The Hanged Man is a curious image of Severity and its implications are very different from the previous paths that connect the Personality and the Higher Self; Severity, because this is the Path of Mem (Meaning-Water) that connects Hod (Splendor) and Geburah (Severity) on the Pillar of Severity.
The Hebrew word-MEM, (Water) is a one of the 3 Maternals, and implies a Baptism in Maternal Waters, as the other 2: The Path of Shin (Art) is a baptism in Fire, and The Path of Aleph-The Fool, is a baptism in Air. Of all these three Baptisms, the Baptism in Water ( Psyche/Consciousness) is the central and pivotal experience of the entire Qabalistic Tree of Life.
Consciousness, is the Alchemical First Principle, also called the Thinking Principle and is referred to the physical image of Water because it is like water in wave motion, and fluid flow. The lowest expression of the First Principle, is first found, by the upward traveling initiate, as the Astral Fluid that is drawn down the Path of the Universe into Yesod, the Foundation Sephiroth. This Thinking Principle, the Astral Fluid, is found as the Stable Intelligence, by virtue of consistency, in all Sephiroth and Paths as it underlies everything that is. Consciousness, includes the Unconscious and Subconscious, 3 different aspects to the One Consciousness.
Pointing downward, the Psyche of Spirit is drowned in the Maternal Waters where upon, perceiving itself as a Soul, as an intrinsic and inseparably part of the One Universal Collective Unconscious. Carl Jung, who coined the phrase, Universal Collective Unconscious, describe this Water of Mem as a "...boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad". To him the First Principle of the Alchemists was also described as Water, as he states, "It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension: where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living begins; where I am individually this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me.....the collective conscious is anything but an encapsulated personal system; it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all the world."
I would highly recommend that the initiate reads the works of Carl Jung, on the Collective Unconscious. Thus gaining a modern understanding of the ancient wisdom. To put it another way, in the state of consciousness we are "always the subject that has an object", a reality that is totally turned around in the Collective Unconscious where, we are "the object of every subject", as stated by Carl Jung.
In other words, our subjective Self, I AM becoming objective Self, Me, when immersed in the Maternal Waters on the Path of Mem. THE HANGED MAN; where the invisible becomes visible. The "head"/Psyche of Spirit is now in the Material World, where the Serpent of Life and Death rules.
The initiate knows that we must move constantly upward (inward) on the Paths of the Tree of Life, for only through the hindsight gained by releasing identity to a higher Sephiroth, can we experience an understanding of the qualities of the lower Sephiroth. The Path of Mem, leads to Geburah (Severity) which is directly above and left of Tiphareth (Beauty); Geburah is the Fiery or Active part of the Higher Self and is shown as Red in color; the color of Mars. This further illustrates the point that Geburah is the fiery energy on the Pillar of Water below Binah. In the Thoth Tarot card of the HANGED MAN, the Womb of Binah, The Great Mother, is where the hanging figure's foot is held; from the oval of the Egyptian Ankh, which is the cross like symbol ( also called the Tau cross) of both Divine Androgyny and Infinity.
To the one who has traveled the Paths to this point, it is to be noted that the Path of Mem, the HANGED MAN, must be approached very differently than the lower paths. Here, the mediator becomes the object of one's own meditation. The individual becomes the "other" which was previously the object of pursuit of the I AM; the "other" now becomes the initiate-Me. Thus it can be said, that the personality meditates in pursuit of the Higher Self, who then becomes or envelopes the personality of the pursuer, absorbing the information and therefore creating a Higher Sensual self.... An intimate self often stated as having "Magick Abilities". The object of manifestation is to perform in-form-action. For Truth is made manifest, not spoken, not read, not painted on a wall; Rather Truth is in the action of information.
