The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings Explained

The Hanged Man Tarot card rider waite



New Perspectives


Letting go




General Meaning of The Hanged Man in a Reading

The card of surrender, The Hanged Man, is the twelfth card of the Major Arcana and encourages you to look at the world from a new perspective. It is the card of making lemonade out of lemons by recognizing that some things are simply beyond your control. When you learn to look at the world from a new (upside down) perspective, new possibilities will be revealed to you. When you are feeling stuck, stay calm and try to make decisions in the best way possible by accepting what is and trying to change only what you can.

The Hanged Man views the world from a completely different perspective and that is his most fundamental message to you in your tarot card spread. He is completely suspended, in a position of ultimate surrender, perhaps even a martyr, yet he is not afraid. His calm and serene face implies that he is certain victory is at hand.

There are times in our lives when things don’t go our way and we feel helpless to change them. Rather than using more and more force to try to achieve an unattainable outcome, the Hanged Man urges you to let go of control. As they say, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” The Hanged Man knows the difference, and he knows that at this moment, surrender will be the key to his success.

If The Hanged Man appears in your reading as another person, not you, then beware. There may be a person hiding things from you, playing the part of the victim or martyr. But the hands hidden behind the back indicate that he is up to something. Take a moment to look for any red flags that you may have ignored.

The Symbolism of The Hanged Man

A man is hanging upside down by one ankle from a cross made of living wood. His face is calm and relaxed and one leg is bent at the knee and tucked behind the other. His hands are not visible as they are tucked behind his back. What are they doing?

We immediately wonder how The Hanged Man got himself here. There is nobody else around. Did he put himself in this position or was he left there? He does not seem troubled at all, in fact, a golden halo glows around his head. He looks quite comfortable in his helplessness.

The Hanged Man in the Past

When the recent Past card in your tarot spread is occupied by the Hanged Man, it tells us that you have arrived at your current place by having released something. Whether it was an unhealthy relationship or The Hanged Mansituation, you successfully moved out of a stuck position by releasing, surrendering and moving on. You took the time to pause, reflect, and assess from a new perspective and stopped fighting an uphill battle.

The Hanged Man in the Present 

When The Hanged Man appears in the Present position, he is telling you to avoid conflict at all costs. Perhaps you are in a toxic relationship where the other person has a deep drive to engage you in conflict. Don’t take the bait. This doesn’t mean you should give the other person whatever they want, it simply means don’t play the game. They probably will never change and you will never “win” this way. Release and surrender to the fact that the situation is what it is, and try to find your freedom from a totally different path.

The Hanged Man in the Future

When the Hanged Man appears in the Future place, there may be a battle looming. Do not be the aggressor, try to suspend yourself away from the conflict. Take the path of least resistance, for it will serve you best in the end.

The Reversed Hanged Man

the hanged man tarot card Sforza deck

When the Hanged Man appears in the reversed position he is pointing out that you are already aware that a change needs to be made, but you are resisting it. Are you avoiding what really needs to be addressed by keeping yourself overly busy and occupied? If you continue on this path, the universe may bring it all crashing down. It is time to stop procrastinating on what you know you need to do. In reverse, the Hanged Man is telling you, “it’s time”.

The Hanged Man Tarot One Card Meaning

In a Tarot One Card Spread, The Hanged Man describes your entire situation. The fundamental message is to stop and look at the world from another perspective. Surrender to the inevitable and trust in the Universe. If the card appears reversed, you are being advised not to run away from or ignore your problems. It is time to confront your reality and face the truth. Take a moment to hang upside down and allow the Universe to do its work.

The Hanged Man Yes/No Meaning

In the Yes/No Tarot Reading, and upright card indicates a “yes” answer to your question, whereas a reversed card indicates that the answer is “no.” If you receive the card in the upright position, you will have a positive outcome from looking at the situation from a new perspective. When he appears in the reverse, he is indicating that either you or someone else are unwilling to make an effort. The situation will result in a stalemate and will not progress as you desire.


The Hanged Man upright in your tarot spread is telling you to let go of outdated models of thinking and behaving. Take a moment to pause and self-reflect. Are these patterns really bringing you happiness and success in those things that are most important to you? If you keep plowing ahead in your habitual fashion, you may miss opportunities and solutions that are being revealed to you.

However, if you don’t slow down and pause on your own, the universe may do it for you. These forced pauses can present in the form of continuous obstacles, a streak of bad luck, and a general sense of things falling apart at the seams. Does everything keep going wrong for you? Maybe you need to meditate on what the universe is trying to tell you.

Affirmations for The Hanged Man

“I surrender to the Universe and let go of the illusion of control.”

“I take the time to pause and reconnect to the divine messages the Universe is sending me.”

“I take the time to look at the world from a totally new perspective.”

More about The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man is an important card, so be sure you fully understand his message! If you want to learn more about this card in the context of your real life experiences, then reach out to a professional tarot card reader. Whether in a simple three card spread or an in-depth analysis, you can get the answers you need.

Try out a FREE Online Tarot Reading

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Both Kasamba and Keen offer the first three minutes free when you are a new customer, so get your free tarot reading today! There are many great readers out there offering in-depth tarot reading services. At Oranum, you can watch your tarot card professional read for others live. That’s a great way to see if they are a good fit for you! Let us know how your reading goes and if you have any other interesting insights about The Hanged Man!



Article Info

Date: Feb 08, 2019
Amelie Rose Estrela is an experienced psychic and recently published, esteemed lead author for the Psychic Guild since 2003. She has written hundreds of articles for the website on a range of topics covered within the psychic niche, including Psychics & Mediums, Tarot & Angel Cards, Astrology & Horoscopes (the topic of her newly-released e-book), Love & Relationships, and Spells & Magic. You can find out more about Amelie on
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