Like the Fool, the Hanged man is a figure few people understand. Just as they laughed at the Fool, stepping so cheerfully and so lightly towards the cliff’s edge, here, they see a person hanging upside down from a tree…and seemingly fine with that. What gives?
If you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth – for you, at least. The Hanged Man represents independence from the flock, the willingness to see things differently, see them your way. It can point to critical thinking or awareness (especially when paired with other cards that deal with this theme) and it can represent courage.
The courage not to make snap judgements. The courage to give things time to unfold.
Bonnie is explaining the concept of the Hanged Man to a young Kangaroo. She points out that there is nothing terrible going on here. There is no evidence of a struggle or torture of any kind. Quite the contrary!
Bats have a special physiological adaptation that allows them to hang upside down without using any energy. Bats simply relax and their talons grab hold of the surface. Its weight helps keep their claws closed. The upper body pulls down on the tendons connected to the talons and causes them to clench.
Unlike birds Bats cannot just take off from the ground. Hanging upside down gives bats an ideal position for takeoff. Bat’s wings don’t produce enough lift to take off from a standing position. Also, their hind legs are too small and underdeveloped to allow them to run. Bats use their claws to climb to high spots so they can drop into flight.
“In Tarot terms” says Bonnie, “hanging in a suspended state is a symbol of letting go.
To emphasis her point Bonnie shows the Kangaroo a picture of herself swinging on a children’s swing. “It gives you a completely differently perspective to be upside down” she says. “It enforces the aspect of changing point of view” she adds.
Not surprisingly the kangaroo is not about to stand on his head or hang upside down.