Tarot Post – Hanged Man


XII-The Hanged Man(▽) (♆)


The Hanged Man (F)The Hanged Man by G A Rosenberg


For my beloved
I hang down sacrificing
myself to myself


Feeling my heart open
feeling my wounds bleed
My soul spilling out
of view and precious need
to reveal what’s inside
That spark of truth
that separates bifurcates
my age from my youth
I lied to myself
so easily when young
living my parents’ lives
the songs my culture sung
Now in reflection
I see myself true
must reach inside
and pull myself through
In view of my future
I dissolve my past
until I am finished
I struggle held fast
Now I am living
my own inner truth
I no longer need
the protections of youth
— Gary A Rosenberg


Reviewing my life
from a new perspective
wondering how i came to be here
hanging around but tied in place
unable to move
yet my mind dances
as I see new possibilities
now that I’ve met my true love’s heart
struggling with the ties from my past
unable to move
Revealing my self
and letting my self know
becoming the person I never knew
dissolving my being yet i find myself
unable to move
Letting my self go
to brand new places
I now am moving towards that star
I’ve feed myself through loves depths. Now
I’m able to move


The Hanged Man is one of the most powerful images in the Major Arcana. In Norse mythology, Odin hung upside down from the world tree for nine days and nights in order to achieve wisdom and received the runes as a reward. In Christian lore, Peter insisted on being crucified upside down because he didn’t feel he was worthy of dying the same way as Jesus. The Hanged Man implies sacrifice of the self to become something more. In many religions there is the idea of the sacrificed deity that brings about the redemption of his followers.
What does sacrifice mean? It means giving up something to achieve something more. In this case we give up something of ourselves to reach some kind of understanding.
If the Lovers represented the first meeting of the opposites in a relationship, then the Hanged Man represents the knowledge that in the relationship we must be willing to sacrifice who we are to join with our beloved and become something more. The ‘I’ must give way to the ‘We’. If the Lovers represents leaving home and building a life outside of the society we grew up in, the Hanged Man takes it to a deeper level where we must examine our internal values and determine which of them come from cultural conditioning and which are truly part of ourselves. In order to become who we truly are and who we are meant to be, we must be willing to sacrifice who we were. The self reflected in the water symbolizes the image of who we could be if our external self and life truly reflected the internal. Thus in many ways it is the realization of a need to change which leads to the path of enlightenment.


Astrological Correspondent-Water(▽) Planet Neptune (♆)-The Hanged Man like The Fool and Judgement (or Aeon) cards have a double astrological attribute, a planetary one and an elemental one. One of the reasons for this is that in the hebrew alphabet (used on the tree of life) the letters are split into three groups. These are the three Mother letters (Aleph, Mem, and Shin which represent the elements Air, Water and Fire), Seven Double letters (Beth, Gimel, Dalet, Koph, Peh, Resh and Tau which represent the seven known planets Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun and Earth) and twelve Simple letters which represent the 12 signs of the zodiac. It all works rather nicely. However since these assignations were made three more planets were discovered in our solar system Uranus (who’s astrological nature fits well with Air), Neptune (a planet with a decidedly Watery nature and influence) and Pluto (a fiery influence). Some readers, deck designers and students of the tarot have connected the three planets with the three elemental cards. Since there is such a close fit and examination of any correlation can bring insight I include both possible influences in this writing.
Neptune’s influence is dreamy and illusory and governs among other things, insight and awareness that comes from a state of heightened or altered consciousness. This can be double-edged resulting in transformative experiences but also in its more negative form can lead to addiction and hitting the well too many times with little to show for it. Neptune influences our spirituality and beliefs and our intuition. Its important to develop the discernment to know the difference between when our intuition and heightened states reveal truth and when it reveals a message that is personal to our own development. Neptune also influences psychic receptivity and visions.
Water is the elementary influence over the signs, Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Water has an emotional, sensitive influence with hidden depths and currents. It can be dreamy and moody, compassionate or brooding, empathetic or self-indulgent all in its cycle. It flows into everything around it and can be boiled by fire (or extinguish it), damned by earth (or interdependently nurturing towards it) and dispersed or interwoven by air.


