Today’s card draw from The Wild Unknown Tarot is the Hanged Man.
I want to start off by providing an important notice, which will be included in all of this series. However, other things that will be included that you can skip to are:
- Card Description
- Considering the Card, where I look at how I would interpret certain imagery used
- Traditional Rider-Waite definition
I only include the latter as a comparison, to show how wandering down your own understanding of images and symbols can bring you to a similar meaning, though along a different path with different experiences. This is to help expand knowledge of the card.
I will not, however, be including the definitions from the guidebook, as that is not the point of this. Also, I don’t have rights to that material.
I started this series because I had read that people struggled with the deck purely because the definitions in the Little White Book were very Rider-Waite-based, and that there wasn’t much wisdom regarding the animals and symbolism chosen.
This series is to help you to decipher the meanings yourselves. I am by no means saying what I have to say about the cards are correct for anyone outside myself. However, I am providing my daily journal entries regarding the deck to act as a guide so that you can begin your own journey.
When I started tarot, I had no idea what to write in my journal, and thus didn’t. Instead I obsessively read and re-read the Little White Book belonging to the Spiral Tarot (which is why today I can completely quote the book). I didn’t trust myself to know the cards, even when I could recite the definitions. I was afraid to put the book down.
To this fear of lack of knowledge, the creator of The Wild Unknown writes:
You do know enough. You’ve been a person on earth every day since you were born. You’ve experienced all the emotions and situations these cards depict. Quiet the naysayer…don’t let it prevent you from sitting down with a friend (or yourself) and using these cards to help talk about what’s going on in your life. It will be positive. It will be radical. You’ll find things start to reveal themselves through the cards that have been hidden away, covered with dust.pp. 10-11, The Wild Unknown Guidebook)
Description of the Hanged Man
The Hanged Man shows a bat, hanging upside-down. Its skinned wings wrap around its body, and the branch it hangs from is barely seen in the dark. The dark fades to light toward the head of the bay, where it stares onward to the reader with red eyes, the only color in the card.
Traditional Card Meaning
The Hanged Man in traditional Tarot represents gaining a new perspective. But more than that, it’s giving up something order to gain that new perspective. The manner in which the figure hangs indicates that what is gained is a higher learning, potentially education, but more likely spiritual/divine understanding.
What I derive from the Card itself
A bat sleeps during the day, hanging upside-down. It should be asleep, but this bat is wide awake, watching and observing the world. The light indicates daylight approaching that the bat watches, thus it is giving up its sleep. Likewise, the light toward the head of the bat could indicate the knowledge that is coming into view.
The bat spends its ‘off time’ seeing the world from a different perspective. When it is time for it to fly into the night, it does so carrying this different way of looking at things with it. That is the bat’s gift.
Furthermore, a bat already understands the world differently. It operates via sonar, and thus doesn’t quite see the world, but hears it. It is the animal to show that there is more to the basic ‘seeing’ of the world, and a reminder not to be limited by the obviousl.
About the Deck
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a 2016 Harper One publication, created by Kim Krans. The deck is widely available at most bookstores who carry Tarot cards, but also on Amazon. Kim Krans always wrote The Wild Unknown Guidebook.