The Hanged Man

I am not really practiced in the art of tarot, but we have a deck just because the cards are cool to look at and think about. Plus I use them as bookmarks. I thought it would be fun to offer Persephone a draw so I shuffled them up and cut the deck a few times and fanned the cards out, face down, and let her take her pick.

I was surprised and a little alarmed to see she’d drawn The Hanged Man. Yikes, I thought, that can’t be good.

The Hanged Man

But, of course, things are often not what they seem in tarot. The Hanged Man does not represent the execution of a criminal. Instead, many people connect this image to Odin, the Norse god, who hung upside down from a tree for nine days to acquire wisdom — in the form of the runic alphabet. The card is thus associated with wisdom, prophecy, sacrifice, waiting, suspension, meditation.

Still, it seemed like an odd card for a baby to draw. The Hanged Man seems like an image of some maturity. This is the first card of her life after all. I sort of expected something with more resonance.

Then I came across this reference on Wikipedia:

[The Hanged Man] is the Dying God who dies each year, whose rebirth renews the world.

Hello — Persephone? So that was a bit of a surprise. The Hanged Man is also associated with Passion of Christ, and of course Christ is, like Persephone, a life-death-rebirth figure. So maybe there is a connection here.

And then you have Kim Norton who wrote meditations on the Hanged Man and Persephone apparently back to back in the summer of 2005. But now I am stretching.

I don’t take any of this too too seriously. I enjoy it because it provides opportunities to reflect on how our modern lives connect to ancient thoughts. Anyway, it beats contemplating the current state of race relations in our city government. Jeez, that is some depressing stuff.

When I posted this on Flickr, Brother O’Mara shared a photo from a friend of his.

New ink

Wow. That takes it to a whole ‘nother level

2 Replies to “The Hanged Man”

  1. Scottica says:

    Tarot is so Eurocentric…I prefer to roll the Zulu chicken bones.

  2. […] you were disturbed by the picture I posted recently of the girl handling a tarot card. I hope to set your mind at ease somewhat, and was pondering what I might say when Persephone took […]

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