What does the hanged man tarot card mean?

Main image for The Hanged Man

The hanged man is part of the Major Arcana deck of tarot cards.

Card XII

As the name suggests, this card is represented by a Hanged Man. However, the man is usually suspended upside down, indicating that his worldview has changed and is different to everyone around him. He is wearing blue, the colour of knowledge and wisdom, and often has a halo around his head to signify his newfound insights and awareness of the spiritual world.


The Hanged Man is a card that represents taking a break and possible delays. Sometimes it’s necessary to pause and rest for a while in order to reflect and connect with your inner self and the spiritual world.

Often, we know ourselves and when we need to step back and take a break, but sometimes we ignore this urge and carry on. In this case, the universe will often take over and force us to pause.

You may be experiencing delays in a project that are causing some frustration because you are keen to move forward but are incapable of doing so.

Take this as a good thing, and use this time to look at things from a different perspective. Personally, now is a good time to have some space and practice some self-care and reflection.

Reverse Meaning

In reverse, the Hanged Man suggests that you are avoiding your inner thoughts and feelings by keeping busy and distracted.

There may be a trauma or other issue that is causing you pain but you simply don’t want to deal with, so are simply ignoring it instead. This is not bound to end well and this card is a message to hit pause and take some time to allow yourself to breathe and feel.

Burying issues in the sand never works because they will eventually resurface bigger and harder to deal with later.

Alternatively, you may have been feeling stuck for a while now, with projects on hold and things not going to plan.

In this case, this card is often a sign that things are about to start moving again, so prepare yourself to get back into the swing of things once more.

Other Major Arcana Cards