The Hanged Man (XII) Tarot Card Meaning – Upright And Reversed

The Hanged Man card in a tarot deck is a symbol of pause, surrender, and a new perspective. Often misunderstood, this card carries deep spiritual significance, and if drawn it shows you’re about to have your views of the world changed. It shows a man suspended upside down, inviting us to look at our situations from a different angle, embrace a moment of stillness, and find wisdom in letting go.

Whether you’re a seasoned tarot reader or new to the mystical world of tarot, understanding The Hanged Man will open doors to introspection and transformation. Here’s what it means:

Key Takeaways

The Hanged Man Upright:

  • Symbolizes pause, reflection, and seeing things from a new perspective.
  • Represents a period of suspension and contemplation, embracing stillness for growth.
  • In love, suggests introspection and understanding both your needs and your partner’s.
  • Career-wise, advises a break for reassessing goals and seeking inner guidance.
  • Spiritually, signifies a journey into self-discovery and embracing different viewpoints.
  • Often a ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ in yes/no questions, emphasizing the need for more thought.

The Hanged Man Reversed:

  • Implies stagnation and indecision due to reluctance to let go or change.
  • Warns against narrow-mindedness and missing out on new perspectives and opportunities.
  • In relationships, indicates a need to adapt and let go of old patterns.
  • Professionally, suggests seeking direction and openness to stepping out of comfort zones.
  • Spiritually, points to blockages in growth due to avoidance of crucial lessons.
  • Typically a ‘no’ in yes/no questions, advising a reassessment of approach and slowing down.
NumerologyRepresents the number 12, symbolizing patience, clear expression and creative thinking
Zodiac SignPisces, associated with introspection, sensitivity, and a receptive nature.
Ruling PlanetNeptune, reflecting dreams, intuition, and transcendence of the material world.
ElementWater, symbolizing emotional depth, adaptability, and the subconscious.
Yes or NoOften considered a “No,” indicating a time for pause, reflection, or a change in perspective.
CrystalsAquamarine and Amethyst can aid in enhancing spiritual awareness and calmness during times of suspension.

Symbolism Of The Hanged Man

  1. The Hanged Position: Overall, the man hanging upside down, symbolizes a pause in life, a time of suspension, or a need to let go of old patterns. He’s looking at the world from an entirely different perspective and it shows us this is a voluntary sacrifice.
  2. The Crossed Legs: The figure’s legs are crossed, forming the number 4 (a symbol of stability, safety, and support). It shows us there is stable thinking in the midst of an unstable situation.
  3. The Tree or Wooden Beam: The tree represents life, growth, and knowledge, while the wooden beam symbolizes the crossroads where decisions are made.
  4. The Halo or Radiance Around the Head: The halo shows us that The Hanged Man has enlightenment, awareness, and understanding, or he’s soon to have it. It’s clear his suspension has led to a higher level of consciousness and spiritual awakening.
  5. The Serene Expression: The figure’s face is often peaceful, suggesting acceptance and surrender to the process. This serenity implies an understanding that this pause is necessary and that there is a purpose to the suspension.
  6. The Bound Feet and Hands: His feet are bound, and his hands are tied behind his back showing his restrictions and limitations. He feels stuck yet the voluntary nature of the position shows this is a chosen predicament.
  7. The Garments: He wears simple clothes just a tunic and trousers. This shows humility, and a lack of material possessions or attachment to the physical world. The blue stands for truth and clarity, while the red stands for strength.
  8. The Background: Even when you look behind him, there is no background. This puts even more emphasis on the trial The Hanged Man is currently going through.
The Hanged Man Symbolism

The Hanged Man Upright Meaning

The Hanged Man is all about pause, surrender, letting go, and seeing things from a new perspective. In its upright position, The Hanged Man primarily symbolizes a period of suspension, right now you may feel like you’re in a state of limbo or waiting. This isn’t necessarily negative; rather, it indicates a time for reflection and contemplation, a lot of the time, you maybe here through your own choices, just like The Hermit and his solitude.

Life has hit the pause button, giving you the chance to step back and view things from a different angle. If you’re feeling restless, remember this card encourages you to embrace this period of stillness and to use it as an opportunity for spiritual and emotional growth.

The Hanged Man Upright Meaning

He also represents the concept of voluntary sacrifice. This sacrifice isn’t about loss or suffering but rather about letting go of something in order to gain something else. It could be a belief, a habit, or even a way of life that you need to release in order to move forward. Sometimes you have to put something on hold or give something up temporarily to achieve a greater good.

Another key aspect of The Hanged Man is the idea of seeing things from a new perspective. The inverted position of the figure symbolizes a complete reversal of one’s usual way of looking at the world. The universe may be telling you you need to open your mind, consider alternative viewpoints, and challenge your preconceived notions. Sometimes, you need to look at things from a different angle to understand them fully.

