The Hanged Man: Predictive Tarot Card Meanings

The Hanged Man is the card of sacrifice. The cards predict that something in your life - wether that is your love life, relationships or business - will need to be given up in order for you to gain something you desire.

The Hanged Man often makes an appearance when you must play the martyr. You must let go of something you are close to so that you can get something else in return. You may have to give up your time, money or something you love. Whatever that resource is, you must go through the sadness of giving it up so that you can have something else.

In a Tarot card reading, The Hanged Man in a spread can be a symbol of sacrifices, prophecy and waiting. This post includes a vintage and modern fortune telling meanings of The Hanged Man, ideal for the advanced reader or those just learning the cards. These interpretations can be used with any of the decks (Rider Waite, Marseilles etc). Cards used in post is The Hanged Man from The Wild Unknown Tarot deck.

Generally, The Hanged Man simply predicts that you will be on edge for the period which the card represents. The outcome of a particular situation looks uncertain. Are you desperate to take action? Perhaps the cards are advising you that you must wait until more information is available.

Sometimes The Hanged Man can predict sickness and illnesses. Treatment may be a long and difficult road but it is necessary for you to get better. The future of your health may remain unclear at this time, but you must continue exploring every avenue possible.

Another interpretation is that the Hanged Man represents divination and prophecy. This interpretation comes around due to Norse mythology. The God Odin hung himself so that he could learn the wisdom of the runes. Therefore, in fortune telling the symbol of someone hanging can represent an increase in psychic ability.

Waiting for an outcome can be positive or negative, depending on the feel of the reading. If the reading looks positive then The Hanged Man says that all is going well for now and you have just to have patience. If the reading looks negative, The Hanged Man advises that the results of a situation will reveal themselves in their own time.

On a more sinister note, I have seen The Hanged man make an appearance after a seeker has lost a family member to suicide.

The Hanged Man Historical Meaning

The ancient interpretation for The Hanged Man is very similar to the modern meaning. Just like it does in modern times, the card represented wisdom and self-sacrifice.

It is interesting that Mathers includes the interpretation of devotion for The Hanged Man. If using this meaning, you can say that, for better or worst, you’re devoted to a cause or goal. 

The Hanged Man in a Love Reading

In general, I would argue that The Hanged Man is not a very good card to see if you’re performing a love reading. This is especially true if your reading is about the future of the relationship.

It is fairly common to see The Hanged Man in readings where the other partner is not sure about what they want or how they are feeling about you. They question if they would actually like to be in the relationship and this uncertainty can spill over onto you. You may begin to wonder where you stand with your lover. You probably find it difficult to ‘read’ your partner and don’t know where the relationship is heading (and if you are not in this position now, the chances are you will be in the future).

In my experience, I have found that The Hanged Man represents a troubled ending for a partnership. It means that a relationship will end and you will not be sure why. You cannot pinpoint exactly what went wrong, your lover has just left you hanging. The Hanged Man is the precursor for a confusing relationship and even more baffling ending.

The Hanged Man in a Business Reading

Like in a love reading, The Hanged Man is rarely all unicorns and kittens when it lands in your career reading. It predicts a time of uncertainty. I would say that The Hanged Man can serve as a warning. If you’re planning on launching a new project, I’d avoid it for now.

The Hanged Man in a business Tarot reading represents a time when you will not have your footing. You will not be able to work out where you’re going wrong. Because you can’t see why nothing is progressing, you won’t know what you have to do to improve. Everything will be a big confusing mess.

Because The Hanged Man is a card of patience, this can mean that your company will grow very slowly. Your business will take a lot longer to turn a profit than what you are anticipating. For now, I would put off your plans or, before you jump in head first blindly, research the market a bit more.

The Hanged Man as a Yes or No

The Hanged Man can be a no but I would read it as an uncertainty, so neither a yes or a no just yet.

The Hanged Man in a Positive Reading

In a positive reading, The Hanged Man can predict;

Hanged Man Tarot card meaning for love, romance and relationships.

- Spiritual development

- Gifted diviners 

- Having time to wait

- Transitions

- Psychic ability

The Hanged Man in a Negative Reading

In a more negative reading or spread position, The Hanged Man can predict;

 - Suicide

- Prison sentences

- Ill health

- Uncertain outcomes

- Playing the waiting game

If you’re curious what your lover (or potential lover’s) feelings and intentions are towards you, below I have a free Intentions Tarot Guide. The Intentions Tarot Guide includes tips, spreads and meanings which will reveal what your partner is feeling about you and your relationship. This guide is 100% free and downloadable on mobile, tablet and computer! 

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The Hanged Man Tarot card meaning. An illustration from the Major Arcana with the Rider Waite Tarot deck. Post by divination and fortune-telling with Tarot for love, romance and relationships. Ideal for readers who are just learning the interpretations.