THE HANGED MAN – get woke
Where are you on your spiritual journey? Most of us spend a good deal of time summing up, fretting over, hatching plans with regard to our ‘life purpose’ and where we are in relation to our career, relationship or material acquisition goals ( see The Devil ). When was the last time you really gave thought to your actual relationship with your spiritual path? I believe I can dive in the deep end because if you’re reading this you are likely seeking something beyond the daily tasks of life. I suggest this in the best of ways. We are All seekers, we’ve simply forgotten this along the way.
The appearance of the Hanged Man, just like Death, The Devil and The Tower, is not usually welcomed with open arms. It’s understandable, who willingly wants their world turned upside down? Really, though, these cards, and this one in particular, suggest something far more eloquent, and necessary, than a cursory read suggests.
The surrender that is implied with the Hanged Man, is a surrender to the part of you that seeks, the part of you that is likely the least attended to on a daily basis, the part of you that knows there is more to life than our material desires. Now, as I offered in last week’s Mojo centered on The Devil, I am in no way suggesting that these desires are ‘bad’, it isn’t a binary situation; it’s simply that we are at a point where it is necessary to cultivate our inner wealth. In order to do this we might have to turn things upside down once in a while, actually a little bit every day might be something to consider.
Think about it, what does it physically feel like to be upside down? If you practice asana you probably do something approaching this somewhat often; if you don’t engage in asana or some psycho-physical practice that invites you to get your head below your heart on some regular basis, then take a moment right now, while you are sitting to bow your head forward. Sit, or stand, with your legs apart, bend your knees if you are standing, and now slowly, bow your head forward and continue allowing the weight of your head to lead you, to bring your head and shoulders down between your legs. Remain there a few moments, say five to eight cycles of breath. To come out of this, back out the reverse of how you went in, rolling up through the spine, lifting the head last. Take a moment to register how you feel, beyond maybe a little light-headed. This is essentially a seated or standing forward bend. No, it is not exactly like going upside down, but any position that places the head below the heart physiologically and psychologically shifts our experience of life. Yes I just said that and I mean it.
The Hanged Man is asking us to bow our heads to our heart. To wake up to the intelligence of the heart, to listen to its counsel and to heed it. It doesn’t have to be a big spiritual trip, it might be something as simple as being mindful to offer gestures of kindness to your fellow humans. No matter what things look like from the outside, everyone, and I really mean EVERYONE, is bearing some struggle. How we each bear the weight of our struggle is in relation to our own human experience; someone else’s struggle may appear minor to your own, but the weight of it could be great for them. I am saying many ‘cliche’ things here, but I don’t give a shit, because it’s true, God/Goddess doesn’t give you more than you can bear, and likely, if your load is heavy it is because of the strength you have cultivated within yourself. Further, if you have the strength, it is likely that you are being called to serve others by letting go and letting loose of any binds that still hold you back from letting your heart lead the way. The Hanged Man is asking you to do that now. If, however, you are feeling weakened by your load, then it may be time to rest and let go of striving for all external things, now may be your time to rest and build your your own inner reserves. We are all here to give and to receive at different points on our journey. Our only real purpose, in case you are still searching for yours, is to serve and lift each other up.
Wherever you are right now on the spectrum of your journey, giving or receiving, The Hanged Man is asking you to let go of your striving and bow your head to the intelligence and wisdom of your heart. Feel your heart beating in your chest, your faithful servant is asking you to show others, even just one person, the way. It is not a sacrifice, as many read this card, for when you serve, act, give of yourself, from your heart, it is the deepest nourishment and the most enriching gift you will ever receive.
Who will you serve this week?