|Robin Hood Tarot|
The Hanged Man is an odd card, not terribly popular, though some identify with it. In popular contemporary interpretations, it has come to mean 'self-sacrifice', but I don't really look at it that way. The Hanged Man I see in most decks doesn't at all appear to be suffering. In fact, in most he looks positively beatific, and certainly not a victim.
Take this card for example. Our Hanged Man looks like a professional acrobat or performer from the circus, in his cherry red tights and gleaming white poet shirt. His pose is quite athletic. He hangs from the tree branch with one leg bent over the branch and the other ankle hooked over the shin for security. His hands are pressed behind his back as he grins at his audience. I can imagine him giving a little swing, launching off the branch into a flip and landing on his feet with a big 'Ta Da!' from the band.
That's how he looks, anyway, but he could also be an odd guy who finds it very relaxing and invigorating to hang upside down. In that case, he's probably enjoying the blood rushing to his head, the feel of the breeze, and the sounds of the rustling leaves and the birds of the forest as he hangs in quiet contemplation.
He seems like a lad who has a lot of patience, certainly great physical endurance, and one who doesn't mind, in fact possibly enjoys, being in an 'unusual position'. New things don't bother him. He likes looking at things from a fresh angles. In fact, his point of view is almost always different from everyone else's, yet he doesn't mind; in fact, he rather likes it. He doesn't care -- he's a nonconformist.
The Hanged Man is associated with the planet Neptune and the astrological sign of Pisces. Neptune, as you would imagine, is the ruler of Pisces, and when the two come together, it is a watery time! Neptune is associated with illusion, delusion, glamour, spirituality, boundary-less experiences, psychic experiences, sacrificial love, deception, dreams, religious feelings, empathy, scandal, and the transcending of egos. It is the planet of fog, mist, oceans and oil. Neptune, in its highest manifestation, is associated with compassion for those who suffer, as well as a tendency to glamorize or idealize people, ideas, or even objects (The Astrology Room).
Neptune went into Pisces in 1848, shortly after its discovery in 1845. It remained in Pisces 14 years (it has a 14-year course in every house of the zodiac). Neptune is currently in Pisces and has been since 2011. It will move out of Pisces in 2025. During its 19th century course, there was an increase in spiritualism and interest in esoteric, Eastern, mystic philosophies, as well as interest in psychoanalysis, dream interpretation, etc. I may be biased, but I think we are entering a new phase of spiritual awareness as we become more and more interested in equality for all--equal rights and acceptance for all sexualities, concepts of universal human rights, ecological conservation, animal rights, and so on. It seems that there is a blossoming of interest in paganism and other earth-based spiritualities, and a movement away from old dogmas.
So, the Hanged Man is a contemplative chap. He takes his time. He looks at things from new angles. He doesn't mind seeming weird to the majority, all those people hurrying past him doing all their hurried and 'important' tasks. He's just hanging out, thinking things over.
I could take a lesson from him.