Runic Correspondent-Eihwaz (“Yew”) Eihwaz-100x100Eihwaz is the rune of sacrifice and the connection between the material and spiritual worlds. It offers enlightenment and insight and the knowledge of ‘dying before dying’. The resin from the yew is poisonous and its vapours tho toxic can cause a hallucinatory state. Eihwaz also represents the World Tree that Odin hung himself upside down on to receive the wisdom of the runes. It is a rune of initiation, protection or confusion. The Yew tree is flexible and it bends but does not break. Other runes associated with the Hanged Man are Tiwaz and Isa


Path on the Tree of Life-Path 23-Mem-Mem means water or seas. It is the path of the water redeemer (esp in the Aeon of Osiris) and the sustainer on the water. It is the path of surrender and is called in the Sefer Yetzirah the sustaining consciousness. It is the path that connects the sephiroth of Geburah (“severity”) with Hod (“Splendour”). It is spoken of often in terms of enlightenment and indeed it takes the discipline of Geburah to take us beyond the intellectual understanding of Hod and bring the kindling of Wisdom. It also takes a willingness to surrender who and what we are for who and what we may become.


The Hanged Man in a reading may indicate someone who is very independent with a unique take on the world. It may refer to someone who is breaking free of old conventional ways of being and becoming themselves. The Hanged Man can also mean that there is a delay and hold up in plans and the querent may need to reflect on whether what they are hoping for is really true to themselves or not. It may also indicate a transformative relationship for the querent where they will have to surrender a bit of how they see themselves in order to make the relationship work. This does not mean becoming someone who they are not but more a realization of how by bending they may become something more than they had known. The Hanged Man may also mean that the querent has to sacrifice something in order to get another thing that they want. In all of these cases there is a vulnerability but also an opportunity for growth if one is willing to stretch and bend. The card can also represent delayed rather than instant gratification or a surrendering of momentary pleasure for joy.


When the Hanged Man comes out reversed in a reading, it may indicate someone who is conforming to social expectations rather than living their more unconventional dreams. It may refer to inflexibility or moving forwards. It may also refer to the querent feeling as if they are sacrificing a lot and having nothing to show for it. It may mean a time in the querent’s life when they are reacting passively, waiting for life to happen rather than making it happen especially if they have to give up the comfort of their everyday life to do so. The inversed Hanged Man may also mean that someone is dwelling in the shallow end of their life and needs to find a deeper purpose.

Venting My Liver

“Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.”
― Peter S. Beagle


That’s right. If we define magic as the ability to make changes according to will, then the only way to effect change is to know and understand (grock in fullness) whatever it is we wish to change. If we wish to make changes in ourselves than we must be willing to tear ourselves open and examine what’s inside. Of course the very act of understanding ourselves to that extent will cause changes so that the live we get back is never quite the liver we offer (metaphorically speaking anyway). Understanding, transformation, consequence and balance are each steps in performing any kind of magic whether ritual or psychological.
Blessings, G


Click on images to see full-sized:


She Lives in Multiple WorldsShe Lives in Multiple Worlds by G A Rosenberg


ProtoplasmProtoplasm by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – Spetember 26 2012

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”
― David Foster Wallace

The question comes for me is how to balance that freedom of responsibility where so much attention, awareness, discipline and effort are needed, freedom of the self, time to meditate, create, and integrate.  It always strikes me that the answer will probably be more easy than I make it. I seem as capable as most people I know at overcomplicating things but somewhere that balance exists. I believe it is probably different for each person.
Blessings, G


Click on image to see full-size
Purple Lazer Mandala by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – September 25 2012

“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”
― Mitch Albom

Sometimes you have to take time out from things in order to become re-centred inside yourself. This blog has been ongoing for the last four years and I have gone 15 months without missing a night, something I may take what may be an inordinate amount of pride in. I seem to be hitting a crossroads tho where I need to find a new balance. The balance may mean some time away from Waking Spirals. Definitely a little less focus here and a lot less on Facebook. More time spent meditating and figuring out some next steps. Also literally putting my house in order. Perhaps the streak will continue and I will have more art, stories and just talk to share. Here’s to balance.
Blessings, G

Click on images to see full-size

Sacrificial Totem by G A Rosenberg

Emerald Chamber by G A Rosenberg

Quote(s) of the Day – April 19 2012

THese quotes all seem to belong together and they all relate to my thought processes over the last couple of days:

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”
― Hannah Arendt

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
–Martin Luther King Jr.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
— Edmund Burke

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do”
— Voltaire

Yesterday I rectified for basic first-aid. I need to do that every three years in order to have our foster daughter living here. It’s fairly interesting and I always end the day wishing I knew a bit more. Each time I take the course (this was my third) the teachers tend to emphasize different things based on the changing course requirements and whatever regulations had been passed in the last few years and to some extent the teacher’s personality. Yesterday the thing that the teacher emphasized the most was protecting ourselves not only against liability but against any risk. She kept saying that a first aider had to put their needs above those of the people we are supposed to be helping. This troubled me a bit and seems to speak to an ingrained selfishness in our culture. Now I can understand minimizing risk but not the spin that was put on it. If it means I can save lives or help isn’t that worth some risk?