The Path of Mem, THE HANGED MAN- Key 12, has a reverse figure on the card that represents the Higher Self imposing a complete reversal of perspective which is a suspension of individual consciousness. Much like the reflected image in the mirror, looking at the real Self- image that is the object of reflection. In this universe, thought is the first material of creation, and when understood, it becomes information, which then becomes Form and/or in-form-action. The Soul then acts out its Self-awareness (understanding of self) as a Self-Image.....you. However, because of the "restructuring" of yourself-awareness by the Worded definitions of Rulers, and/or the Patriarchal culture, there is a membrane of falsehood between you and the Psyche/Soul. Because of this "tower of babel", you are living as an amnesiac, constantly trying to "remember" yourself. First off, you are not a "word". Words are mankind's invention, and you are not. On earth, your identity is controlled by "rulers"
who control definition, which we often call "propaganda". However, the word propaganda, keeps you looking at campaign speeches and not at words in general. All words, are trickery. For when I speak of something, you see what you think that something is as a past thought/experience in your brain and not what I see as a past thought/experience in mine. Communication is sketchy at best when using words. However, a picture... well that is an image made manifest. Communication is a lot clearer when a picture is presented. You know-"a picture is worth a thousand words". You are a Self-Image of the Soul, not of words, but of I AM and you are worth a Universe of Self.
Therefore,the Hanged Man shows us a willing suspension, done by the Psyche's conscious effort, a type of sacrifice or baptism, where the perspective of "I Am" becomes an informed "self-reflection in the Great Sea (see) of Mother Binah, and becomes in-form-action in the material world, i.e. the ME
The HANGED MAN is shown in a suspected state of medieval baffling, and represents the myth of the Dying God. (Dionysus. Osiris, Odin, Christ etc.), Some of my more observant students have asked why the Hanged Man is crucified on the Left Hand Path or one side of the Tree of Life as it would seem logical to have him spanning the Tree. The reasoning behind this one-sided nonfiction, is because this is an intellectual experience, as shown by the legs positioned into the upside down number 4 which is suspended above the Triangle (3) implied by the positioning of the arms. 4 is the number of the Emperor Key/ATU-4 of the Thoth Tarot, and represents the rational qualities of the Mind while 3 is the number of the Empress, the imaginative qualities of the mind (also seen in the number 12, 1+2=3). Thus, positioning the rational qualities of the mind over the desire principle.
This suspension and or crucifixion in space, is what happens when the spinning WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the 10th key and the opposite Path of Caph/Kalph (the Path between Netzach and Chesed) is willfully arrested by the initiate.
The HANGED MAN is repose, while the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is activity both of which form a balance that is known as the activity and passivity of the ONE THING.
Therefore, one of the primary qualities of the HANGED MAN is that it is a Path of eternal probabilities and/or eternal unresolved possibilities. Thus the HANGED MAN is openness without end while THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, is the exact opposite, as it encloses in eternal motion., i.e. making a limited thought pattern and/or Form. When Mem (Water-consciousness) is closed, it becomes the Ankh (a form of the Tau cross) The Ankh represents Mem reversed.
In Crowley's card of the HANGED MAN, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, the figure emphasizes the cross-triangle, and is suspended from the Ankh, being attached to this form of the Tau Cross, by a coiled serpent that symbolizes “the creator and destroyer who operates all change". There is also a lower coiled serpent that represents the effect of the Work of God: As Crowley states in his book of Thoth: "Through his work a Child is begotten, as shown by the Serpent stirring in the Darkness of the Abyss below him."
As I have stated before, this is the card that also shows the reversal of perspective, where the individual identity, looking from the "ground up" see "self", reflected in the light of consciousness (reflecting side of the Mirror of Self), The Greater Self of the Universal Identity (The Dark or non-reflective side of the Mirror of Self) that is manifested as the Universal Collective Unconscious, the Maker of All Things. Successful skrying of this card will reverse perspective, so that the mediator becomes the object of one's own meditation. Which could be stated as, where the Soul is observing the body as a self-reflection, rather than the body seeking its soul.
