The Hanged WOman



Upright: Pause, surrender, letting go, new perspectives.

Reversed: Delays, resistance, stalling, indecision.


The Hanged Man shows a man suspended from a t-shaped cross made out of living wood. The man is hanging upside-down, viewing the world from a completely different perspective. His facial expression is calm and serene, suggesting that he is in this hanging position by his own choice. He has a halo around his head, symbolising new insight, awareness and enlightenment. His right foot is bound to the tree, but his left foot remains free, bent at the knee and tucked in behind his right leg. His arms are bent, with hands held behind his back, forming an inverted triangle. The man is wearing red pants representing human passion and the physical body, and a blue vest for knowledge. This is the card of ultimate surrender, of being suspended in time and of martyrdom and sacrifice to the greater good.

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.


The Hanged Man reminds you that sometimes in life, you have to hit the pause button and put everything on hold before you can take the next step (or the Universe will do it on your behalf and it may not always be at the most convenient time!). You may have heard of the saying, "What got you here, won't get you there." The Hanged Man is calling you to release and let go of your old mental models and behavioural patterns that are no longer serving you, so that you can see your world from a new perspective and prepare yourself to embrace new opportunities that would have otherwise been hidden to you if you didn't hit the brakes.

Here's the thing. These 'pauses' can be voluntary or involuntary. If you're in tune with your intuition, you'll start to have a feeling when it's time to hit the brakes and put things on hold – before things get out of hand. But if you're out of alignment and oblivious to those intuitive signs, the Universe is likely to put things on hold for you, in the form of continued obstacles, ill-health, and breakdowns. When you feel the 'pause' coming, pay attention to it, otherwise the Universe will simply turn up the volume until you can't ignore it any longer.

When the Hanged Man appears in a Tarot reading, your projects and activities may be coming to an unexpected and abrupt halt. Don't keep pushing forward, hoping that more and more force will get you to where you want to go. Instead, surrender to the opportunity to pause and see this as your chance to reassess and re-evaluate where you are on your path. Something new is emerging and you won't be able to see it unless you allow the time and space for it to come through.

The Hanged Man is your invitation to welcome these 'pauses' with open arms and be ready to surrender to the 'what is' – even if it is different to what you expected. Pause, step back and take some time away from your regular routine and schedule so that you can connect with a new way of thinking and seeing. Sure, you might have to literally put important projects on hold while you do this (and it might feel super inconvenient) but trust me, it'll be worth it. This is the Universe's way of helping you see new perspectives and preparing you for the next uplevelling that is happening in your life. If you push or resist, you will only encounter more obstacles along the way. But if you surrender and 'allow,' the opportunities will flow easily and effortlessly to you.

The Hanged Man can sometimes reflect that you are feeling stuck or restricted in your life. What is holding you in this ‘stuck’ position? What is preventing you from moving forward? On one level, the Hanged Man is asking you to surrender and let go. Instead of investing in specific outcomes or resisting your current circumstances, accept them and allow yourself to be in flow with life. On another level, you are being called to change your perspective and shift your energy. You may find that separating yourself from your everyday life is helpful, whether it’s going for a walk in nature, going on retreat or moving to a new country. Change up your routine so that you can start to feel the energy shift and flow more freely again.


The upright Hanged Man encourages you to pause for a moment and see things from a different perspective. Reversed, this card can indicate that you know you need to hit the pause button, but you are strongly resisting it. Instead, you are filling your days with tasks and projects, keeping yourself busy and distracting yourself from the actual issue that needs your attention. Your spirit and body are asking you to slow down, but your mind keeps on going. Stop and slow down, before it’s too late. The Universe will only dial up the volume if you choose to ignore it, and as a result, you may end up crashing and burning. So, as soon as you hear the call to slow down, clear the schedule and make the space so you can tune in and listen carefully.

You may already be in a position where everything has been put on hold, much to your frustration. The reversal of the Hanged Man can indicate a time when you’re feeling blocked, stuck or restricted because other people or other circumstances have left you on hold. While you are resisting this, it’s important that you surrender to the ‘what is’ and let go of your attachment to how things should be. Be in flow with life, even if it’s not as you expected it (seriously, when is it ever exactly as you expected?!), and loosen your grip.

If your life has already been on hold for a period of time, the reversed Hanged Man may come as a positive sign that you can now move forward with a new perspective and renewed sense of energy. You may find that timing of events starts to line up with more ease and flow, and it is as if everything has simply locked into place and you’re ready to go again. At the same time, there may have been a break-through or stark realisation about how you need to do things differently. You’re ready to make those changes and move ahead with a new mindset.

In a reading where a relationship has been put on hold, the Hanged Man reversed suggests that you are happy to wait around, to a point. You realise that this relationship will evolve over time and that, due to its complexities, it cannot be rushed. However, you also do not want to be on hold forever, and you acknowledge that there will come a time when you must make a decision about your current relationship.

The reversed Hanged Man can indicate that you are stalling on making a decision or taking an action. You’re waiting until you feel 100% ready before you can make a call or take the next step. But guess what? You’re probably never going to feel 100% ready. So what are you waiting for? Take the leap! Make that decision! Do it before you are forced to take action because the Universe simply can’t wait for you to feel 100% ready.