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Tarot Reflections

September 2006

A Spiritual Journey with Tarot: Hanged Man
Gary Meister, CTM

Gary Meister has been studying Tarot from several different viewpoints for the past 25 years. Certified for over 20 years, Gary is a member of the ATA and a Certified Tarot Master (CTM) recognized by The Tarot Certification Board of America. Gary also holds a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement in the "Intuitive Tarot" course from

Visit Gary's website at


Tarot is an excellent tool for meditation to enhance spiritual growth. With Tarot, in our readings we each have subtly different meanings for the different cards, meanings which work well for ourselves better than anyone else’s. Spiritual Tarot works the same way. We each have our own path and we each see subtly different things in the Major Arcana cards to help us along that path.

With this series I’m sharing my journey, in hopes that it might help to shine a little light on yours. I’m using the Rider/Waite/Smith Tarot on this spiritual journey.

The picture on the Hanged Man is of a man hanging by his right foot from a cross which is fashioned from living wood. This can be seen in the leaves growing from it. His left foot is crossed behind his right forming another cross. His arms appear to be tied behind him. Although one would think he would be most uncomfortable in this position, he shows no discomfort at all. His face is serene and a bright golden halo surrounds his head. Clearly, this card has something important to tell us. As a matter of fact, it contains two very important spiritual lessons.

Firstly, he is obviously doing this of his own free will; otherwise he wouldn’t be so calm about it. So, what does this mean? Well, on one level, it symbolizes allowing discomfort, and the halo shows that it is for a spiritual purpose. What is this purpose? Among other things, we are in this world to learn to love one another more and more throughout our life-experience. The thing we need to learn is, sometimes our spiritual growth is intensified when we become able to set our own wants and desires aside for the good of someone else or for other people in general. The first thing the Hanged Man stands for is self-sacrifice for the higher good.

Secondly, the Hanged Man has turned everything upside down in his life-experience. Everything is just the opposite of what it was. Everything is reversed. This reminds us that we need to reverse our thinking about who and what we really are. We think we are our physical body; we need to reverse our thinking. We think we are a body that has a soul; we need to reverse our thinking. We are a soul who happens to be using this body for the time being. To grow spiritually (I’m going to say it one more time) we need to reverse our thinking.

When I meditate upon the Hanged Man, it reminds me that things are not always as they seem. When I change my thinking and remember who and what I really am, my spiritual growth happens almost automatically. And, when I sometimes set my wants aside to “do unto others,” my growth takes leaps and bounds.

And, that’s what the Hanged Man means to me.


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Tarot Reflections is a publication of the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2006
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