(i) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card YouTube Presentation
This is my YouTube presentation of the Thoth Hanged man Tarot Card on my channel DavidH071. Clicking on the image below will start the video.
The Hanged Man theme can be said to be similar to a Baptism (at least in the spiritual sense of the event) whereby we are reborn with a higher perspective. I have discussed true baptism in another article on this website
However Crowley emphasises that it has nothing to do with religious sacrifice and sin :
So religion has got it badly wrong in terms of equating spiritual awakening with sacrifice and sufferingand we explore these themes in detail below.
(ii) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card
He hangs by his left foot from an inverted Ankh with a coiled serpent wrapped around his foot.
Some introductory themes:
“the descent of light into darkness in order to redeem it. BOT p 96”
“a baptism which is also a death. BOT p 96”
“annihilation of the self into the beloved” (we can see just how deep Crowley’s vision is compared to your standard interpretation. BOT p 96″
“In this card the only question is of the redemption of the submerged element.. the idea of sacrifice is a wrong idea” (and later describes the notion of sacrifice as like the appendix in man.. no longer useful. BOT p 96-97)
He even describes redemption as a :
“bad word as it implies debt .BOT p 97”
So in this last statement we have a fundamental difference from the Waite card.
(iii) Historical Variations in the Hanged Man Tarot Card
Tarot de Marseille Card = Left
Rider Waite Card = Centre
Thoth Card = Right
As we can see the Waite version has the left leg crossed with the foot pointing right (East), where as both the Tarot de Marseilles and Thoth Cards have the right leg crossed with the foot pointing left (West). So what is the significance of this difference ?
When the untied leg points West as in the Thoth and Tarot de Marseilles Trump, it means that we UNCONSCIOUSLY stumble upon these learning situations, where as in the Waite Tarot when the free foot points east it implies that we CONSCIOUSLY look for these situations of learning. For those that have followed the Mystic Bible teachings on the website, this is similar to the spiritual consciousness being on the right side EAST (Garden of Eden) and mans carnal side on the left or WEST compass point.
We can also see that Crowley removed the gallows evident in the previous cards as he states that these earlier versions were related to suffering and punishment connected to a previous age of man or Aeon as he calls it. The Ankh is connected to the purity of spirit through the white spiritual light of Kether.
The Hanged Man’s legs are crossed in the same way as those of the Emperor(Aries) forming a number 4 is a man who has achieved much in the material world. He directs his will outwards into the world.
The Hanged Man similar in that he needs to apply a direction of Will to move forward but this is directed more towards the spiritual/emotional realms being associated with water.
(iv) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card and The Tree of Life
Occupies the path between Geburah and Hod, directly opposite the Wheel of Fortune. The latter, ruled by Jupiter had a sense of positivity and ‘good fortune’ about it, something this card does not share. This card is on the Pillar of Severity on the Tree of Life and so we have this idea of restriction inherent in the cards meaning which is evident in the symbolism.
Geburah = ruled by Mars, is connected to man’s energy which is finite. We have limitations as humans and have fundamental needs such as water, food and shelter and yet we are supposed to be a channel for God and an instrument for his work. It is also to do with Mars destroying the old so that the new can be formed. Old patterns and habits are lost.
Hod = the intellect of man and in the Hanged Man this translates in deceiving him of being a victim to circumstances in his daily world and therefore blots out any spirituality in favour of a mundane existence. Hence the bent leg faces west for unconscious action. Our lower mind becomes transformed and we have a clearer understanding of our life. It is illuminated by the light of Kether after Geburah has destroyed what are holding us back emotionally and spiritually.
(v) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card Hebrew and Elemental Attribution
Attributed to water and has a deceptive quality because of this and easily misinterpreted.
Mem = the ocean.
Water connection = the sea of Binah, the third sephiroth representing the field of potential experience available in a human body
This is part of a TRINITY with the Fool which represents air and the Aeon representing fire :
These are linked to the Greek Planes of Consciousness explained in a previous article and summarised below:
(vi) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card Symbology
A card of restriction or punishment which may or may not be deserved. The nails in the hands and feet have some religious similarities to the crucifixion of Christ. As we know from the article on Thelemas Three Aeons, the idea of a sacrificial God in one from a previous aeon and one that Crowley wants to move away from.
The theme of this card is of SELF SACRIFICE and yet Crowley was against this whole idea which he regards as endemic to human morality. Crowley would say there is no inherent badness and that all is illusory.
This card represents mans fear of his own limitations.
Ankh = a symbol of life but it is also connected to the letter TAU which means Cross and is therefore connected to Christ. This T shape is similar to the T shape of the gallows in earlier decks.
The Letter Tau is associated with the Universe card and the completion of the Great Work or the path of the soul reuniting with God and this letter is seen in the lower left corner of the card :
It also represents the 5th power of the sphinx meaning ‘to GO’ , which can only be realised when the other 4 powers have been mastered, to KNOW, to WILL, to DARE and to KEEP SILENT. They are related to astrology and this will be the subject of a future article.
Serpent linked to Ankh = associated with Chockmah (coiled twice = second sephiroth) and the wisdom of God and this binds the man’s foot to the Ankh or the source of life itself. So mans life is intimately connected with the will and wisdom of God and yet Chockmah also carries with it duality being the number 2 and with duality comes both life and death.
