The Hanged Man calls for a sacrifice. He is the dying god archetype that we see in so many of the world’s religions: Jesus on the cross, Odin suspended from Yggdrasill, Osiris dismembered. But what is the sacrifice that this card demands of YOU?
Every. Single. Thing. Everything that is not of this moment. Everything that is not your breath. The Hanged Man demands you sacrifice your future, your past, your aversions, desires and delusions.
The good news is, none of these things really exist anyway. All that we have, in reality, is right now.
We can expect the Hanged Man to appear in the midst of our greatest struggles. When no matter how hard we strain against the ropes, we can’t break free. We may obsess about the future, lament over the past. Grasp at ANYTHING we can to pull us out of our suffering. Maybe love will help? Or sex? Or wine, or drugs. Or a new job, a new car, a child…
We cling and we run. We grasp and we abandon. Nothing works.
The Hanged Man says nothing. And in that silence he communicates that it’s time to be still. You don’t have a choice anyway, most of the time. What can your choice be, when there is no escape?
Pema Chodron says: “Being right on the spot nails us. It nails us right to the point of time and space that we are in. When we stop there and don’t act out, don’t repress, don’t blame it on anyone else, and also don’t blame it on ourselves, then we meet with an open-ended question that has no conceptual answer. We also encounter our heart. As one student so eloquently put it, ‘Buddha nature, cleverly disguised as fear, kicks our ass into being receptive.
Be receptive. That’s where juice is. That’s where life happens.