Short meaning: Giving something up, a sacrifice of some sort, whether a material possession, person, principle or the quest for some unattainable goal. A time of submission and acceptance recognising where things are beyond our control. Use this time to heal yourself and reflect.
In-depth meaning: The Hanged Man appears in a reading when the Subject needs to accept something difficult. They need to look at the situation and be completely honest about what they want in their life in comparison to what they actually have. They should attempt to truly assess the impact of existing situations or relationships and evaluate what needs to be done. Do they have healthy relationships? Are they involved in situations that are holding them back? Maybe what they want just isn’t right or available to them at the moment and the Subject is unhappy to let it go.
This is an upsetting and painful process for them to go through. They need to stop struggling against it so much. The Subject has to relinquish control of the outcome and they fear that, in losing that control, they will lose something they love or hold dear. There is no choice for the Subject though, they cannot change the outcome or make any difference now. If they can truly accept this they will be able to focus their energy elsewhere and the transition will be easier.
Notes on the image: This poor man hangs suspended, upside down, from a beam perched between two trees. Only one of his legs are tied to indicate that this is not a punishment enforced on him by someone else – but more that he has been forced to relinquish control of his destiny for a period of time. There is little he can do to change his circumstances, and to struggle will only cause him more pain and suffering. He is not happy at all, but he is calm and does not waste his time and energy, or cause himself pain, by protesting or fighting against this imposition.
Whether an enforced change or a voluntary self-sacrifice, the message of the image is to accept the circumstance and stop fighting or struggling against what is happening. This is a good time to learn patience and to keep calm under pressure.