Transcript of a conversation on Facebook with my friend Vajra :

Vajra Krishna: How do we open the way for compassion in others?

First step is always opening them up to step into other people’s shoes….
Many people only empathize with the suffering of others… so to them, there is the victim, and the perpetrator.
The victim and the evildoer.
They empathize with the victim, but not the evildoer, so in that case, it is about opening them up to step into the shoes of the evildoer.
Because otherwise the “good and evil” dichotomy again becomes a stereotype.
Most people are too afraid (for one reason or another) to empathize with the evildoer, and that is one of the big challenges… to learn to step into their shoes and have compassion for them too.

Gary Johannes-Rosenberg: Do you feel that perhaps we fear that once we empathize with the evildoer we may find we like it?
‎”There but for grace go I” has more than one connotation for sure

Vajra Krishna: Some reasons for being afraid to empathize with the evildoer;
1. It is a place of darkness… murky, desolate, alienating, lonely… all the shadowy corners of our own selves come to surface…
2. The fear of desiring power and control. Of abusing power. We have all done it in life, and we didn’t like that part of ourselves very much.
(If you take an example such as George Bush and why he would be comfortable with abusing power, it is because in a sense he is indoctrinated OUTSIDE of the social norm by his family tradition. Many rulers are conditioned to believe that mind-controlling people is simply for their own good.
But another example is a person who has risen to power by his own efforts – such a person often has the pressure to conform or perish. That is, conform to the ways of the elite, or lose his power. Such a person conditions himself or herself to believe that “playing their game” is a necessary process.
Then there is the clear example of Hitler. He also rose to power, but he is a sociopath. In that sense, I suppose it is important to even step into the shoes of a sociopath… that is a frightening ordeal because what makes a sociopath function is the inability to forgive, and a “state of mind” that doesn’t forgive is a painful state to be in… a hardened heart… it is not easy to step into such an uncomfortable state.)
3. As you said, being afraid that we might actually like it. We are all too aware of how there is a thin veil between the socially accepted norm of “good behavior” and our own indulgences. Many don’t like to look too deep into that.

Gary Johannes-Rosenberg:

I would add
4. Sometimes when we empathize with those whom we have perceived as evil, we start perceiving ourselves as the real evildoers and realize that what looked like an insurmountable border was really the mirror’s edge

Vajra Krishna:  This brings up something else for me –

Question 2: Is it possible to know someone better than they know themselves? If so, how?
There is tremendous misconception surrounding this. No, people DO NOT KNOW THEMSELVES. This is a fact.
They would like to believe that they know themselves… but here’s the thing:
They are largely unaware of why they feel depressed for no reason at times, unaware of the way advertising functions to entice hidden desires (‘hidden’ being the key word – and this was clearly established by Sigmund Freud and shown to actually work in getting people to do what you want, buy what you want, by transcending their conscious state and making suggestions to their unconscious).
How many people do you know who really try to look into this stuff?
Instead, people know what flavor of ice cream they like, they know when and in what situation they get angry, they know what situations melt their heart (to a point, usually this stuff surprises even them), they know which qualities they value, and for what reason… then they think that means that they actually KNOW THEMSELVES.
It’s bullshit, pure and simple.
“To thine own self be true” but first, KNOW THYSELF. This has been said over the ages, and now it gets lipservice.
The reality of the situation is that anyone who has stiven to know himself will also know the inner motives of the MASS POPULATION, as well as the individuals he meets in general, better than they know themselves simply because they have not made that introspection.That is also uncomfortable to accept. People’s usual argument against this is that we are all different.
We are also all HUMAN, and that has an essential nature that requires DISCOVERY.

Gary Johannes-Rosenberg: ‎”This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
— William Shakespeare
Obviously WS agrees with you that once you know yourself, can be true to yourself then you can know others as well

Vajra Krishna And it stands to reason, for one who seeks himself, there are no strangers.

Gary Johannes-Rosenberg“Of every hue and caste am I, of every rank and religion”
–Walt Whitman

Click on image to see full-size

Green-Space Mandala by G A Rosenberg