In a reading, The Hanged Man often points to a time of reflection, a pause, or deep philosophical contemplation that can have, if we allow it to, far-reaching effects on all aspects of our lives. The card often appears after a difficult period in our life, or a particularly challenging set of events have been resolved and indicates that there is now the opportunity for peace, rest, and recuperation.
The Hanged Man also indicates the importance of finding our own way, of making choices that reflect our core values and personality, and of living our life in the way that matters to us, regardless of what others may think of our decisions in this regard. There may be an element of sacrifice necessary too, for us to move forward on the path we want to follow, and the card assures us that choosing to do so will help to clear any remaining obstacles out of our way.
Interestingly, when we reverse this card, we find that The Hanged Man now appears the right way up. He has chosen not to make the journey suggested in the upright card but, instead, to fight against life, resisting any urge to work towards something greater or to walk the road of self-discovery.
The Hanged Man Reversed can also point to a personality who is finding it extremely difficult to follow their heart, but instead take the actions that they feel are expected of them, or which they believe society dictates are acceptable. In this case, the card asks us to go deeply within, find our story and be brave enough to write it.
The Hanged Man embodies stillness and calm at the center of the storm which is day-to-day life. He has been connected to the figure of Odin, who was hung on the World Tree. Like Odin, the figure appearing in the card has chosen to surrender to the everyday magic of the universe, a choice that is available to us all.