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2019 - The Year of the Hanged Man

From a Tarot perspective, each year we enter a different card of the Major Arcana, and therefore the energy that it presents to us. Just as on an individual level we each have a Major Arcana card per year, so we do collectively, as a race. Which card is determined by a simple numerical process, of adding the digits of the year together –

2 + 0 + 1 + 9 = 12

So it is that 2019 is a year of the Hanged Man. This is an image that can be quite disconcerting for some people when it appears. We see a man who is hanging upside down from a tree, which is not conducive to good health! However, when we look a little more closely we can see that there is a glow around his head and his expression is a calm one. From this we can take that although his current predicament is not one he is able to do much about, by surrendering to his place and position, he is able to achieve a state of inner peace and bliss. For us collectively we can see that although outside appearances show us that the world as a whole may be in a state of chaos, with apparent priorities reversed, if we choose to look at things from a different perspective, we may be able to perceive that all is not lost.

That different perspective may be seeing things from a higher point of view. It is what is within that matters more than what is without. Looking at the world and its events through the year ahead, from a worldly standpoint, may show us how things are not as they could be, and that money, gain and greed may appear to be the prime motivators. The card can sometimes however, show coins falling from the Hanged Man’s pockets, symbolic of a rejection of materialism and the dependence on financial gain and profit. So we may be able to place and take some hope in the idea that through the upheaval that seems so prevalent, the world as a whole may be able to move to a place where higher goals and motivations may have a greater importance.

In Yoga one of the most powerful postures can be the headstand. This has many health benefits when practised regularly and correctly. These include greater digestion, increased mental focus, improvement of eyesight, reduction of stress and stimulation of the core muscles. Perhaps it will be that the world has a whole will find that through a greater awareness of its actions, seeing the results of what it does more clearly and sharply, will enable us to better digest and assimilate what we do. The fact of the core muscles being the strength around which this posture operates could suggest that as a whole we need to be paying attention to what is within us, in our core, finding that it is what is within that indeed matters more than what we achieve in the bank balance or material acquisition.

Some Tarot commentators tell us that the image is based on, or can at least be compared to, the ‘myth’ of Odin, from Norse mythology. Odin was always seeking greater wisdom, and it is for this reason that he was prepared to fully sacrifice himself on Yggdrasil, or the World Tree, to obtain the knowledge of the runes, which gave him access to a greater world view and magical knowledge and ability. This was a voluntary sacrifice, and he was prepared to die to obtain his goal, and there he stayed for nine days and nights, being wounded with a spear and pecked by ravens.

One of the things we can apply here is that, once again, the world may appear to be suffering and its axis all askew. However it may be the case that through a time of suffering we can gain a greater awareness and knowledge. The charms and spells Odin gained knowledge and use of were healing for emotional and mental well-being, so perhaps as the year progresses we may find we can apply what we have gained, through ‘trial and tribulation’ is worth such pain and suffering as seems prevalent now.

The Hanged Man would appear to be, of necessity, practising non-attachment, in a very Zen-like manner, of simple acceptance of himself and his place in the scheme of things. It is in this simplicity that he, and perhaps all of us if we adopt such an attitude, can find the bliss that we see emanates from within him. Zen teachings, as well as the lives and works of such luminaries as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi, plus more recently Eckhart Tolle, teach us about the value of non-resistance (and/or non-violent resistance), reaching a point where we can fulfil the adage to ‘Let Go and Let God’ (whatever we perceive him/her/that to be!).

This can bring us to a place where we can see and realise that this greater ‘Divine’ being is something we need to connect to the energy of and allow it to fully pervade us. It may be that in order to achieve this realisation we need to change the way we see things, change our view of the world and its apparent way;, look at what we may need to sacrifice and/or surrender to. Only then may we be able to feel this greater light dwelling within us and allow that to be our guide, allowing the world to become a place more at peace with itself, with something of a ‘higher’ motivation than appears to be the case just now.

As we may know, what we do individually is also reflected collectively, so of ourselves we can consider the following questions, as we move into 2019 –

What are you prepared to sacrifice and surrender to achieve a deeper peace?

How can you see things in your self and life from a Divine perspective and what actions will result from this?

Where is there peace and bliss in your self and life – what practices do you need to maintain to develop and nurture these qualities and energies?

You might like to consider these questions and write your answers down, reviewing them perhaps at the end of each month through the year, as a reminder to keep focussed and on track with the achievement of your development and goals.

The two affirmations I created for my deck of ‘Tarot Affirmation’ cards for the Hanged Man are –

“I open to the highest principle”

“I pause until I know my path and purpose”

These could also be used, the most effective method being to recite these aloud, three times each, three times daily, to fully utilise that amazing creative, productive energy of 3. Do this each morning and night and sometime in the middle of the day.

As we enter the realm and energy of the Hanged Man at the beginning of 2019 it appears that all will not be well with the World and its course. There seems to be continuing pain and suffering sadly, and yet through the sacrifice, and not a little surrender, we can begin to perceive and hopefully allow in, more consciously, a greater set of goals than currently exist, and maybe even more of the presence of the Divine.

'Sacrifice' - The Hanged Man card from 'The Gamble-Hounsome Tarot: The Tarot of Gnosis

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Steve Hounsome
Steve Hounsome
Jan 18, 2019

Thank-you. Yes there is much wisdom in this card I think, but to find it we have to pause, look and listen!


Such a good post, Steve, and so relevant to the world as it is now. I love the Hanged Man. It seems like we live in a very noisy and reactionary world, and pausing for reflection before acting or responding is so needed. I also agree that perhaps from the chaos will emerge a new and more balanced order of things. Interesting you mention Eckhart Tolle, as I am just now reading his book "The Power of Now."

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