The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning and Art Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
About the Deck
These cards are featured in my book, "A Concise Guide to the Tarot" by Loren Lundgren. I took the information for the meanings on these tarot cards from "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition Under the Veil of Divination", by A. E. Waite, 1911, now in the public domain. I edited the tarot card descriptions and meanings for clarity and brevity, modernizing the text. I scanned in the original black and white illustrations of the cards drawn by Pamela Colman Smith, from the 1911 book. I digitally retouched and painted those illustrations in detailed color.
Loren Lundgren, © 2021
DescriptionThe figure of a man hangs head down from a gallows, to which he is attached by a rope around one of his ankles. His arms are bound behind him, and one leg is crossed over the other. The gallows from which he hangs forms a Tau cross, while the figure—from the position of the legs--forms a cross. There is a halo around the head of the apparent martyr. It should be noted (1) that the tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves on it; (2) that the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering; (3) that the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, not death.
Meaning of The Hanged Man from the Vivid Waite Smith Tarot Deck
Wisdom, prudence, discernment, trials, sacrifice, intuition, divination, prophecy.
Selfishness, the crowd, the citizenship.
According to Many Schools of Thought
The Hanged Man. This is the symbol which is supposed to represent Prudence, and Eliphas Levi says, in his most shallow and plausible manner, that it is the adept bound by his engagements. The figure of a man is suspended head-downwards from a gibbet, to which he is attached by a rope about one of his ankles. The arms are bound behind him, and one leg is crossed over the other. According to another, and indeed the prevailing interpretation, he signifies sacrifice, but all current meanings attributed to this card are cartomancists' intuitions, apart from any real value on the symbolical side. The fortune-tellers of the eighteenth century who circulated Tarots, depict a semi-feminine youth in jerkin, poised erect on one foot and loosely attached to a short stake driven into the ground.
Self-sacrifice, Sacrifice, Devotion, Bound
Selfishness, Unbound, Partial sacrifice.