the Hanged One

from realms of Light

The Hanged One (12) is the Martyr and Sacrifice. This is a being who completely surrenders to the Holy plan to the point of death. This may be physical death but is often the surrender – or sacrifice – of the things we thought we knew about ourselves. It could be the sacrifice of a perception, relationship, security, or nearly anything(!) to the greater service of the All, which of course includes one’s own higher Good.

The ultimate path of the mystic is reunion with the All and the hanged one is dedicated to this path. Odin did this by hanging on the world tree. He gave one eye to gain the rune stones and Sight. Jesus followed his path to the cross and surrendered his mortal life and thereby gained immortality. Inanna descended into the Underworld to face her sister, Death herself. These beings lost their mortality to death and yet gained immortality by uniting with the Mystery. 

They then rise again as teachers, healers, and servants of the All. These dying and rising gods are often the great sages of mythology.

In shamanic lore there is often a process of dying to be reborn. This sometimes literal death process causes the initiate to let go of everything, including ego, identity, and personality for a time during which all is cleansed, cleared, and reset.

The hanged one urges us to give up everything we thought we knew about ourselves to crack the pernicious hold of lower ego, fear, and pain. The Hanged One shows that in following one’s authentic path suffering is elevated.

When any individual dies and is reborn – and we do this over and over in life – the Hanged One becomes a temporary carrier of others’ burdens.

When the Hanged One appears let go of what you think you know. 

Surrender all and gain the All.

The Sacrifice

1. So often we think of sacrifice as something we love that must be given away or killed off. Instead, play with sacrificing something that is no longer useful or healthy to you. Perhaps you can sacrifice poverty, fear, or addiction to the Holy. Think of what limiting beliefs you continue to hold and wish to be free from. Then create a ceremony in which you sacrifice those limitations to the All.

2. Think about those individuals we consider martyrs: such as Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., and JFK. What gains did the sacrifice of their lives bring to the greater Good? Did the loss of their lives create a rebalance for those who remained? How did their deaths shift the conversations their lives began?

3. What pieces of yourself do you need to sacrifice to gain greater clarity and precision? Are there outmoded behaviors that no longer bring peace and joy? Are you willing to give them up?

4. What are you willing to sacrifice to become the person you wish to be? In this “I want it all” world it isn’t popular to talk about what we’re willing to give up but there is always a balance to be maintained. Consider.

realms of Light (Eggleston)