And it can also signify a need for surrender and release. You might be holding on too tightly to a particular idea, situation, or outcome. Let go and trust that by releasing control, you can move forward in a more positive and enlightened way.

Lastly, (and this is the one I struggle with the most) The Hanged Man is a call for patience. It indicates that this might not be the time for action. Instead, it’s a period for waiting and allowing events to unfold in their own time. It’s about understanding that sometimes, the best course of action is to do nothing at all and to wait for the right moment to move.

In summary, The Hanged Man in its upright position is a deeply introspective card, urging a pause, a reassessment of perspectives, and a willingness to make sacrifices for greater knowledge and wisdom. It’s a reminder of the value of stillness, open-mindedness, and patience in our often hectic lives. It’s a card about inner peace and serenity. Despite the seeming discomfort of the hanged man’s position, his face is often depicted as calm and at ease, showing a sense of acceptance and inner harmony. It’s a message about finding peace within yourself, regardless of external circumstances.

Love and Relationships

In love, the upright Hanged Man shows that you need a time for reflection and re-evaluation. You might feel like your relationship is in a state of limbo, but this card encourages you to use this period for introspection. It’s about understanding your needs and your partner’s perspective, and sometimes, about making sacrifices for the greater good of the relationship.

Careers and Finance

For careers and finances, The Hanged Man means you need a pause in progress or decision-making. It’s a period where stepping back and viewing your career or financial situation from a new angle can be beneficial. You need to have patience. Sometimes, waiting and observing can lead to valuable insights and better outcomes.


Spiritually, The Hanged Man is a powerful symbol of inner transformation. It encourages you to let go of old beliefs and to see your spiritual journey from a new perspective. It represents a period of spiritual contemplation and surrender, where you can gain deeper understanding and peace by embracing stillness and openness.

Yes or No

For yes or no questions, the upright Hanged Man generally suggests a ‘no’ or ‘not yet’. It implies that now is a time for waiting and not for action. The card advises patience and reassessment, indicating that the best course might be to pause and allow things to unfold naturally before making a decision.

The Hanged Man Reversed Meaning

The Hanged Man reversed in a tarot reading brings with it a completely different message, distinct from its upright position. Traditionally, Reversed it has themes of stagnation, indecision, or an unwillingness to make necessary sacrifices.

Firstly, the reversed Hanged Man often signifies a feeling of being stuck or in limbo, but unlike its upright counterpart, this stagnation is often due to one’s own reluctance to let go or change. You may be clinging to outdated beliefs, habits, or situations, which hinders your growth and progress. You need to examine what you are holding onto and why, so you can release it and move forward

The Hanged Man Reversed Meaning

He also shows that there’s a failure to see things from a different angle. You might be stuck in your way of thinking, unwilling or unable to consider alternative viewpoints. This narrow-mindedness can lead to missed opportunities and a lack of understanding. Again you need to challenge your own perceptions and to open yourself up to new ideas and possibilities.

The reversed Hanged Man also points to a lack of sacrifice or an unwillingness to put in the necessary effort to achieve your goals. You may be avoiding making tough decisions or delaying taking action because it involves stepping out of your comfort zone. Remember growth often requires sacrifice, and avoiding it can keep you from realizing your true potential.

Perhaps though, you just have a sense of aimlessness or lack of direction. You might feel like you’re moving through life without a clear purpose, or that you’re not aligned with your true path. The Reversed Hanged Man is screaming at you for introspection and realignment, so you can find your direction and pursue it with intention.

It helps us see, that maybe we’re moving to quick, we’re actually the opposite of The Hanged Man. We’re trying to rush into action without proper contemplation. In contrast to the upright position, which advises patience and waiting, the reversed position can mean that you’re acting hastily, without considering the consequences. It’s a warning to slow down, think things through, and ensure that your actions are aligned with your higher goals.

Lastly, the reversed Hanged Man can sometimes represent personal resistance to difficult but necessary life lessons. You may be subconsciously avoiding dealing with issues that are crucial for your personal development. This card is a call to face these challenges head-on, understanding that dealing with them is crucial for your growth and evolution.

In summary, The Hanged Man reversed is speaks to the themes of resistance to change, reluctance to sacrifice, narrow-mindedness, and a lack of direction or purpose. It urges a re-evaluation of your current approach to life, encouraging you to let go of what’s holding you back, to broaden your perspectives, and to align your actions with your true path.

Love and Relationships

When it comes to relationships, the reversed Hanged Man shows a reluctance to adapt or let go of old patterns that are no longer serving you if you’re single or a relationship if you’re in one. You might be stuck due to an unwillingness to change your perspective or make necessary sacrifices. You need to re-evaluate your approach to your relationships or dating and to be open to new ways of connecting and resolving issues.

