What’s the Hanged Man Doing Up There?

When we hear the term “hanged man,” certain gruesome imagery comes to mind. But that’s not the vibe of this card. The Hanged Man in the tarot looks pretty ok with everything that’s happening. Throughout my life, I read several interpretations of this card- each more confusing than the last. At least until I was introduced to a certain Norse God…

Hanged Man Tarot Card in The Major Arcana

The Hanged Man in the Traditional RWS deck.

Odin’s Quest

The world of Norse mythology and legends is one with many charismatic characters, epic journeys, and dramatic twists.

Odin is the All-Father, the King of Kings, the Big Cheese if you are so inclined. He’s a sage; someone everyone looks to for guidance. But he is never satisfied with his level of knowledge. He’s kind of a David Blaine type character. You know when David Blaine announces that he’s going to suspend himself in goo for nine days, and no one asked him to, but he needs to know that he can? Odin is like a less showbizzy version of that. Though, he does have his own sense of razzle-dazzle.

Anyway. I digress.

The central figure to Norse mythology is Yggdrasil, the tree of life. This tree houses the nine worlds within this mythological universe. To gain ultimate knowledge and wisdom, Odin knows he needs a new perspective. He takes the task at hand seriously, suspending himself from Yggdrasil for nine days. Not only that, he’s pierced by his own weapon the entire time. Hear more about his journey here.


The Hanged Man Tarot Card

The Hanged Man of the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans.

So What Does Odin Have to Do With Me?

Three words to keep in mind for the hanged man tarot card: sacrifice, surrender, and perspective. When you want to achieve great things in life, you’ll be engaged with both concepts. Take me, for example. I’m a creative who’s always been looking for that big moment of discovery. That montage where you shake hands with the right person and the world’s your oyster. But it hasn’t happened for me thus far. I’ve been stuck in wide eyed The Fool mode for some time. I know a lot of people who’ve stumbled into a great deal, but I can’t hold myself to that standard. The only way out of a mundane life for me is:

Sacrifice: Work hard. Write and perform even when it doesn’t feel great. Miss out on what I want to do for something I have to do. Spend my extra time researching the greats instead of vegging out with something I’ve watched 10 times.

Surrender: Know that, while I will get something out of this effort, it may not be what I expect. There are any number of people out there who are living different dreams than the ones they started with. But if you keep that tunnel vision going, you’ll miss out on those little sparks of opportunity. Keep your eyes (and your mind) open. Surrender to the mystery.

Perspective: What do I have to offer? How is it different than what everyone else is doing? Tune in to the world around you, what’s needed and what there may be too much of.

Easier said than done, especially during a pandemic. But there’s always a little something you can do to show the universe your intention. (Like me actually updating my blog, for example. How long has it been…?)

the hanged man tarot card

For my Hanged Man, I thought of a squirrel that uses mental and physical gymnastics to achieve its goals.


The Hanged Man tarot card has a lot to offer. As one of the later cards in the deck suggests, you’re ready to take yourself to the next level. Are you wondering how this card applies to your life and if it may come up in a personal reading? Book an appointment to see what’s in the cards for 2021.