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TotOP - XII - The Lone Man

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TotOP - XII - The Lone Man


XII - The Lone Man

Astrological Influence - Neptune
Element - Water
Month - March
Contributor - Janet and Stewart Farrar
Flower - yellow water lily - falsehood


This is yet another card in the Tarot of the Old Path deck that gives us a new vision of a traditional card. The Lone Man (the Hanged Man) is still hanging from a tree. His legs still make the figure 4. But in this card he is dressed as a jester. The book for TotOP says this is because a jester is typically "...an individual in a community..." and "...the inversion of the king image and associated with being the sacrificial victim." Interesting ideas for this card of individuality and sacrifice.

As in some decks, we see that this is self-sacrifice on the part of the Lone Man. He is not tied to the tree, and can leave at any time. He allows the coins to fall from his pouch, perhaps because he knows he will not need them any longer. On the water below him float yellow water lily which the book says represent falsehood. I personally saw them as lotuses, representing enlightenment, which seems more in tune with this card.

Although this is a card belongs to the element of water, the Lone Man's outfit actually includes the colours of all the elements. Perhaps this is meant to symbolize the combining and understanding of elements that needs to be accomplished for enlightenment to occur.

Several animals are featured in this card, as in previous cards. Here we find a moth, representing the soul of the man. A crow sits on the tree the Lone Man hangs from, symbolizing "...the civilizing influence in the visible world." The tree also sports a spider's web, symbolizing creativity. Behind the man is a buck, bring in God energy. And in the far background are mountains, representing enlightenment.
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I always seem to find myself at a loss for words when talking about what a card means to me.

I really don't get the same feeling from this Lone Man card that I do from most RWS clone Hanged Man cards. The jester throws me off. Even after reading the book for TotOP, I still have trouble seeing him as a sacrifical figure.
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Well, being an entertainer myself, I can vouch for the self sacrifice part!
Historically, the jester being the entertainer for the king, had a vital role to play in court life. Many times, the jester was an advisor to the ruler as well. Lear's fool comes to mind. There is also a public VS private personna for any entertainer. The harlequin garb conceals the person within, the people see one thing, but underneath the masque and bright colours, there is something entirely different.
This card is remniscent of the myth of Odin to me. He was a trickster God as well. (From what I understand, Loki is sometimes considered an aspect of Odin, his evil twin, if you will. )
The raven on the branch above The Lone One could allude to Odin's ravens, "Wisdom" and "Memory". To me, this is a case of one bird representing two.

I see a lot of duality in this card. The jester/ fool, who at this point in his journey has reached an intellectual impasse, is deciding to just "Hang Loose" for a while, realising that he's coming into his own, coming to grips with himself, his energies, and his relationship to the world around him. And, I also see the yellow lotus flowers as enlightenment, yellow being traditionally the colour of mental activity, enlightenment, and in my Wiccan tradition, the East wind.
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For me this is an amazing card and one I really feel I can relate to.

I think it is one of the most beautifully composed cards in the deck. The drawing, paintwork and colour are all so inviting. It is a peaceful, relaxing, detailed yet uncomplicated card and it invites the reader to take their time in getting to know it and learn from it.

A perfect spring day, the sun sparkles upon the upon the pond, trees are budding, a spider builds its web ready to catch the hatching insects. And a motley figure, boasting a perfectly toned body, and fair skin, hangs from the branch of a tree above the pond. This is the image of a very disciplined man. A jester by trade, one can imagine him performing amazing backflips, cartwheels, mimes and other physical performances as part of his act. To enable him to do this, he must keep in training, and also exercise his mind and will power. One can almost imagine that what he is doing here is part of his daily routine. He climbs the tree, hangs upside down in a completely relaxed position before swinging himself back up.

Notice how the mountain in the background, is the same shame as the mountain The Wise One appears on.

