Tarot of 2019
Tarot for 2019
The Tarot Card for 2019 is Arcana XII
The Hanged Man also known as The Spirit of the Mighty Waters
‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need’ Tao Te Ching
Its time to be authentic! Following on from a year of consequences and change, we now enter a year of reflection; probably welcome after all that tumult! Insight, clarity and wisdom are all to be gained from learning the lessons of the past year and how we are dealing with the tumultuous changes around us.
How did we stand when the cards were stacked against us? Did we have the courage of our convictions or did we feel unable to justify our stance? And how gracious were we with success, compassionate with our joy and condemning against the ‘other’ in our lives?
What does this new year of the Hanged Man bring us? An understanding of the ‘other’; how we confront those that betray us or where we have betrayed our own principles and philosophies; releasing that which no longer serves us well, purifying our minds of outdated concepts that are no longer valid in the world we live in, yet binding ourselves to that which we value such as honour and integrity. It’s a baptism of water over the fires of revolution – may the Phoenix rise from the ashes!
The ‘Other’ or the Traitor
The ‘other’ is quite significant this year as the Hanged Man was once known as the traitor and goodness knows that word has been bandied about right, left and centre of late. Who has been your ‘other’ this year? Was it your boss, an ex, a family member or was it wider than that – Brexit and Trump? It seems as if the current tide pushes people to be for or against in a binary fashion, rather than ‘in between’ which is a shame, because the in between can be a very special place to be, a liminal space where all is possible, the mind is open to knowledge and insight and the heart also seeks understanding without judgement.
However, coming into this card from last year’s card of Justice, the theme of what is fair and what is not, is what has engaged us, as we struggle to find new ways of re-interpreting politics, gender diversity, education and media, health, wealth and power. What feels ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ can enflame even the most sensitive and there isn’t even the luxury of not making up your mind, the cultural tide demands we take sides.
People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed’ (Nietzsche)
This tarot card from around 1500 and a deck known as the Gringonneur deck, shows an unusual hanged man, holding two bags of money and highly recognisable as a ‘Pittura infamante’, known as a shame painting in Italy (also Germany). In sixteenth century Italy, the tradition of hanging drawings upside down along bridges or city walls depicting people who had either escaped justice or blame in some way, was common. Traitors themselves were actually hung upside down, such as Mussolini. In this card, the traitor is holding bags of money which may be a reference to Judas. There was a clear reference to punishment too in many apocalyptic paintings of figures inverted into various places in hell and was a punishment reserved for the worst offenders.
Acting from a place of revenge, or of demonising the other can lead us to dark places. How do we feel when ourselves are judged unfairly? How can we show the compassion we wish for ourselves – to others? Do we join the bandwagons of hate and condemnation or do we keep our powder dry and reflect inwardly on the wise thing to do? Do we follow the cultural tide or stand alone for our convictions? A traitor one day is often a saviour the next, it frequently depends on perspective. Of course we are part of the equation – the need to protect and defend ourselves, to follow our true purpose and to be authentic to our core, is of paramount importance if we are to have any integrity. But at what cost? And where do we need to find the alchemical mix that offers real transformation as opposed to self-focused power?
‘If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want will be the sacrifice’ anon
Another theme from the Hanged Man is that of sacrifice. What do we give up for the greater good? Meat, dairy, cheap products from slave labour, long haul holidays in favour of the environment, money for wellbeing? The list is endless and out of a thousand decisions comes the life that we lead. So those decisions had better be worthwhile. We have to live with them and one day, may even have to account for them. Sometimes, sacrifices are the price that we managed to get away with years ago and somehow has caught up with us. A song by Eels comes to mind; ‘Don’t take any wooden nickels, when you sell your soul, a devil of a time awaits you, when the party’s over, you’re on your own’.
The myth of Odin is relevant here and I smile at the part where it is not enough for Odin to hang three days and three nights on the Yggdrasil awaiting insight, he has to pluck out one of his eyes. How many times have we sought understanding, for it not to come, for us to be left hanging across an abyss of uncertainty. The meaning here is clear, inner refection requires a serious intent, enough for us to want to give up our own habits and connections, the ones that stand in the way of our greater understanding and wellbeing. Yes, it hurts to do so. Its why so many of us come back from the tree empty handed.
