The Path of Mem; Key 12- The Hanged Man.
[ In Qabalistic Tarot every Major Arcana or Trump card is a subjective Path to greater levels of Objective Consciousness.]
Paul Foster Case wrote in his instructional missive, Thirty-Two Paths Of Wisdom:
Twenty-third Path is called the Stable of Intelligence, and it is so
called because it has the virtue of consistency among all numerations.
* Path Color: Deep Blue
*Musical Note: G#
*Maternal Letter: Water
*Esoteric Title: The Spirit of the Mighty Waters.
The Path of Mem
Hanged Man) connects Hod ( 8-Splender) and Geburah (5-Severity) on the
pillar of severity (your left). This card also connects Personality to
the Higher Self, but in a much different way than those previous three
that connect to Tiphareth (Beauty).
Often because of its curious imagery,
this card has only been understood and publicly revealed in the past
few decades. Key 12 has a complex meaning and is related to Kether
(1-Crown) as a motion and/or waves. This is the Path of Water ( the letter Mem is one
of the three Maternals), and in some respects represents the Path of baptism into Maternal Water; each experienced Maternal Path is a baptism;
- Shin is the baptism of Fire (Judgment).
- Mem is the baptism of Water (The Hanged Man).
- Aleph is the baptism of Air (The Fool).
The Water baptism is the central
and pivotal experience of the entire Tree of Life as Water means
Consciousness (1st Principle of Alchemy). Even though not wet, this
subtle substance is symbolized by Water because it has some of water's
qualities, particularly as energy wave movement.
Spirit is a Spiral
Flow of Life, that causes the "breath of a body" and is a Soul when
experienced in an individual "Microwave" that is self-aware and producing self-identities. Too make a
long evolution short,
it is the Life that makes bodies alive.
Therefore, to get our identity straight, we must understand that I AM
the Life, and the body, not a body seeking a life!
The Intelligence of Spirit operates in every sphere (Sephiroth and Paths, i.e. "numerations") and in the same way on all. Thus, physical matter, acts just as the intelligence of Spirit acts.
The Astral Fluid (vitriol of the magician)
is the Watery flow of electromagnetic energy that underlies every thing
and moves in waves (cycles), that are stimulated by active Psyche,
showing its similarity to physical water.
Think of a thought
as a stone
thrown into a placid pool of water, and you can then visualize the
waves from the center of impact that spread outward towards the shore of
the now disturbed pool.This is similar to the Psyche as a thought is
"thrown" into it by the personality. The more power used to "throw" the
thought, (Emotion is the thrower) the greater the waves in the Pool of
Psyche. The Greater disturbance, gets full concentration towards
construction and then "made manifest". This bodes well towards thinking passionately about the positives and never, ever, reacting emotionally to the negatives!
When one is on the Twenty-Third Path
one is "drowned" in these waters and perceives himself/herself as an
intrinsic and inseparable part of the One Collective Consciousness. To
be Key 12- The Hanged Man, we must become lost in vast ocean of Greater-Self; the Collective of our Soul/Unconscious no sooner touches us than we are it! We become unconscious of our man made selves
and Know Our True Self! The Hindu mystics called this the state
, a condition where the physical processes are literally suspended ( Hung up side down) in trance, while the consciousness
affects a union with the Divine.
In practicing Tarot
it is important to know that the Path of The Hanged Man
is only the
first entry into a sequence of states of union with the Divine
Inheritance. Therefore the idea presented is that we must move
constantly upward on the Tree of Life.
after experiencing the next higher Sephira are the qualities of the
lower Sephira completely understood and can be directed by willful
The Path of Mem leads directly to
Geburah, the active/fiery part of the Pillar of Water below Binah ( the
dynamic motion of "will to form" of the Higher Self). The Hanged Man is resting his feet on Binah (represented as the Ankh cross-which is also symbolized by the Tau Cross made of a tree in the Connolly Tarot).
the reverse figure on the Thoth card represents the suspension of
personal consciousness (called ego by some, personal ego, by others)
while a greater reality imposes a complete reversal of perspective (the
"other side of the mirror"...mirror being another symbolism of water).
This "human spirit suspended by a single thread", seems to be a
sacrificed, but this is a willing suspension, a sacrificial baptism that
is also a crucifixion. Thus it is also the card representing the Dying God.
This is essentially an intellectual experience.
When viewing the legs of
the hanged man you see the number 4, the Four above the Three, i.e.the
imaginative qualities of key-3 Empress subordinate to the rational
qualities of Key 4 The Emperor; the ultimate sacrifice of desire to
Behind The Thoth Hanged Man
are the Emerald Tablets (summing up of all of nature).
creator and destroyer who operates all change" is represented by the
coiled serpent/rope that the left foot hangs from. The lower serpent
represents the effect of the Divine Work. Crowley called this, " Through his Work a Child is begotten, as shown by the Serpent stirring in the Darkness of the Abyss below him."
It may behoove us to remember that serpents are the way to represent
the motion of spiraling forces that enliven all things, i.e. Microwaves.
Through out our histories, the Dying God is
represented in mythology. Osiris, Prometheus, Odin, Christ, and even the
Greek Goddess Artemis was known as the "Hanged One"; none of these
are the final death.
The Thoth 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, where one is looking at
the Real non-reflected image that is the object of reflection.
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
of this sacrificing
of one's individual perspectives to the Greater
Self perspective of the Universal Collective Unconscious, 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.) and his resurrection as "something greater".
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 down number 4
which is suspended above the Triangle (3) implied by the positioning of
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). Therefore, positioning the rational qualities of the mind over the
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.
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
Thus, one of the primary qualities of the HANGED MAN
is that it is a Path of eternal probabilities and/or eternal
unresolved possibilities. Therefor the HANGED MAN represents
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 therefore represents Mem
reversed or "consciousness turned inward".
In Crowley's card
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." Here, matter is disturbed by the Soul's hanging it's Psyche in the World of Matter.
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/The Universal Collective Unconscious) that is manifested "selves" as individual identities of the
Divine Universal Collective Unconscious, the Maker of All Things.The story here is that the: Entire Universe is merely a Self-Reflection of the Divine Creative!
Successful skrying of this card will reverse perspective,
so that the mediator becomes the object of one's own meditation. Which
could be stated as, where the Soul is observing the body, rather than
the silliness of the body seeking its soul.
The Connolly Tarot, Key 12-The Hanged Man, keeps to the more traditional art of the middle ages. However, the Arcane is still seen here as the contented young man has a spiritual halo; symbol of realizing ones Higher Self.
The living Tree of Life, is shown as a Tau cross, wrapped in a golden cord, and thus not binding the suspended soul/man. This fact is being pointed out by the Cherubic figure, also suggesting that action is now required. Therefore, not being bound to any identity, the soul is free to Identify itself, and thus experiment with possibilities.
The various stages of blue, suggest the element of Water, while the red shoes, belt and Celtic knot insignia, suggest powerful individuality and/or freedom to choose.
The key word represented by this Connolly Tarot card is: Release.
When THE HANGED MAN -key 12, is thrown during a reading, the querent will be or is:
- This is the Principle of Surrender in order to break old patterns.
- A time when one must accept reversals.
on the dignity of the accompanying cards, THE HANGED MAN, represents a
state of mystical death in the form of a change of consciousness.
- Sacrificing something important to gain something of greater value.
If Ill defined:
- Experiencing moments of enforced sacrifice, maybe even punishment.
- Loss that may not be voluntary and general suffering.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!