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Tarot for Creativity: The Hanged Man


There is a major arcana card aligned to each astrological sign, and the card correlated to Pisces is the Hanged Man (or Hanged One). In many depictions of this card, there is a person hung upside-down by their ankle from a tree, yet their expression is serene, their head haloed to convey enlightenment.


In Pisces season, we are called inward, to feel through the heart instead of thinking through the mind. Pisces rules the 12th House in astrology, which correlates to the dissolution of the ego as we strive to connect to a sense of Oneness, to a wisdom beyond conscious understanding and language. I think the Hanged One gives us insight into how to achieve dissolution and connection.


There is no action for the Hanged One to take. They are forced into stasis, which we all can relate to as the pandemic stretches on. But even more mundane, we are all in stasis: in our current job or joblessness, in our current writing project, in this very moment. Even as we strive, we can find places in our life where we are held, suspended. This is usually uncomfortable (think writer’s block) and we squirm to escape that discomfort. The wisdom of the Hanged One is not to fight, but to surrender.


What if you sat in front of that writing project you can’t make headway with and just allowed yourself to be? What does that feel like? How long can you bear it? Can you write down the thoughts that cross your mind? Is it fear? Self-loathing? Don’t *do* anything about these thoughts and feelings. Be with them. Witness them.


In addition to surrender, we see that the upturned position of the Hanged One allows for a new perspective. Between the pause, surrender, and reoriented view, the Hanged One comes to a new understanding. In what way can you view your creative project from a new perspective? Can you view it from your reader’s perspective? From a character’s perspective? Can you view your writing process in a new light? What “rules” of your writing practices might best be broken? What are you taking for granted about your process that you should cherish? What notions of what a writer should be need to be overturned and released?

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