At the time I was plotting The Tower an idea was formulating, a little spark was tapping me on the head and whispering into my ear. "How about Neil for the Hanged Man?" Sxip, my Magician of course heard the call of the tarot and sent me a message.
When I told him I was thinking of Neil as The Hanged Man he said, "You always make such interesting choices. They all make absolute sense but they are not typical." We discussed The Hanged Man and it's many meanings. For him it is about "Letting yourself absolutely accept the wisdom to come, even it hard information. It's about giving yourself to the reality of a situation to learn from it. It's about humbling oneself for the sake of knowledge."
I remember the first time I read American God's and feeling like Neil really got Odin, Loki, and the rest of the God's he wrote about. He may not be spiritually connected to them but he understood them by tapping into a part of his brain that was or at least the archetypes. Part of The Hanged Man's meaning is Odin's sacrifice of himself for knowledge on the World Tree. For nine days he hung, no food or water, wounded by a spear. On the ninth day he looked down, saw runes that had fallen from the tree and understood them. He came down from the tree and picked them up for his own. Any knowledge needed can be found in these runes.
A few days ago I started another 40 days. This time instead of going mad, I decided to focus solely on the tarot, it's insights, and paint the cards of the major arcana. Sxip once noticed that I lived each card as I painted them. This one was no different. I started the sketch on Sunday and began to work on the card, struggling a bit in the midst of thoughts and procrastination. For the past few weeks I had gone inward and was seeing the most beautiful aspects of love, life, work, and the muses. Day 4, the day I finished the card would be my eye opener. When you are in the midst of spiritual bliss nothing seems important, you're open, the past doesn't matter, you're here, it's now, money is just metal and the heart wants to be full. And then you come down, back into the mundane world, back into reality.
The night before someone I once cared about very deeply turned their back on me. It was someone that inspired a lot of the deck and it saddened me to see it end this way. I carried it with me the next morning when once again I awoke to more news about another person, not news that I was necessarily shocked by, but news I wasn't quite ready to hear. And so began my spiral into reality and delusion. They are quite connected you know.
I cried. I pushed people away. I didn't want to connect. I buried myself in work so I didn't have to think. I thought about other aspects of this card. "The Traitor." Was this man a traitor? Years ago they would hang them upside down by one foot as punishment. I instantaneously pushed that thought aside looking at Neil's face. The card I painted was not a traitor and I wasn't sure that my former lover was either. Only that he had to protect himself and that he thought of me as a temptation. I was in limbo. I had forgotten The Hanged Man was not about life or death but suspension until the time is right, sacrificing of old ways to let new ones in, and uncovering the reality so that acceptance can happen. Something had just ended but what was to take it's place had not begun yet. It was in the works and for now I must wait.
I took this photo of what it felt like, kind of like being in a fairytale and not quite knowing who to trust even though you know the ending.
Neptune is the ruler of this card. Neptune is spirituality, dreams and psychic abilities. The Hanged Man has allowed himself to be taken over by all of these things, in order to receive his insight. He waits with open arms to be born into consciousness and receive the information that is to come. He knows the knowledge will take him to where he needs to be and by sacrificing himself he will gain much more than ever expected, but sacrifice hurts and in order to receive we must let go.
This is a time when emotions run high, when insights are deep, and you dangle in the realm of fairytale. It is also card that suggest at this time being a little daring, trying new things, and letting go a little. These are moments that won't last forever but they are moments worth listening to.
And of course a huge thank you as always to Jim Shirey who has allowed me to use his gorgeous photos. The background on these two is straight from Jim himself.
The partridge berry blossoms come two to an ovary. thus, the two small ones are connected to a single berry and leave a double seed scar. They ripen in the winter into a small red berry the size of a small pea. The rattlesnake plantain is named after the appearance of its leaves, which resemble a snake skin. The flower spike produces a profusion to tiny flowers about 1/8 inch across. when i took this shot I was competing with a bumble bee who had her next under one of the leaves. She was very patient at first, but became quite cross when I wanted to do a re-shoot. She zapped me on the arm. Just a bit to let me know my time was up.