Thee Path of Mem, THE HANGED MAN- Key 12, has a reverse figure on the card that represents the Higher Self imposing a complete reversal of perspective which is a suspension of individual consciousness. Much like the reflected image in the mirror, looking at the Real non-reflected image that is the object of reflection..
This is however, a willing suspension, done by an initiate's conscious effort, a type of sacrifice or baptism, where the perspective of "I Am" is cleansed of the illusions of the material world, i.e. ME
Because of this sacrificing of one's individual perspectives to the Greater Self perspective of All, the Thoth Deck HANGED MAN is shown in a suspected state of crucifixion that images the myth of the Dying God. (Dionysus. Osiris, Odin, Christ etc.), Some of my more observant students have asked why the Hanged Man is crucified on the Left hand Path or one side of the Tree of Life as it would seem logical to have him spanning the Tree.
The reasoning behind this one sided nonfiction, is because this is an intellectual experience, as shown by the legs positioned into the upside don number 4 which is suspended above the Triangle (3) implied by the positioning of the arms.. Four is the number of the Emperor Key-4 of the Thoth Deck Tarot, and represents the Rational qualities of the Mind while 3 is the number of the Empress, the imaginative qualities of the mind ( also seen in the number 12,1+2=3). Thus, positioning the rational qualities of the mind over the desire principle.
This suspension and or crucifixion in space
, is what happens when the spinning WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the tenth key and the opposite Path of Caph ( the Path between Netzach and Chesed) is willfully arrested by the initiate.
[The Tree of Life illustration is from the book, THE QABALISTIC TAROT, by Robert Wang)
The HANGED MAN is repose, while the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is activity both of which form a balance that is known as the activity and passivity of the ONE THING.
Thus, one of the primary qualities of the HANGED MAN is that it is a Path of eternal probabilities and/or eternal unresolved possibilities. Thus the HANGED MAN is openness without end while THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, is the exact opposite, as it encloses in eternal motion., i.e. making a limited thought pattern and/or Form. When Mem (Water-consciousness) is closed, it becomes the Ankh (a form of the Tau cross) The Ankh represents Mem reversed,
In Crowley's card of the HANGED MAN, the figure emphasizes the cross-triangle, and is suspended from the Ankh, being attached to this form of the Tau Cross, by a coiled serpent that symbolizes " the creator and destroyer who operates all change". There is also a lower coiled serpent that represents the effect of the Work of God: As Crowley states in his book of Thoth: : "Through his work a Child is begotten, as shown by the Serpent stirring in the Darkness of the Abyss below him."
As I have stated before, this is the card that shows the reversal of perspective, where the individual identity, reflected in the light of consciousness (reflecting side of the Mirror of Self), becomes the Universal Identity (The Dark or non-reflective side of the Mirror of Self) that is manifested as the Collective Unconscious, the Maker of All Things. Successful skrying of this card will reverse perspective, so that the mediator becomes the object of t one's own meditation. Which could be stated as, where the Soul is observing the body, rather than the body seeking its soul.
When THE HANGED MAN -key 12, is thrown during a reading, the querent will be or is, experiencing moments of enforced sacrifice, maybe even punishment. Loss that is not voluntary and general suffering. This is the Principle of Surrender in order to break old patterns. A time when one must accept reversals. Depending on the dignity of the accompanying cards, THE HANGED MAN, represents a state of mystical death in the form of a change of consciousness.
Thank you for your interest and comments. May you live long and prosper!