A year on and I am presented with a new message. This is one of my writings that has taken the most time and energy to pull together in order to make the concepts, ideas and actions easy to understand and how they relate to us. I am being psychically bombarded with information to share with you, so I appreciate your patience in my trying to be an accurate scribe for these. I hope they offer you some meaning for what you are experiencing right now or provide a good reference to revisit.
Let’s start at the beginning, with The Hanged Man.
The Hanged Man is a card of the Major Arcana, a suit in the tarot deck that asks us to reflect on life and the lessons it has to teach us. It connects with our consciousness, the karmic influences that affect our lives and our human soul's journey in this world.
With all tarot cards, there is an upright and a reversed meaning. If the card image appears upside down in a reading, it has a different meaning to the 'standard' upright version. At the risk of confusing things, The Hanged Man is upside down on the upright version and he is upright in the reversed version! But this actually says quite a lot about what we are living through and the messages from this card. Everything is upside down, back side forwards. Nothing is as it seems.
The Hanged Man card depicts a man hanging, upside down, from a tree by one ankle. He is not distressed or in pain. Far from it, he is choosing - consenting - to this position. He is viewing the world from a different perspective and he is enjoying it. There is a peacefulness, a serenity, a state of bliss. He has a halo around his head, indicating that this new state of being has been brought about by this different perspective and it is providing him with incredible insight; perhaps thoughts, feelings and ideas that have never occurred to him before. A light bulb moment, you could say. Having surrendered the position that he has been used to, he is now hanging in the air supported by a tree and he is unencumbered; he is free. He has chosen to sacrifice his ego and by doing this, he is connected to nothing and everything; it is liberating. He is in a trance-like state of clarity. In control but at the same time, not.
The Hanged Man is about mirror images and how they can appear the same but be very different. Like looking in a mirror - one is your actual physical face and the other looks exactly the same, but it is not the physical three dimensional form of your face. Do you remember hanging upside down when playing as a child? After adjusting to this disorientated view of the same world, but one that you’re not used to, you begin to make sense of this different perspective. I find it deeply symbolic that he is held and supported by the wise ones of the Earth, the trees, those who have their roots in the Earth and their branches reaching toward the Heavens. Both growth forms that are incredibly similar but which are growing in two different worlds connected by a living bridge between the worlds, one that is coursing with life, the trunk.
The Hanged Man is a card of joyful surrender in order to gain insight and awareness to different worlds - both inner and outer - worlds that may seem to have some semblance of what we know but which are beyond what we are presented with and beyond what we have chosen to see as reality.
We are currently experiencing an aspect of the reverse of The Hanged Man. In the card this would mean that he is upright, in the ‘right’ position but in the reading of this card, this ‘right’ position actually signifies stagnation, detachment, apathy, discontentment, a disconnect from the whole; and that we have lost the understanding that we can individually and collectively affect this whole.
The poverty - in many things - that we have suffered is instrumental in this. It has meant that we have had to seek out those people and practices in our lives that give it meaning, much like the foretelling of last year’s reading. In the past year, we have been encouraged to seek out different kinds of wealth to negate the different types of poverty. If I asked you now if you had a better idea of who your true friends are than you did a year ago, chances are you would say yes. This past year has given us the opportunity to really see those people who are with us when we need them, and it may not have been who we were expecting. Perhaps the folks that you were expecting to be there didn’t come through for you and those who did, you didn’t expect. With this often comes an element of loss and grief, a falling away of what we thought was real to reveal the hidden, real truths. Truth hurts.
The Hanged Man tells us that now we are in the midst of a time when things are not always what they appear to be. But the last year - if we have learned from it - has given us the opportunity to strengthen our truth seeking senses, our instinctive and intuitive muscles.
And here’s where we flex those muscles. Sometimes things are deliberately presented to us under the cloak of goodness, kindness, consideration, acceptance, tolerance and love in order to initiate the desired reaction from us but this does not mean that they are good, kind, considerate, acceptable or tolerant, they only present that way. When we respond rather than react to these things, we have taken a few moments to connect with how we feel about what is presented to us, checking in with our truth-seeking senses rather than accepting it for what it appears to be. Then we can respond in the best way for ourselves, honouring our own truth, a phrase that is so overused as to be trite but which accurately reflects what happens when we listen to our gut instincts.