‘Forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you’ Shannon L. Alder
Dreams and Inner Reflection
‘The way we reflect the world around us is the direct reflection of the world within us’ anon
Dreams and inner reflection form the ‘Mighty Waters’ that the Hanged Man immerses himself in – the waters of the unconscious, the spiritual, the dreamworld and the fantasies that both feed and distract us. Its gift is our ability to soar beyond the known into the unknown; its challenge is to not fly too high – Icarus learned that the hard way.
In Crowley’s Hanged Man, he removed the gallows as the idea of sacrifice and punishment did not fit well with his idea of the new aeon and he felt they belonged more appropriately to the previous age. In this new age of fire, the only redemption for Crowley does not fit around sacrifice or debt but around the enlightened, those who are able to lead the way, should step up and lead! The dominant colour of blue and green refers to Neptune as the ruling planet of this card and Venus as the number of the Hanged Man when reduced to 3 (1 + 2). Love here is key. Do our decisions come from a place of love? Does our judgement include compassion? And does that love include self-love as well as love for others, animals and the planet? No wonder we hang in the balance, sometimes, we just cant decide what is true and what is fake news!
The serpent features in this card; binding the ankle to the ankh cross, suggesting binding oneself to the source of life and beneath the figure, coiled 4 times in a dark space, possibly suggesting the womb, bringing us to transformation, wisdom and new birth, that which could be come our new ‘normal’ when bound completely to the will and wisdom of our highest potential.
Twelve represents a full cycle of experience where the soul has accumulated strength and wisdom over a long time and yet, the person may still be hindered by old habits that tie them to outdated ways of being and limited understanding. The soul then attracts what it needs as a learning experience. What is it that prevents you from growing, from achieving and from understanding? Where philosophies and dreams are you tied to?
The symbolism of the Hanged Man reeks of inner reflection: a golden halo reveals enlightenment; His hidden hands represent submitting to the higher wisdom over lower needs and his body forms the symbol of sulfur, an alchemical symbol for the soul. (Paracelsus). The Tau cross is known as a Crux Commissa, meaning a cross that has been assigned a mission by a higher authority, perhaps suggesting that a sacrifice that we are undergoing has a higher purpose.
The Hanged Man is to be found on Path 23, the path from Geburah to Hod, where action and will power are baptised in the waters of life and are able to communicate more truthfully and authentically. It is a path of purification, of submersing our will to a spiritual dimension, to releasing intellect and the requirements of our material needs and to make way for new imaginative and potentially pioneering insights. Geburah destroys the old to make way for this new birth but needs to be restrained from throwing the baby out with the bathwater; Hod can blot out spirituality in favour of intellect, but again needs to contain knowledge that will assist its clarity. Here the mind is transformed with honesty and we are released by Geburah from what holds us back, whatever that might be.
So it is no surprise that the letter ruling this path is Mem, representing the mother of water. This is the baptism of the mind, freeing it to the needs of higher and wider spiritual dimensions and in the Hanged Man, we immerse ourselves head first in spiritual consciousness until we can see that we are inseparable from the Whole and we become one with the bigger picture.
Despite the feeling of hanging or being in limbo, the spiritual intelligence of this path is the Stable Intelligence. Surrendering to such an inner strength and wisdom means we are no longer thrown by circumstances that life brings us but find an inner understanding in our devotion to higher principles. This encourages us to let go of that which we cannot control, to focus on that which we can affect and to accept different ways, unless they are destructive to our wellbeing, be that personal or global. Ay, there’s the rub – how can we be sure which is which?
‘Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values’. Dalai Lama
And so it is clear things may not always go the way we want next year, that some of us may feel stuck, or limited, restricted with people or situations that appear to hold us back. If that is so, then find a new perspective, release yourself inwardly over any power they have over you and find your own wisdom. No one can own that but you. In finding these new ways of living, of inventing new traditions and organisations, the core difficulty will be to maintain integrity, honour and compassion whilst we ride the tides of change and our own baptism of the mind will confront us within families, friends, the workplace and the changing nature of the world we live in. Where do we stand in 2019 and how authentic is that for us? What do we need to confront, what do we need to sacrifice and what do we need to embrace that will prevent us from being stuck in a binary world of ‘others’.