I have one question: at the top of the card, in the middle, above the branch is a symbol. It is easy to miss but most definitely there. What is this symbol called and what does it represent?
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[b]A Look at Meaning[b/]

The Lone Man is currently having to deal with life on his own, but, unlike The Wise One, he is not removed from the world at large, he still remains at the centre of society and yet is isolated from it. Unlike Death which signals a major change (or need for one) or the Tower which signals some form of collapse, there is no such immediacy in The Lone Man. In fact, it is more likely that an uneventful period is being indicated. A time when things are left hanging in the balance, a time when nothing different ever seems to happen for good or bad. You may feel trapped in a situation, but it is actually quite a comfy situation like a secure job, education, long term relationship etcetera. The frustration comes with the very comfiness of the situation; you find yourself wanting more of a challenge or more fun. This is where the subtleties of Tarot come into their own, because while the subsequent Death card may very well suggest that we go out and make that change in our lives, The Lone Man suggests patience at this stage. It warns not to make any hasty changes at this point, as this could mean throwing away a great many things that mean more to us then we realise. Instead it actually suggests taking advantage of this quiet period, rather than fight against it, completely relax and enjoy it for the moment. It is actually a gift, a period in our lives when we do not have to worry about the future or the past; we can just hang in the present, enjoying it for what it is and the things that weve got, using the time to relax, and maybe do those things that we normally complain we have no time to, like getting fit, going out, reading that book etcetera.

A change will come, and the things that we are doing now may be building up to that time, but this card usually councils that the time has not yet come, and that we need to hang in there a bit longer, go the distance, and keep working at things before we are ready to make that change.

The figure of The Lone Man in this card shows a face of complete calm and serenity. To be able to hang in this way, he is clearly disciplined both physically and mentally, and he has rejected and released all negative thoughts in order to allow for a content state of mind for the time being.

The greatest discipline that this card is teaching is that we may have to do this alone for a while. Sometimes this is quite a welcome thing, other times it can be very lonely. Most people, not all, find themselves having to face things alone throughout all stages of their lives. This does not mean that they are necessarily on their own, they may be a child living with parents, or a happily married person, but may still have to face personal emotions, experiences or challenges that they realise no-one else can help them with but themselves. This can be a very frightening realisation, and a lonely time. Dark Electric identifies it when she talks about the public and private persona of the entertainer. So often the person everyone sees on the outside, conceals the real person within who may very well feel that no-one understands them.

I think The Lone Man is depicted in such a way as to give us confidence in ourselves and our own discipline to be able to deal with this. He is letting us know that it is ok to do and face certain things alone, and that by tapping into our inner strength we shall learn more about our own capabilities, and endurance, in the process.
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Wow! You have both added to my understanding of the Lone Man. I guess that is what study groups are all about.

As for the symbol in the tree, it is a version of the symbol for Neptune. Or at least that is what it looks like to me!
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That's what I thought it looked like too. Funny, it also resembles someone hanging upside down...
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[b]Reversal[b/]

Sometimes this card haunts me. I love it but sometimes I see a sadder image there. I am not good with reversals and tend to view the cards as multi-layered with good and bad possibilities, which the reader or mediator must pick up upon and decide upon for themselves depending upon a situation or the surrounding cards, but to all intents and purposes I am identifying a reversed meaning.

I think reversed, The Lone Man can mean someone stuck in a rut, or someone afraid to move. In this instance, the coins, falling from his hip bag, signify the passing of time for me. The passing of time where we could have been doing something else. Sometimes we can become too comfortable even in a bad position. Its frightening when this happens. The danger, or at least the fear, is that when you wake up it will be too late.

I believe that the upright meaning counsels patience, and that change and rewards will come in time. While the reversed meaning suggests that time is slipping away, while we remain unwilling to take the risk to make a change.
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The jester costume suggests a maverick who behaves much like the Fool, but by conscious choice rather than naivety or ignorance, kind of like the "doomed seeker" Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) in American Beauty.
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