to realize that they actually aren’t allergic to being real. I’m sure there’s still white girl “yogis” out there that turn into inorganic snack foods if they hear anything “negative”, but for the most part, people are getting real and I like this.
Because the whole point of spiritual growth and enlightenment involves sacrifice. You can read every Deepak Chopra book out there but if you turn tail and run every time shit gets real, you’ll just find yourself back where you started. There is a fear of negativity because they fear loss. And at the core of it, that is a fear of death. In our modern, instant everything age, everything is so disposable — from electronics to friendships to spirituality– people have forgotten that the biggest lesson of love is to embrace without selfish attachment. People are afraid of loss, so our prepackaged world remains shallow. 

Loss is part of the journey. It’s the meaning of sacrifice. It’s giving up something you love in the name of the higher good — what’s good for you, the people around you and even the entire world. It’s loving something so much you let it go because there is a lesson to be learned in the sacrifice.

For instance: many people say they want change. They want to heal the environment. They say things like “Down with the evil oil companies!” But they don’t make an attempt to drive less or give up their cars altogether. How can we break an oil dependency by not distancing ourselves from cars and plastic? We can’t. A sacrifice must be made.

I lived in Japan for a few years and learned a little bit about Buddhism. A lot of Westerns claim they practice Buddhist philosophies of self sacrifice but they miss the whole point. They refuse to confront problems instead of facing their fears because fear itself is an attachment. Feae and pain give us special opportunities for growth. Like a Buddhist monk undergoing a test of meditating under a freezing cold waterfall, you sit under that waterfall no matter how cold and uncomfortable you are and you stay there until you gain the understanding you’re seeking. You forget the pain by feeling, accepting, knowing and becoming the pain. You embrace it, experience it and let it go. You can’t skip the confrontation.  It doesn’t work like that.
The energy has shifted now. For those of us who confronted the shadow, we are graced with new understanding. But if you’re still hanging upside down, don’t worry. Stare down that trial and realize that all your struggling doesn’t accomplish anything. Be quiet and listen to the message of the hanged man.


Actually, my trusty Tarot app drew a very insightful card combo for me. The cards are The Fool, Temperance and the Knight of Cups. The dialogue between the images is pretty  profound. Temperance in the middle offers 2 Cups. The choice to move forward is on the right. The Knight of Cups in the future position moves into the future with the lessons (s)he learned. The Fool on the left hand side, however, is literally jumping back into the past. He doesn’t even know that he has a Cup in his knapsack much less does he care what lessons he can learn. He’s glib, shallow and ignorant. He says he wants adventure and change but does he really? Probably not. It’s all just pretty words and ideals to him. He’s decided he’s not ready to undertake the task of understanding.

And so with one more week of Mercury Retrograde left, I ask you, after you return to the upright position, which cup will you take? The Knight’s or the Fool’s?

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