A Trojan Horse
When we are presented with something that is not what it appears to be, acceptance of this Trojan Horse can be life affecting - just ask the Trojans! The myth of the Trojan Horse is about subterfuge; the Greeks hid their army inside a hollow wooden horse so that they could invade the city of Troy. The Trojans pulled the horse into their city with feelings of conquest, seeing it as a victory trophy. But it was not what the Trojans thought it to be. It revealed its true intentions under the cover of darkness, when the Greek army stepped out of the horse and opened the gates of the city for the rest of their army, capturing the city of Troy. Wikipedia describes the metaphorical use of Trojan horse as ‘any trick or strategy that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected place; or to deceive by appearance, hiding malevolent intent in an outwardly benign exterior; to subvert from within using deceptive means.’
Basically, we are the targets but we actively invite the Trojan Horse in. The deception is required in order for us to consent to our own attack. The image of the Trojan horse - from the 2004 film, Troy - is deeply saddening. The actual horse itself - constructed by the deceivers - is blindfolded. Horses have been instrumental in the civilisation and development of humankind. No other animal has done so much to help advance our evolution. It's as if the deceivers are also attempting to hoodwink the divine world of Spirit so that it may not see their trickery. Perhaps they themselves know that what they are doing - gaining consent by deception - is deeply wrong.
Let’s talk about the reasons behind how and why we accept Trojan Horses. A Trojan Horse can only enter by deception or coercion. Sometimes it is through a lack (poverty) of trust in our instincts. Sometimes it is because it flatters us in some way, just like the Trojans in their victory pride. Other times it plays upon our humanity, where any refusal of the Trojan Horse is intended to frame us by using our fear of being perceived as unkind or uncaring. This is a form of emotional coercion. So how do we avoid accepting a Trojan Horse?
Choice. That might sound flippant, but it is not. Choice is a really big deal. The Hanged Man is showing us how important Choice is right now because it is closely aligned with Consent. We can choose to no longer surrender to others’ notions of ourselves, and resist the urge to adhere to societal expectations that don’t feel right for us in order to be accepted. We need not consent to sacrificing our inner knowing and wisdom to affirm the opinions or agendas of others. We can choose to trust ourselves and listen to the wisdom of our hearts, bodies and souls. We can choose to be with those who love and support us and retreat from those who don’t. Then we begin to clearly and confidently detect Trojan Horses because we have been seeking truth, and we now know what is truth and what is not truth.
The Echo Chamber
Right now we are being given the opportunity to see our world and our interactions within it in a very different light. A good example of this is media. Much of the discourse on social media specifically - for many, the only means of connecting with groups and communities right now - has become quite extreme in its expression with very little in between two polarised views.
Social media platforms are intended to keep us within our areas of interests and points of view. That's actually how they are set up - to recommend to us others with similar views, tastes and opinions to our own. Initially this seems like a good thing, to have the opportunity to connect with others who are like minded. However, there is no opportunity to connect with people who see things differently to us or who have different interests. With this comes a greater divide between us and those we disagree with, and less opportunity to explore different worlds and learn from the ideas, viewpoints, cultures and experiences of others. This is what is known as an 'echo chamber', where we are affirming and amplifying our own views by only conversing with others with the same views. This reinforces views to the point that those who disagree and refuse to be compelled by one view are considered problematic and threatening, and become the victim of online bullying or a 'witch hunt' (Sadly, these have never went away, especially for strong women with opinions, and are still alive and kicking albeit in different disguises).
Often what draws us to each other are the things we have in common and we like to spend time with people who feel the same way as we do about many things. But as comfortable as this may be, this is not how we grow. Surrender agendas. We need to be challenged and given the opportunity to explore different landscapes. Cafes, pubs, restaurants, community halls, gyms, workshops, classes, courses and travelling to different countries are all great places for this. And our access to these is heavily restricted pushing us to be dependent on social media where we seek interactions with our communities, and dependent on mainstream media for our information sources. With rolling censorship on platforms and outlets, an increasing lack of parity in media and the corporate ownership of the expressions of ourselves (our photographs are now property of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp when posted on these platforms), it is even harder for us to explore ourselves, different points of view and to find truth. But even this in itself is offering Choice and an opportunity to see 'behind' what we are presented with.
Different perspectives give us the opportunity to strengthen our own inner compass. We cannot decide on the directions that are right for us to take if we accept those Trojan Horses or walk the paths that have been signposted for others. Spiritual turning points occur during confusing times that have us whipped up in a mixture of fear and calm, not knowing what way is up - like now. Take a different look at the view and just hang, man.
Channelled & interpreted by A Doran, guardian of the words © Flourish and Contributors.