Hanging Man


Oil on canvas

The Hanging Man is one of the important cards in a Tarot deck. Every Tarot deck has 4 suits just like a deck of playing cards. In addition to that it has 13 more cards that are called the Major Arcana. They can roughly be thought of as Jungian archetypes.

This Major Arcana generally features a man hanging upside down from one leg with the other leg crossed in this particular way with his arms folded behind him as shown here. Under his head are usually a group of stones with secret symbols on them.


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It is generally understood that choosing this card indicates that one must delve deep into one’s unconscious in order to be able to see something that is ordinarily hidden and secretive but which nevertheless has some significance for you. Usually there is some hardship required to be able to see and decipher these messages. One has to literally turn oneself upside down in order to see the messages. Another way to state this would be to say that one sometimes needs a fresh perspective to be able to know how to resolve a problem or go forward.

The unique position comes from a long tradition similar to yoga where it is believed that placing our body in certain positions isn’t just a good stretch for our muscles and tendons but has some affect on our sense of well being. There is some scientific evidence now that suggests these ancient positions do indeed stimulate the brain to produce more hormones such as serotonin that really do affect our sense of well being, relieve pain and even stimulate regenerative health.

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