Just remember that 4 is always a representation of earthly reality. The 3 circles, upon which the Hanged Man is nailed, signify the Divine (Maid, Mother and Crone). This symbol of the Divine is also shown in the 3 nails ( -Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Hence, the divine is nailed to the earthly suffering, hung between the human basic values of life and death. Which is well explained in the crucifiction of the Sun/Son of God and/or myths of the "dying god". What most of us are surprised to learn, is that we represent the "dying god". The Hero who gives his life so that others may live (organic material is recycled from plants to animal and back to plant). To die is to transform, and is also necessary to allow material, to imitate the immortal's immortality by the process of putrefaction, dissolution, solution, to purification, where it can then become "another" form of life. We Soul's volunteer "to be", so that we can be intimate with "Self", rather than just dream it.
Our Soul is immortal, a Divine Self-the I AM, but with our psyche suspended in the material world, we also experience what it is to be "me", and/or a measurement of Self. Limits are measurement, and to know thyself is to know all forms of I Am, including "self-measurement" and/or image. What may surprise you, is that without limitation, you cannot be intimate with Life; Intimate with your most beloved---"other". What the Hanged Man implies is that the Soul's most beloved, is the physical body. For a Master, loves his masterpiece into manifestation. #3 is also Spirit-Mind (psyche)-Body, a trinity of the I AM. It is time to remember that you are "loved into manifestation" and are therefore, an image of Love, not its seeker. What good is a Gepetto without his Pinocchio?
The Tarot of Druids-Key XII, depicts Cu Chulainn, a brave hero who lived during the reign of King Conchobar. His tale seems to be a common Indo-European myth of the dying hero/god. For more information, about this Irish "hercules" just click on the wikipedia link below.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Cú Chulainn (disambiguation).
"Setanta Slays the Hound of Culain", illustration by Stephen Reid from Eleanor Hull, The Boys' Cuchulain, 1904
Cú Chulainn, also spelled Cú Chulaind or Cúchulainn (/kuːˈkʌlɪn/ koo-HUL-in, Irish: [kuːˈxʊlˠɪnʲ] (listen); "Culann's Hound") and sometimes known in English as Cuhullin,[a] is an Irish mythological demigod who appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle, as well as in Scottish and Manx mythology. He is believed to be an incarnation of the Irish god Lugh, who is also his father. His mother is the mortal Deichtine, sister of Conchobar mac Nessa.
Born Sétanta, he gained his better-known name as a child, after killing Culann's fierce guard-dog in self-defence and offered to take its place until a replacement could be reared. At the age of seventeen he defended Ulster single-handedly against the armies of queen Medb of Connacht in the famous Táin Bó Cúailnge ("Cattle Raid of Cooley"). It was prophesied that his great deeds would give him everlasting fame, but his life would be a short one. He is known for his terrifying battle frenzy, or ríastrad (translated by Thomas Kinsella as "warp spasm" and by Ciarán Carson as "torque"), in which he becomes an unrecognisable monster who knows neither friend nor foe. He fights from his chariot, driven by his loyal charioteer Láeg and drawn by his horses, Liath Macha and Dub Sainglend.
Cú Chulainn shows striking similarities to the legendary Persian hero Rostam, as well as to the Germanic Lay of Hildebrand and the labours of the Greek epic hero Heracles, suggesting a common Indo-European origin, but lacking in linguistic, anthropological and archaeological material.
When THE HANGED MAN -ATU 12, is thrown during a reading,
- The querent will be or is, experiencing moments of enforced sacrifice, maybe even punishment.
- Loss that is not voluntary and general suffering.
- This is the Principle of Surrender in order to break old patterns.
- A time when one must accept reversals.
- In the spiritual respect, this is an act of letting go on the path of deepest inner experience.
- Finding wisdom.
- Sacrifice and devotion.
- If the surrounding cards in the layout are ill dignified:
- THE HANGED MAN, represents a state of mystical death in the form of a change of personality/consciousness.
- Resistance and self-sacrifice.
- Being stuck.
- Left hanging in the air.
- Not seeing any purpose in life.
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