Number: 12.
Astrological correspondence: Neptune.
Keywords: taking a step back, looking at things from a different angle.
The Hanged Man beyond tarot: inverted yoga postures such as headstands and shoulder stands.

A man dressed in a blue blouse and red tights is tied upside-down by the left ankle to a tree. His right leg is folded behind his left thigh, and his hands are held behind his back. Like saints, he has an aureola of light around his head. He is awake, alive, and his expression is serene with a hint of resignation.

As the twelfth card of the Major Arcana, the Hanged Man comes after a lot of activity (possibly some drama), but precedes irreversible change. He stands still, stopped at a moment in time, reflecting on what came before and contemplating what’s ahead. He does it with peace and acceptance.

The Hanged Man is one of those cards that unfortunately make people scared of tarot. This isn’t helped by tarot writers who push forward a more traditional interpretation and claim that the Hanged Man means sacrifice, pain, and suffering are coming at you, especially because it is followed by Death (13). 

What people fail to notice is that the Hanged Man, despite his name, is not being tortured or put to death, or even suffering. He has voluntarily put himself in an upside-down, meditative posture. Just like the Hermit, there’s distance being taken. The Hanged Man reminds you to take a step back, remove yourself from a situation (especially if it is causing you to lose your temper), and look at things from a different angle.  For instance, if something or someone is driving you crazy (for instance, at work, around lively children, or during family reunion), don’t be afraid to excuse yourself, go somewhere you can be alone, and meditate for a few minutes

Doing so can not only help you regain your composure and your natural state of inner peace, but also practice compassion by putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Try looking at the situation form their perspective, or, if that isn’t possible, pretend to be an outsider who has no emotional attachment to whatever’s going on.