Hello, friends. Another week, another archetypal shift in our collective reality...
The random thought “Corona virus may well be a master class in Being With What Is,” percolated up few days ago, and so this particular archetype made its presence known:
THE HANGED ONE
This card can represent situations in which we voluntarily tolerate discomfort, consciously sacrificing our self-interest to prioritize a greater purpose. We delay gratification, suspend action, and ready ourselves for a period of transition ahead.
However, this image also suggests a possible stance that may help us hang in there with difficult moments. We have an opportunity here to drop the struggle, surrender to what is, accept our current reality, and practice patient serenity.
(Note: accept does not mean like or endorse. It simply means validating reality as it is, and releasing our insistence that things be otherwise.)
The other opportunity this archetype provides is via its iconic reversal, as we allow this inversion to provide new perspectives. When our world gets turned upside down, we suddenly see things from a new angle, and here again (much like in the Tower) we have an opportunity to question old belief systems and disrupt our habits.
Shadow elements of this pattern may manifest in martyrdom, passivity, and a sense of being stuck, apathetic, or asleep to existence. Conversely, we may also notice moments of resistance and intense struggle around our lack of control.
(From a somatic/trauma-informed lens, it makes total and complete sense that our nervous systems may activate around feeling being trapped against our will by engaging in a FIGHT response, or by shifting into collapsed numbness.)
For counsel, I turn to brilliant, queer, witchy writer and San Francisco icon Michelle Tea, who writes:
If Hanged Man has come up for you, know that everything is in motion, even if it feels like nothing is moving. That’s the nature of the Hanged Man. It’s a waiting game, and the waiting can be interminable. It’s not a time for activity. If you’re considering making a move to help a situation along, don’t. You’ll probably just mess it up. If you’ve been insulted or threatened, the best recourse under the Hanged Man is to lay low and wait it out. Passivity is rewarded. Don’t send that email, don’t hit back. Just scramble up that tree, get yourself in the most comfortable position you can, and count your breaths until the situation remedies itself. And it will. Movement is always occurring within the Hanged Man; it’s just happening away from you, or so deep inside of you that you can’t see it clearly.
So in order to move through this phase, we settle the best we can into our self-imposed purgatory, relax into our discomfort, and try to take in the new outlook we now have on existence.
Additionally, if you are noticing more intense edges around bodily activation, or if you are processing a trauma response, you may experiment with somatic mindfulness exercises to begin regulating your nervous system. Please do reach out and contact a professional if you need more assistance with this, and take good care of yourself!
(Cards pictured here are from the Universal Waite, a recolored version of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, and the Numinous Tarot, a radical deck with diverse representations and gender-neutral language.)
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Jessica Katzman, Psy.D.
I'm a psychologist with a private practice in San Francisco's Castro District. I'm interested in harm reduction, LGBTQQIAAP issues, psychedelic integration, social justice conversations, size acceptance, and any intersections of the above. I welcome your comments!
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