The Hanged Man in love: What to do when it’s best to do nothing.

Hanged man
The Hanged Man from the New Pallidini Tarot.

Getting the Hanged Man in a tarot spread, especially if it’s a romance spread…tends to make people slump. They either assume it is a bad card, or they just…blank out, and spend time on all the cards around it, carefully avoiding it like the upside down elephant in the room. But…I am here to make an argument that The Hanged Man is a friend. A good friend. The one that gently but exasperatingly tries to get you to PUT DOWN THE SHOVEL (or that phone!) and quit digging yourself in deeper.

Listen to your pal.

An excerpt from my book, Love Tarot for Beginners, on our serene acrobat:

12: THE HANGED MAN

TRADITIONAL MEANING

A pause in the action. Needing to let go of all attempts to control. Sacrifice. Peaceful waiting. Submission.

LOVE READING

This is a card of fascinating contradictions. Its message is one of needing to behave in a way that is probably the opposite of what is instinctual for you.

The Hanged Man is here to tell you that this is a time where you cause more problems the more you struggle, cause more loss the more you “try.” This is a time of letting go; not of the relationship, but of any attempts to control the outcome.

This is out of your hands. In a traditional Tarot deck, you will see that even though the man is suspended upside down, his face is serene. This is you. This needs to be you. In letting go, you win. In surrendering, you survive. If you are pushing someone hard to behave in a certain way, give you what you want to create a certain experience, or even to feel a certain way, then it will not succeed.

This is a delicate time, and whatever happens next will not be up to you. There are certain cards in the deck that strongly reinforce this idea. If The Fool, The High Priestess, Strength, or the restful Four of Swords show in the same reading, then you need to be cool as a cucumber: relax, be gentle with yourself, and let go of all demands.

If the Lovers card appears with this card, well, then you are really twisting in the wind, and the fate of this relationship is out of your hands.

Control is a tricky thing. It’s like trying to sit on top of a beach ball while in a swimming pool: sure, you got that baby under water for now, but eventually it’s going to pop up, and you are going down. Why not, instead, gently hold onto that ball as you skim the surface, letting it carry you across the water?

POSSIBLE OUTCOME

You don’t get to know that right now! This is the Tarot’s “Magic 8 Ball” equivalent of “Ask Again Later.” Later, by the way, doesn’t mean in an hour. Be still. Have faith. Let go. This is a card of beneficial outcome, but only if you stop struggling.

 

Ah. It is very, very hard to let go of the need to control. Especially when you LURVE someone, or WANT someone, or, eep, feel like you NEED someone. That’s a crummy feeling, that last one. It has a graspy, exhausted tone that feels something like holding your arms out in front of you for, say, about an hour.

No good.

Here is a case of freedom in surrender. What does surrender look like, in this case? Setting down the phone. Frantic texts are not for you. Freedom to Think About Other Things Besides Mr. Or Ms. Perfect. Freedom to focus on neglected friendships, hobbies, interests. Freedom, because to do anything ELSE ..to poke poke poke at that cage of wished for outcome, is a big dang mistake. STOP IT. You can not pester the situation into submission..into wanting you.

You are a person of value and you don’t chase after stuff. Stuff wants you, baby.

So hang.

Watch it come to you happily…or drop away, because it was never going to work. Either way.. you win!

Good luck out there!

 

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “The Hanged Man in love: What to do when it’s best to do nothing.

  1. Thank you! This really helped me. I just went through a break and I was desperately trying to get back together. Did my spread tonight (3 days after the break), I used the Chakra spread, and the Hanged Man showed up on my emotional/feelings/relationship draw. It might make me feel a little more calm and serene now.
    Again, thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am touched you found what I wrote helpful. I know that feeling…it’s a bad one, the helpless falling feeling of loss. Stay serene as you can and realize you are entirely and utterly lovable.

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  2. Awesome! I had this card in the position ‘against’ in a love reading (also, nex to to it, the moon as the outcome :-\ ).
    Anyway, love this:

    ‘You are a person of value and you don’t chase after stuff. Stuff wants you, baby.

    So hang.’

    I was probably needing to read it. Thank you!

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    1. I am always really grateful to hear from someone who found anything I write useful. Thank you for taking the time!…In this case, I would say that the against is just the idea that you might have little control over the situation in the relationship, and though this will not be for ill, it can mean you feel less empowered, especially with that Moon near by which is basically tarot’s Magic 8 Ball response of “Ask again Later”. It can be tough to feel like your fate is in someone else’s hands.

