“Esoterically, the Hanged Man is the human spirit which is suspended from heaven by a single thread. Wisdom, not death, is the reward for this voluntary sacrifice during which the human soul, suspended above the world of illusion, and meditating upon its unreality, is rewarded by the achievement of self-realization.” – Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
This card portrays a young man hanging upside down by his left leg from a horizontal beam, the latter supported by two tree trunks from each of which six branches have been removed. The right leg of the youth is crossed in back of the left and his arms are folded behind his back in such a way as to form a cross surmounting a downward pointing triangle. According to Elphias Levi, the Hanged Man thus forms an inverted symbol of sulphur.
Elphias Levi had stated in his book, Transcendental Magic; ” It is also implied fantastically that the Roman alphabet is related to Tarot cards, but whereas the Hebrew Mem answers to the card of Death the Roman M is referred to the Hanged Man, Resh to the Judgement card but R to the Blazing Star.” Levi likens the hanged man to the legend of Prometheus, the titan who gave fire to mankind and in turn suffered the wrath of Zeus by becoming the eternal sufferer, not just by being bound to a rock, but to also have his liver fed upon by an eagle each day.
In the Egyptian Tarot the hanged man is hung upside down between two palm trees, which is said to signify the Sun God who dies perennially for his world. In some Tarot decks, the figure in the 12th card carries under each arm a money bag from which coins are escaping. Some people have said that this latter card is that of Judas Iscariot who is said to have gone forth and hanged himself, the money bags representing the payment he received for his crime.
The Hanged Man is a form of Pittura infamante;
(Italian for “defaming portrait”; plural pitture infamanti) is a genre of defamatory painting and relief, common in Renaissance Italy. It came to be regarded as a form of art rather than effigy; the power of the genre derived from a feudal-based code of honor, where shame was one of the most significant social punishments.
Common themes of pittura infamante—which were meant to be humiliating—include depicting the subject as wearing a mitre or hanging upside down, being in the presence of unclean animals such as pigs or donkeys or those deemed evil like snakes; pittura infamante would also contain captions listing the offenses of the subject.Pittura infamante could originate as more favorable depictions, only to be transformed after the subject had fallen out of favor.
Hence, the Hanged Man………….
Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.