At the prior week’s magical chat session, where we were doing Dollhouse readings and Tarot Round Robins, The Hanged Man card came up several times, as did The World card. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the contexts, but we got to talking about how The Hanged Man is often a reversed image of The World. That has led me to think about tarot spells for reversing Hanged Man type frustrations.
In old, Marseilles-type tarot decks, as well as in the Rider-Waite-Smith, both the figures of the dancing woman in The World and the hanging man have a leg crossed behind their backs, and then the torso/head areas make something of a triangle, so that in The World you have the triangle of ascending spirituality surmounting the cross of materiality, whereas in The Hanged Man, the cross is on top and the triangle points downward. In “The Book of Tarot,” Fred Gettings makes additional observations about the graphic similarities and mirroring between these two cards. As The World can be seen as an ideal state of being, Gettings explains The Hanged Man as depicting how, “man as an invisible life force is upside-down, that human life as it is now being lived is somehow unnatural” [p. 147]. Gettings would apply this not just to the readings of individuals, but to the human condition itself. However, he sees this as a phase in human life and development, for “we must presume that the condition of being a hanging man must be necessary for the evolution of the anima mundi, for the spiritual development of the world” .
In terms of how we experience this in everyday life, I’ve noticed The Hanged Man often comes up in life situations where an individual feels he or she is making no progress, or in more dramatic situations, where it feels like life has been turned upside-down. So, for a tarot spell to remedy these kinds of situations:
1) Lay down The Hanged Man and think about your current situation, and why it has you feeling tied up, or disoriented, or with your life in suspension.
2) Think about what sort of steps you could take, or attitudinal changes you could make, to get you into a better place and bring about a more ideal life situation. Then, select whichever tarot card best seems to you to denote the changes you need to bring about, and lay it to the right of The Hanged Man. If you can’t think of a specific card, you could set down Major Arcana #10, The Wheel of Fortune, to denote the general process of change, including changes for the better to be brought about by your Higher Powers, when you are not well able to envision or articulate the changes you need. Think about how the turning wheel brings that which has been reversed back to an upright position.
3) Next, lay down The World card, and envision yourself in an all-around improved situation and better state of being as a result of having uprighted yourself and rejoined the dance of life on better footing. Recall this idealized image of yourself throughout your days and weeks, as the new you to strive for.