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  3. This is a perfect articule about the Hanged Man. I find it very difficult to understand in reading as it has a few different meanings if i’m not wrong. It’s so nice to read as your getting an advice from a very close friend…thank you so much for your words. I’m in a relationship that felt ending since the beggining and my guts tell me to drop it but i don’t have the courage and i feel sad of thinking of losing this person because there are good and bads…but i tent to rush decisions and that always works bad for me. I got in a star reading in the “heart of the matter” 1 the lovers, 2 two of swords, 3 the hanged man. Any insights very welcome 🙂 thanks again, merci.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi! I have a question about how the heck to interpret the Hanged Man in the FUTURE position—when in a simple 3-card Past/Present/Future spread, in answer to a LOVE question. So confusing! If helpful: the Past card in this spread is Ace of Swords, and the Present was Ace of Wands. I very much understand that the Hanged Man indicates trust, surrender, stop campaigning to be loved when it comes the relationship if in the Present … and honestly that answer feels like perhaps it’s the right one here. But I wonder if I have it flipped? Especially if the Ace of Wands (which in my understanding indicates: go forth, be daring, believe in yourself, “do the thing”) is in the Present position. The “yes”/”no” question that this love snag was asking here was about whether to reach out and open lines of communication with someone with whom the romance is currently stalled. To keep the door open by saying “hi” and allow for possibility there, or instead to remain silent and let the other come to you. Part of the concern here is whether a perception of hurt or anger might be encouraged if I remain silent—thus shutting down full communication/any possibility. Or: does reaching out now do that, by over-campaigning or appearing grabby? I can see an argument for it either way—not sure what a FUTURE landing on this perplexing Hanged Man card suggests. THANK YOU so much!

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    1. Hi Madison! I fear I only have time to give you a quick answer. When I write definitions, I do, in the final analysis, write them from the perspective of “future” or outcome. When this card lands in the outcome position..it is everything I state here. That in the coming days, your pushing for answers will not bring you joy, that rest and focus on other things that matter to you will bring you a better result, that this is a case where striving for something….with the energy of the Chariot, say, will only make you unhappy. “Silence” doesn’t mean unkindness…self focus doesn’t mean rejection. Of course you would remain friendly and open and should they contact you no “punishment” behavior is required. Either they will seek you out because they care, or not because they don’t. Most people lob small salvos these days…a text..an email. Respond kindly, always….just never chase. ….I hope that helps?

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  5. Once upon a time I used to do tons of tarot, I felt I was instinctive with them but not so literal stopped for a number of years and lately they’ve been really calling to me.
    I found your site here and I want to say I wish you had more to share! I’ve enjoyed reading through your interpretations, they’re insightful and very entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there! Thank you for this comment. Came at an interesting time. When I started this blog, I had JUST finished my book, and had been writing about tarot intensively for months, so …I….Well I didn’t have it in my to write more for a while…but this tiny blog gets a surprising amount of traffic on just this post alone, and I think people might be interested. I appreciate your kind words. I just left it alone for a while because people end up asking me to interpret their readings for them and while I really understand that desire for help and want to be of service, I just don’t have the heart to answer some, but not all, with my schedule. Makes me feel like a heel. heh.

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  6. This was really helpful, but I’d love to ask…is there any definition you could give for a Reversed Hangman? I had the Star and the Lovers in my reading of “What are we supposed to be?” I slept on the tarot reading for abit; it felt like a “Star Crossed Lovers” feel when I woke up but when I first got it I felt a “Keep Wishing”…idk which to believe. So I pulled out a few more cards. Only the Hanged Man in reverse stumped me. Is it of similar definition as the upright for you or the exact opposite? Thankyou so much for this little definition blog btw! It helped me a lot!

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    1. Honestly Sammy I don’t read cards in reverse. I think the tarot deck is perfectly balanced as it is, and no need to add reversed ideas which often add much more negative perception than they do good. I so appreciate your kind words, but heck, if ANYTHING, i would take a reversed card as the meaning I said, just that it would be challenging for you to do the advice given, which was to relax, enjoy yourself and realize that poking at something doesn’t bring the resolution closer to you…..I think the Tarot told you what you needed to know with the Star and Lovers…that you are besotted (Lovers), that you are happy to overlook flaws and they like you too (Star), and a “big choice” feeling is on the horizon (both). Pulling more cards sometimes just adds to the confusion, and after a while, it’s almost like your deck shuts down, saying “Hey, I gave you a great answer!”

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  7. I love your interpretation.
    I got both The Fool and the High Priestess appeared in the same reading with the Hanged man, after 2 weeks the ex had sent me a long feelings email. Many sweet words were written, he just needed to reassure that I know how he had felt when we were together.
    But nothing about wanting to see me again.
    I guess, I need to still be cool as cucumber and do NOTHING 😀
    thank you very much !!

    Like

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