Wednesday, February 2, 2011


In the traditional Tarot card "The Hanged Man", a young man is suspended upside down from a cross, which is sometimes interpreted to mean Axis Mundi, the "World Tree".  That image may be have its origins in the Nordic myth of Odin, who offered himself as a sacrifice in order to gain wisdom.  He was hung from a great tree, where he hung wounded and without food or water.  Through his suffering, he saw at last runes which had fallen from the World Tree like leaves, and he was able to understand their significance.  He came down from the branch he hung on, gathered the runes, and gained the knowledge he sought. The Hanged Man is about enlightenment through suffering and through sacrifice.  In this image, an exhausted soldier, confronted with the unendurable ordeal  and horror of war has passed beyond his own ideas of right or wrong, of duality, and has become utterly vulnerable, and thus, enters into the breakthrough of a profound illumination.  This is true in your circumstance as well, you have gained wisdom and deep insight from your recent experience that goes far beyond your immediate circumstances, and like this soldier, your life will never be the same when you leave the battlefield.

Reversed, you may be too preoccupied with comfort, or conversely, you may have become too comfortable with your suffering.  At either end of the spectrum, you are probably stuck - it may be time to sacrifice something, be it an old belief, ties that are no longer productive, or even a job or way of life, in order to grow, learn, and mature. 

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All artwork is copyright Lauren Raine MFA (2011)

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