What do the planets have in store that we can delve into, in a tarot vein, for 2019?
2019 starts with Uranus heading direct in January in the sign of Aries until March, the Fool acting as Emperor – I can think of who that might apply to! But the macrocosm is a mirror for our own worlds and will also briefly encourage us to think outside the box and be confident and bold with our plans and our visions for our future. Become the King of your dreams and lead yourself forward to manifest them!
For the first three months, all planets are direct, (except Mercury which goes retrograde in Pisces – here the dreamy side of Pisces, ruled by Neptune which is the ruling planet of the Hanged man will encourage us to trust our dreams and to interpret them with our own insight and intuition before putting them into action. Ask yourself what could keeps you from manifesting your dreams? What no longer serves your wellbeing?
Four planets at the start of the year are in their ruling signs, Mars in Aries, Jupiter in Sagittarius, Saturn in Capricorn and Neptune in Pisces – here the energy is direct and strong.
Mars in Aries (The Tower and the Emperor) accentuates our willpower, our courage, our boldness and our ability to ruthlessly cut out that which does not serve us well. If we have answered the questions above, we should know now what holds us back, keeps us imprisoned and prevents us from truly being ourselves. Its usually us, believing in something that no longer works for us, trusting people that don’t feel the same, staying in the same place, same job or same environment because we don’t know where to go. Now you can change that. The universe gives you permission to be the emperor of your life – but you have to let go of a few things to do so. The Tower releases you with its revelation of truth – but can you act upon it?
Jupiter in Sagittarius (The Wheel and Temperance) encourage us to travel, explore, learn and open up new perspectives by learning from different cultures and that specifically highlights education, the law and religion – all are going to have to make changes for the better and if they don’t, exposure and legislation may force their hands. With one foot in the water and one on land, Temperance guides us to understand the phenomenal changes and find a place where we can live the life that serves us well whilst at the same time, considering our impact on the world around us. I am hopeful that this will also representing a shifting perspective on the value of nature and the protection of the environment.
All the efforts made into walls and borders have a sense of being a despairing last grasp of controlling powers resisting and restricting (Saturn in Capricorn – the World and the Devil) when the shift is actually growing and moving, bringing humanity closer to a global perspective. Even if that is frightening for some, all the walls and borders won’t stop it happening. But for some the year will be a roller coaster of the exciting boldness and expansion of the wheel and the tower, balancing with the serious and time – owned energy of Saturn. One day we will be flying and the next, we will be counting the days…
In March, Uranus returns into Taurus (The Fool returning to the Hierophant) where it will be for 7 years – enough time for us to understand what we consider to be of value in the world, including quality of life, usefulness to our community, meaning, purpose and fulfilling our true potential. Inner values both personally and collectively are likely to be questioned and shifted. Personal good and benefit will be weighed against the collective good. We shall certainly make decisions based on these shifting realisations that are coming more from our souls than from a sense of duty that is more the past era than the current one.
If you are going to make any moves towards your dreams, make them big but make sure they are rooted in the earth. Be patient for the right season for your seeds to grow, attend to them one step at a time and meanwhile, don’t sell your soul for any wooden nickels!
Pluto (Judgement) continues its stay in Capricorn (Devil) until 2024. Corrupt organisations, leaders, high profile people and past stories have been exposed globally and now the planet that represents the King of the Underworld, is settling into the devil of a detail. So we have this sense that whilst there is still a tidal wave of revolution, change and shifts in perspective happening, its going to take time. No one will be pleased to hear that but unfortunately, the outworn structures in our world are likely to take some shifting.
‘One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious’ Carl Jung
Don’t misunderstand the power of the God of the Underworld though! Whilst Pluto rises up and exposes all that within us, so that outmoded ways of thinking are likely to be questioned by those we know, demanding that we justify our stance, know our sources and have the humility to change direction if we are wrong – it will also seek to transform and it will be a task for the truly brave. Pluto will confront us with our own shadow and we can either deny it and crawl along driven by our own dark thoughts and despair or we can rise from the ashes of our fallen towers, the revelations of our lives, look straight into the darkness and take a step forward.
Whatever you choose, may the Gods of Fortune smile upon you, the changes in your lives transform you and may you rise, like the Phoenix from the ashes, from that which no longer serves you well