Careers and Finance

If you want to know about money, the Hanged Man reversed symbolizes a period of stagnation or indecision, which isn’t great. It may indicate a lack of direction or an unwillingness to take the necessary steps to advance. You need to reassess your career path and financial strategies and be open to necessary adjustments, even if they require stepping out of your comfort zone.


Spiritually, there is a blockage in your spiritual growth, which is most likely due to narrow-mindedness or avoiding important lessons. The Hanged Man reversed serves as a reminder to open yourself to new spiritual perspectives and to face the challenges that are essential for your personal development. This card urges introspection to realign with your spiritual path.

Yes or No

For yes or no questions, the Hanged Man reversed typically leans towards a ‘no’, suggesting that your current approach might be misguided or that you’re not ready to make a decision. It advises slowing down, reconsidering your perspective, and ensuring that any action you take is well-thought-out and aligned with your true goals.

Combinations For The Hanged Man

The FoolStarting new things and learning to see them from a different perspective, embracing patience.
The MagicianUsing skills in a reflective way, considering different ways to apply your talents.
The High PriestessTrusting your intuition while pausing to gain deeper insights and perspectives.
The EmpressCaring for others but also stepping back to consider different emotional needs and viewpoints.
The EmperorLeading with a more thoughtful approach, reconsidering traditional methods and perspectives.
The HierophantBalancing respect for traditions with the need to see things differently or challenge norms.
The LoversReevaluating relationships and decisions, taking time to consider all sides before choosing.
The ChariotPursuing goals while being open to pausing and reassessing your direction and methods.
StrengthShowing courage and resilience but also embracing patience and understanding in tough situations.
The HermitSeeking solitude and wisdom, using this time for deep reflection and new insights.
Wheel of FortuneAdapting to life’s changes with a mindset of reflection and understanding different cycles from new angles.
JusticeSeeking fairness and balance while being open to different perspectives and approaches to what’s right.
DeathUnderstanding and accepting significant changes, taking time to see how they transform your perspective.
TemperanceFinding balance and harmony by considering different viewpoints and approaches in life.
The DevilReflecting on negative patterns or dependencies, seeing them from a new angle to break free.
The TowerFacing upheavals but using this as an opportunity to rethink and gain a new understanding of your life.
The StarMaintaining hope but also reflecting on what that hope means from different perspectives.
The MoonNavigating confusion or uncertainty while taking time to view your feelings and situations differently.
The SunEnjoying success and positivity, but also reflecting on these experiences from a new angle.
JudgmentReassessing your past and being open to new understandings and perspectives for growth.
The WorldFeeling fulfillment but also looking at your achievements and life from a broader perspective.

Journaling Prompts For The Hanged Man

  1. Think about a moment in your life where patience paid off. How did it feel during the waiting period and what was the outcome?
  2. Is there a recent situation where you felt stuck? How might viewing it from a different perspective change your feelings about it?
  3. Think about something you need to let go of (a belief, a habit, a relationship). How does holding onto this serve you, and what might releasing it look like?
  4. Write about a time you had to surrender control. What was challenging about it, and what did you learn?
  5. Think of a belief you’ve long held. Try to consider the opposite viewpoint. What new understandings arise?

Final Message Of The Hanged Man

“Embrace a new perspective and let go of your conventional viewpoint. Sometimes, stepping back and looking at things from a different angle can bring profound insights and solutions. This period of suspension and waiting is not wasted; it’s a crucial time for inner reflection and spiritual growth.

Surrender to the moment, and understand that sometimes, pausing and accepting what is, can be your most powerful move. Trust that this phase will lead to a deeper understanding and personal transformation.”


In summary, The Hanged Man in its upright position is a card deeply rooted in the idea of slowing down and looking at things from a different angle. It symbolizes a period of suspension, a time for reflection, and contemplating life from a different point of view. However, it’s important to remember it represents the concept of voluntary sacrifice, encouraging letting go of certain aspects to achieve greater understanding or progress. It also emphasizes the need for patience, indicating that sometimes the best action is inaction, allowing events to unfold naturally.

Reversed, The Hanged Man shows that you’re going through a period of stagnation, indecision, or an unwillingness to make necessary sacrifices. It suggests being stuck due to reluctance to change or let go. This position points to a failure to see things from different angles and a resistance to sacrifice or effort needed for growth. You may also be feeling aimlessness or partaking in hasty actions without proper contemplation.

Overall, The Hanged Man, whether upright or reversed, speaks to the importance of patience, and the willingness to embrace change and sacrifice for greater understanding and growth.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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