Major Arcana

Top Five Tarot Creativity Prompts - The Hanged Man

In this blog series, I'll draw a card at random and use its energy and ideas to cook up five brain-sizzling creativity prompts. You can use these to think about particular situation you are experiencing, or as writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing, or simply as food for thought to fill an idle moment. You can journal these prompts, or just mull them over in your mind, meditate on them, workshop them collaboratively, or blog them (if you're sharing them somewhere, let me know in the comments below! I'd love to see what you come up with). I'll be using the Cosmic Tarot for these draws, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer!

Our card this week? The Hanged Man

The twelfth card on the Fool's Journey, The Hanged Man represents a need to take a pause in the action. The Fool has learned so much about himself, he must stop for a moment and take it all in before making his next move. "At this stage," Rachel Pollack writes, "a deep spiritual awareness can only be maintained by withdrawing from society." Incidentally, Beth at Little Red Tarot has recently done a great dissection of The Hanged Man, so I direct you to her for more explanation and insight into the meaning of this card.

For our purposes, it's interesting to note that this card is polarising among tarot readers and clients. I personally rather like The Hanged Man and his reminder to take a step back, but others find his strange posture and his insistence on inactivity weird and frustrating! Let's see where that takes us.

1. What are your first thoughts, first impressions upon hearing the name of this card, The Hanged Man? What associations do you make? Are they positive or negative, empowering or frightening?

2. Consider the difference between stillness and stasis. Where do you sit with the idea of being still? Do you associate it with being in control, or with being stuck against your will? Do you crave progress, or prefer to stop and smell the roses? Recall a time when you felt as though things weren't moving forward. Looking back, did that period of being stuck have any benefit, any teaching for you? Do you think your life would benefit from more or less stillness at this time?

3. Explore the relationship between stillness and movement in the mind, and stillness and movement in the body. One of my favourite yoga teachers always says, "Relax any unnecessary doing." She always catches me fidgeting! Do you find calming your movements creates stillness in your mind, or does it have the opposite effect? What does it feel like to engage in physical stillness, like yin yoga or seated meditation? How does this affect your thoughts, your emotions?

4. Much has been written in recent years about introverts and extroverts - where do you fall on the scale? Do you gain your energy and insight from the company of others, or from withdrawal into privacy? What about those around you - are you the extrovert to your partner or best friend's introverted Hanged Man, or is it the other way around? How will a deeper understanding of these differing natures help you relate to each other?

5. What does it mean to take a different perspective? Can we ever really see things through the eyes of another? Think of a significant moment in your life, positive or negative. How does it appear if viewed from a different angle? What would it take to see something so personally significant in a different light?

I hope The Hanged Man helps you to take a moment, calm your mind and relax. It is a long weekend, after all!