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Hanging at the T-Intersection by Linda Marson

Hanging at the T-Intersection by Linda Marson

(an excerpt from Linda’s book “Ticket, Passport, and Tarot Cards“)

The Hanged Man waits patiently at a T-intersection in his life, represented by the living tree from which he hangs. He is in a strong position – the trunk is sturdy and straight, as is the branch that crosses it at right angles. The leaves on the left represent the man’s past, while those on the right symbolize what lies ahead. His left foot points towards the future. If he chooses this direction, seeds sown in his recent past (the single leaves on the left) will grow and take shape in the future (the cluster of leaves near his foot on the right).

The man is well-balanced and his demeanour serene. The red tights represent his energy and capacity for endurance, the blue tunic the clarity of his spiritual understanding and the yellow slippers, hair and halo his intellectual understanding. He has gone through the process of calling himself to account in the preceding card of Justice. He is now taking time to reflect on what he learned about himself so that he can reconnect with his spiritual purpose.

The grey background, devoid of any distractions, is reminiscent of the Hermit, but the Hanged Man is further along the path to enlightenment than the Hermit, who had to carry a lamp to light his path. The Hanged Man, on the other hand, knows what he must do to achieve his spiritual purpose and the Hermit’s lamp has been transformed into the golden aura of understanding around his head.

The Hanged Man is going with the flow of his thoughts, he is looking at everything from a different perspective – he can’t do otherwise since he’s hanging upside down! But ultimately he must swing himself upright, truly accept what he has learned about himself and others, and release what he no longer needs. Then he is free to move forward.

When the Hanged Man appears in your spread, you are being asked to let go, relax and trust that something better will come into your life to replace whatever you need to release. Hanging on to outmoded ways of thinking or to unfulfilling relationships leads you nowhere, leaves you hanging in limbo between the past and the future.

Christopher Columbus

Through uncharted waters

“Well, Christopher, you look very pleased with yourself. From up there on your column you’ve gota good view of the New World.” In Buenos Aires, I was looking up at yet another memorial to explorers who set sail in the 15th and 16th centuries from Europe to chart trade routes to the Far East. I had also seen Christopher in Barcelona high upon another column, where he stands pointing out to sea. “You were heading in the right direction, but the land mass you encountered was the Americas, not the Far East. Still, that’s where the winds took you, so you were meant to be there.”

In a few days I would be flying back to Australia after almost nine months away. More than half that time had been spent in Vienna, but in the last few months I had travelled by train through Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. I had also completed a two week teacher training course in England, where I had met English language teachers from Argentina and Brazil. As it happened, my roundthe-world ticket already took me to Buenos Aires, where I was now enjoying the hospitality of one of the women from the course. With the help of my Visa card, I had also gone to Recife in the north of Brazil at the invitation of yet another woman from the course!

I compared myself to those sea-faring captains of old as they steered a course to the New World.

Along the way they sometimes had to abandon their planned destination and trust that the winds of destiny would take them where they were meant to be. Ironically, history records some of these voyages as accidents. A Portuguese expedition to India in 1500 swung too far westwards and ended up in what is now Brazil. Columbus thought he was in the Far East, but had in fact reached the Bahamas and Central America, from where he went south to Argentina.

Had I ended up in these same destinations by accident or design? Was there a lesson for me in the fascinating mixture of old and new that I observed in Spain and Argentina, Portugal and Brazil? Yes, it was about releasing aspects of the past and trusting that something new and wonderful would emerge. It was about standing on my head to see things from a different perspective.

I saw the controlled passion and beauty of the Spanish flamenco reborn as the tango in Argentina. The rhythmic foot-stamping of the flamenco had metamorphosed into the intricate twists and turns of the tango, where dancers step through the ageold game of seduction, rejection, passion and surrender.

Brazil is a riot of colour, and the people are flamboyant and larger than life. The fantastic costumes of people strutting their stuff in Rio’s Carnival celebrations, the pulsating rhythms of the samba and lush tropical jungles say it all. Portugal is pastel by comparison. There is certainly colour in the intricate ceramic work that adorns heritage buildings, but the colours are muted. People are friendly, but the mood is subdued, almost sedate, compared to the buzz of Brazil.

However, shades of the Old World remain in the architecture and design of cities in the New World. There is a European feel to Buenos Aires with its wide avenues and boulevards, while the streets of the old colonial town of Olinda in Brazil reveal its Portuguese heritage – but the colours are a vibrant shade of pastel!

On the long flight back to Sydney, I thought about how the Hanged Man had been reversed in the spread I did before leaving Vienna on the last leg of my travels. I felt confident that I was going with the flow on the career front, but not so confident in the realm of personal relationships. During these nine months I had kept alive the hope of cementing a relationship that, in my heart, I knew could never be.

Using the imagery of the Hanged Man, I returned to Australia, swung upright at the T-intersection, stepped forward with one foot, but left the other in the past!

The Hanged Man
From the Rider-Waite Tarot published by U.S. Games, Inc.
Questions from the Hanged Man
When you draw the Hanged Man, ask yourself these questions.
  1. Do I have the strength and self-awareness to accept situations for what they really are, and people for who they really are?
  2. Do I understand that through such acceptance, I free myself to move forward and take control of my life?
  3. Do I have the patience to wait for things to follow their natural course of development?
  4. Do I have outmoded attitudes and behaviour patterns that are holding me back, leaving me suspended in mid-air? If so, am I prepared to surrender them in the knowledge that, by doing so, I can move forward and take control of my life?
  5. Do I have the courage to move outside my comfort zone and view things from a different perspective?

Published in the Journal of the Tarot Guild of Australia Inc. The Magician, #18, Autumn/Winter 2005
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Magician Issue 18