Esoteric Tarot Course

Lesson 13

Supplies you will need:


  • 78 Card Deck of your choice (required)
  •  Your Tarot Journal (required)
  •  “The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail,” by Margaret Starbird (buy if you can afford it)
  •  “Tarot Journeys,” by Yasmine Galenorn (buy if you can afford it)
  •  “Tarot in Ten Minutes” by RT Kaser (buy if you can afford it)

12- Hanged Man

As usual, let’s begin by looking at what Margaret Starbird has to say about this card. Read the section entitled “The Hanged Man” in her book before proceeding with the rest of the lesson.

Journal Writing

Go to your journal and start a new page with the words “The Hanged Man” and the number 12 at the top. Now take The Hanged Man card out of your deck and look at it. Again, you may want to step into the card to see if the figure has any messages for you. Be sure to write down everything in your journal. What do you feel, hear, or what things just pop into your head? By now you know that you are exercising your intuition here. What do you see on this card? Take note not only of the figures (both human and animal), but also of colors, shapes, the landscape, vegetation, heavenly bodies and symbols.

Now, in your journal, write down what this card is showing you. Record any key words that come to mind or any feelings the image evokes. Be sure to do this before continuing with the lesson.

What Do These Symbols Mean?


The Hanged Man depicts a slender figure hanging upside down from what would appear to be a cross. The figure wears yellow slippers, red tights, and a blue smock. His head is illuminated with a yellow ball of light or halo. Notice how the figure folds his free leg down below the knee of the leg that has been tied to the beam of leafy wood.

The Symbols

The Hanged Man is a card that perplexes many people and makes others a bit nervous. Is the figure in pain? Is he performing some sort of yoga exercise? Are his hands bound behind his back or is he keeping them there purposefully? The very simplicity of the card leaves more questions unanswered than anything else.

Perhaps, it might be useful to see what Karen Hamaker-Zondag, the Jungian analyst, has to say about the card in Tarot as a Way of Life.

“In all aspects of your daily and social life, you feel as if you are sitting in a waiting room. You do not even know what waiting room it is, or where you are supposed to be going. Things forming under the surface now break through: a reorientation is taking place in yourself and in your life.

The gloss seems to have worn off the pleasant things of life; they have lost their appeal. There is a tendency to stagnate in whatever is not going well. Affairs are not prospering in the world outside: your business is not doing so well, you are less motivated at work, and at home–for no reason at all–you feel rather like a displaced person. In short, you are at loose ends, and don’t know what to do about it.

Nevertheless this is not a negative period–far from it. Part of the religious function has been reactivated, and in this phase we simply cannot keep on toiling and moiling. The Hanged Man is the desire to retire into ourselves and to experience, realize, and above all, to integrate, the humility acquired in the previous phase. It is also the willingness to accept the ups and downs of life as a natural rhythm” (Pp. 155-156).

Perhaps you might make a connection between the Hanged Man and Yeshua, the God-Man who was crucified and, later, rose from the dead, a new creation. Yeshua had to be crucified–hanged and suspended upon the cross–in order to redeem the world, to make it new. Sometimes, we, ourselves, must also experience such a suspension, a death of the self, as it were, in order to be reborn, to achieve a new level of consciousness and spirituality. The Hanged Man symbolizes this phase in our lives, which is often painful and always surprising. Though this card presents a static image, it signifies that we are in the process of great change, that we will come down from the tree new and better.











Reversed Meanings

Unwillingness to make an effort

False prophecy

Useless sacrifice

Guided Meditation: If you have the book Tarot Journeys by Yasmine Galenorn, read the meditation for The Hanged Man, beginning on page 145. This is an excellent book and is brimming over with insights. This meditation is especially useful when you feel the need to release limitations, remove obstacles, or break restrictive patterns in your life.

Let’s Play a Game

Look over the Trump cards we have studied so far (0-12). Choose the card which you find the least appealing, which is your least favorite.

Now, take a good look at the symbols, figures, and colors of this card. It might help to return to your Tarot Journal or to one of the Lessons to more fully remind yourself what this card signifies. Please note what about this card “turns you off.” Sometimes, certain cards seem ugly to us because they have something to say about our lives that we don’t want to or aren’t yet ready to hear. Other cards simply don’t appeal to us and they never will.

Tarot in Ten Minutes

Please read and complete the following lesson from the book Tarot in Ten Minutes. This lesson uses all of the cards from the deck and also requires a scratch pad or piece of loose leaf paper.

Reading # 27, What Is My Mission?

Do the Extra Credit.


1. After reading the section “The Hanged Man” in The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail, please write a paragraph or so giving your “take” on the author’s ideas.

2. What were your key words? What do you feel/intuit that this card represents? Is there someone you know who might be represented by this card?

3. As an exercise, do a web search on the number 12. See if you can find any relevant or interesting associations for this number. (Hint: You might want to focus on sites that deal with numerology, tarot, astrology, magik, or even physiology/anatomy.)

4. If you completed the guided meditation in Tarot Journeys, write a bit about your thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. Why might this meditation be useful when you need to release limitations, overcome obstacles, or break restricting patterns in your life?

5. For the section “Let’s Play a Game”, please describe which card you chose, what about it you don’t respond to, and what, if anything, it might have to say to your present situation.

6. Please detail your responses to Lesson 27 from Tarot in Ten Minutes. Include the Extra Credit.

Email your answers to the Mystery School with “Tarot 13 Answers” in the subject line.

Here’s the new spread for this lesson:

Stages of Change

Change is a necessary and unavoidable part of life. Sometimes, we jump into change, other times we resist it, kicking and screaming. Here is a spread that will help you understand where and why change might taking place in your life right now.

Use all of the cards, both Major and Minor, for this reading. Shuffle them well, then lay out the top five cards in the given pattern.

1 2 3 4 5

Here is what the cards mean:

Card 1 This is over and done with

Card 2 This is over but the effects linger on

Card 3 This is where I’m heading

Card 4 This is what I expect

Card 5 This is what I’m supposed to learn right now.

Once again, try to do this reading without using the printed meanings for the cards. Rely, instead, on your intuition. Make sure to record your findings in your Tarot Journal. As you continue to work with the Tarot, you’ll discover that some readings make more sense in hindsight than they do in the present moment.

Tarot Study Hall |  Mystery School