Exploring The Hanged Man

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring The Hanged Man and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.

Introduction of the Card


The Hanged Man is card number 12 in the deck and the thirteenth card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.

Card Examples

L-12Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.

My Analysis of These Cards

In all of these cards, the only one that I know of that isn’t there of his own free will is the man in the Mythic Tarot.

I forget his name, but I know Zeus put him there as punishment and a bird comes each day to eat his liver. His liver grows back by the end of the day. It’s a pretty gruesome story and I can’t even remember what it was he done that made Zeus so angry or for how long he ended up being there. I just know that he was put there to reflect upon what he had done.

Both the dragon in the Dragon Tarot and the man in the Universal Tarot appear to be very relaxed. They both seem to be in meditative states, which suggests to me they chose to me there.

The Tarot of Dreams card is truly fascinating here because the man isn’t attached or connected to anything as he’s hanging upside down. He’s suspended in air entirely on his own beneath some gears. The twin beams of light from his hands suggests this is something he’s doing of his own power and ability.

Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:


You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:


You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

What this Card Means to Me

This card is a bit complex to explain outside of the concepts of Christianity in which I understand it. Growing up as a Latter-Day Saint, I was often told that we needed to be willing to hand it up over to God often. It was a concept I had a hard time wrapping my head around – until I had children.

And then my children weren’t neurotypical children on top of that. And then come to find out, I’m not neurotypical either. Suddenly I started to figure out what this card meant the hard way.

It means giving up the little things to reach a greater, more important goal. Waking up an hour earlier every morning? It’s a painful sacrifice for me, but one that makes getting ready for the day run smoother and going to bed at night easier.

It’s about doing everything you can do and then letting the rest go – which sometimes for me is insanely hard. It’s about being comfortable with where you’re at even when it sucks, knowing that everything is going to work out in the end as long as you don’t give up. And it’s about looking at things from other angles and perspectives, not just your own. Sometimes, your way isn’t the way.

As fiction writers, we ask our readers to suspend disbelief right from the first page. Sometimes in life we need to do the same and exercise a little faith.

The key phrase I choose for this card is: SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF.

Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.

The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.

I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!

Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

2 thoughts on “Exploring The Hanged Man

  1. Pingback: Exploring The World – The Art of Chaos

  2. Pingback: Chaos Wave: The Hanged Man – The Art of Chaos

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