In the Tarot there are many who feel that the Fool begins his journey new-born and unaware of the dangers they may face. He seems reckless and headstrong because the Fool only acts on instinct. The Fool has no concept of others, only self. I agree with this assertion, though I urge everyone to do their own research and meditations if you practice reading or are just vaguely interested in it.
The card I want to talk about today is the Hanged Man. I love listening to music of all flavors, and whenever I hear Mumford & Sons – The Cave. I feel they are speaking on many levels of sacrifice, awareness, and emergence that ring in close harmony with the Hanged Man (or Woman!). I also have a part-time hobby of listening to songs and trying to feel what tarot card lesson the song brings out for me.
“…..So come out of your cave walking on your hands.
And see the world hanging upside down.
You can understand dependence,
When you know the makers land.”
If you look up some of the discussion about the lyrics that make up this spectacular piece of work, you will find many people who find correlations to Plato’s Cave as well as Homer’s Odyssey. I see no reason to refute these opinions, and every reason to agree with them.
In Plato’s Cave, Plato talks about how people who are under no other torture are forced to sit chained in the dark, unable to move their heads and watch shadows of people walking by behind them back lit by two fires. It talks about how this perspective becomes their reality until the point where they conceive no other thought about their reality, until one crawls away and experiences the outside world. They try to come back to impart their wisdom to the others in the cave, but many disregard the truth spoken to them because they cannot see it.
In Homer’s Odyssey, one of the stories talks about the lesson of the Sirens who try to pull Odysseus’s ship off course and crash it and kill everyone on board. The others didn’t understand the sweet song they heard was actually heralding their doom. Odysseus did and managed to steer the ship rightly back on course and away from the Sirens call.
”….So make your siren’s call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say…”
In the story of the Fool, when he comes to the stage of the Hanged Man, he has begun to understand the world outside of himself (I’m only using masculine because of ease with the name of the card. It could be man, woman, child, non-binary, dog; anyone). There is sacrifice here, there is awakening and a new urge to bring balance.
The sacrifice of the Hanged Man is made because a person feels that they will come out of the situation more enlightened than when they went into it. It’s not the sacrifice of worldly goods for personal gain, it is a sacrifice made for the world, the greater community of mankind.
“…’Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it’s meant to be.”
This concept is also explored with various beliefs and deities such as Jesus, Prometheus, Odin and Dionysus to name a few. With this sacrifice, we begin to see our world a little differently because we see it from another perspective. One corner stone of witchcraft talked about by Lady Belladonna LaVeau is perspective reality. In short, your interpretation makes up your understanding of your reality. Change your perspective, and change your reality. For more information, I highly suggest WiccanSeminary.EDU.
In the Hanged Man phase of lessons, the Fool has decided to change his perspective reality, quite literally. With this he begins to realize that he has a subconscious mind, and that his subconscious affects the reality he finds himself in. Not only that, but the reality that others around him may perceive as well.
His experience touches more than just himself.
His actions touch more than just himself.
“Oh boy,” the Fool thinks. “Maybe I’ve messed up somewhere. Am I living the life I want?”
For some of us, this lesson comes later than others. Some of us like to repeat this lesson often with gusto… (looks in mirror…chuckles). So I urge you all, to take a listen to the song and come to your own conclusions as mine is just one among many possibilities. Perhaps take a moment to think about the kinds of sacrifices you want to make, and what the outcome of that exchange you want to experience in your life.
“I will hold on hope and I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck
And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again.”
Bright Blessings upon your journey!
Article originally posted 4/19/17 on Panegyria