Light of Kether = at the top of the card. Green is associated with Venus. With its inclusion it is implying that God is Infinite Love and has Infinite Love for his creation and manifested self. It also implies that every experience is an act of LOVE
Green Air below Kether = the influence of Venus and LOVE
Body shape = triangle surmounted by a cross is a symbol of Light entering the darkness. The cross is matter, the triangle the Holy Trinity.
Man = connects Kether and Malkuth. His head is in the centre of the triangle formed by his hands and torso:
This is similar to the single eye in the pyramid on the Dollar Bill representing Enlightenment :
Nails in hands = shaped like the letter Vau :
This links him with the Hierophant as being a transmitter of spirituality as he is attributed to the letter Vau.
The hands are very significant to the role of the Hanged Man and how he fulfills that role. One of Crowley’s axioms is:
“Love is the Law, the Law under Will ( AL 1: 57)
Green Disks = Love
Nails = Vav which is related to Taurus which is again connected to the sphinx and the action of WILL.
So put together the the Hanged Man acts out of Love following his spiritual impulse and therefore this card moves away from the idea of sacrifice
Serpent in Malkuth = black/flecked gold, a symbol of the lowest form of the creation as these colours are related to the 10th sephiroth, Malkuth on the Princess scale, which is the lowest scale of colour. It is contained within a black shape symbolic of the womb.
Black waters of womb = like Binah which gives birth to form as we see on the left in the supernal triangle of the Tree of Life
Serpent coiled 4 times = 4 the number of structure and manifestation and here represents the serpent of new life which happens through letting go of that which is spiritually holding us back.
Here we have the concept that God has manifested creation to be able to redeem himself as in his infinite state there are no parts, separation, colours. This is known as the GREAT WORK in getting the soul back to God.
18 rays = from the mans head into this womb, 18 being the number of Chai which means LIFE in Jewish. This connects with what we stated above with the triangle above a cross with the Hanged Man bringing spiritual light into the darkness of matter and so this is a very important feature of the card.
Grid of small dark squares = his legs are crossed within the dark square and this relates to the Enochian System of Magick with the cross of spirit (mans legs) on the combining the 4 elements that make life in Malkuth:
(viii) The Lust to Hanged Man Transition
On the Tree of Life we have LUST occupying the path between Chesed and Geburah. It contains the qualities of both The Hanged Man (Geburah, restricting, destructive) and The Wheel of Fortune (Chesed , structure, building). The Hanged Man moves on from Lust in that the latter uses the energy of the Lust card to the highest good bridging the gap between spirit and matter. This may take the form of teaching meditation /spirituality altruistically and because that is our greatest passion in life. It is also moving away from the nation of self-sacrifice in a negative way such as associated with religious dogma but implying the willing sacrifice of ones lower desires for a spiritual life, and letting go of any guilt/remorse that we have had over our past.
(ix) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card Divinatory Meanings
This card is saying that the debt that man feels to God is an illusion because we are in fact made by him and we have our own divinity and purpose to fulfill.
We can only ever be who we are, we cannot be someone else. We can only be that which we were made to be.
Thoth Hanged Man Upright
1.The opportunity to redeem oneself in a situation if it has turned sour. We now have the opportunity to put things right (bringing light into the darkness).
2. Watery nature of card = its relationship to spirit or the emotions. Emotions are like water and should flow, and water is also represented Biblically as ‘spirit’. Therefore this card implies redemption or repair of a situation that is related to an emotional event or any transgressions we have made spiritually.
3. Losing emotional ties to guilt from past events.
4. Helping people spiritually for the highest good. Giving.
5. In the Thoth card there is also the distinct implication of freedom from guilt or blame which is very much a Christian/religious/ previous Aeon concept.
6. The need to give up something ‘lesser’ for something much more fulfilling emotionally and spiritually.
Thoth Hanged Man Reversed
- A period of self punishment and guilt about life/the past.
- Self sacrifice to a detrimental effect when such an action is not necessary.
- Someone who manipulates spirituality for their own personal gain.
- Someone whose life is literally being turned upside down at the moment.
- He can sometimes represent the person who has waited too long, who is perhaps scared to change. We need to summon the courage to move on from the status quo.
- Sometimes non action will help to shed more light on what other options are available to you and will allow more attractive opportunities to emerge.
(x) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card in the Celtic Cross Spread
1 : Heart of the Situation = Need to take time out to find something that will be more fulfilling emotionally and spiritually to what you are doing now
2 : Possible obstacle = stuck in the past with guilt, lack of confidence, unable to move forward anew
3 : Unconscious Influences = guilt, self remorse we have not acknowledged or worked through
4 : Recent Past = a situation in which you have felt trapped and unable to express yourself.
5 : Hopes and goals = to be emotionally and spiritually fulfilled and be free of past/present hurts and actions
6 : Short Term Future = the need to meditate and reflect. Get some space on the situation before acting
7 : Our Self Image in this situation = working through the past to be a better reflection of spirit. Able to help others more
8 : Environment = restriction, people not accepting you as you are now and you feel unable to move forward in this environment.
9 : Guidance & Warning = we need to take up the challenge and move forward to better ourselves. We cannot say stuck in the present or past. We are here to be the highest expression of who we can be.
10 : Overall Outcome = resolving past issues to find emotional and spiritual freedoms we did not initially think were possible.
(xi) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card and The Journey of The Fool
(xii) Thoth Hanged Man Tarot Card Links.
→ Polyphonic Tarot :
→ Marveena Meek :