Mythic Tarot - Hanged Man


Prometheus is shackled upside down and nearly naked to a large rock. Despite his position, his expression is calm. The sun sets behind him, casting a bloody glow across the landscape. An eagle approaches him.

  • waning of the bright light of consciousness and will
  • part of the cycle of endings and beginnings
  • the closing of a period in one’s life
  • respite from torment
  • “never let the sun go down on your anger” means that one should make peace before the end of the day with those with whom one has quarreled or lost their temper
  • spirit and hope
  • the seat of vital force, desires, anger and love
  • symbol of the wrath of Zeus
  • symbol of light and, therefore, illumination
  • pride (as a deadly sin) and justice (as a cardinal virtue)
  • contemplation
  • “to be eagle-eyed” is to have sharp sight and see every detail
  • associated with a bad idea
  • may indicate hang-ups, attitudes or belief systems that keep hanging on
  • associated with the death of a portion of oneself or a part of one’s life
  • Metaphors/Proverbs
    • “catching’s before hanging” means that offenders can only be punished when or if they are caught
    • “confess and be hanged” means that there’s little incentive for confession when punishment is the inevitable result
    • “every herring must hang by its own gill” means that everyone must take responsibility for their own actions
    • “give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself” means that those who are given complete freedom of action will ultimately bring about their own downfall
    • “never speak of rope in the house of a man who has been hanged” means that one should be tactful and steer clear of sensitive subjects in the company of people who might be upset or offended by them
    • “one might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb” means that if one is going to suffer or be punished for something, then one might as well get the maximum benefit from it
    • “time hangs heavy on idle hands” means that time seems to pass more slowly when one has little or nothing to do
  • his name means “foresight”, and he possessed the gift of prophecy
  • he stole fire from the gods and gave it to man even though he knew that he’d suffer for his deeds; Zeus tried to annihilate man with a flood, but Prometheus had warned his son, who built an ark so that he and his wife could wait out the flood; when it was over, he offered up a sacrifice to Zeus, who then allowed the human race to repopulate; Zeus seized Prometheus and had him chained to a high cliff where an eagle devoured a part of his liver each day and each night his liver was renewed; Zeus permitted Heracles to rescue Prometheus after 30 years
  • after he was made immortal, mankind began wearing rings in commemoration of his bondage
  • image of voluntary sacrifice made willingly for the greater good and with full acceptance of the suffering that may happen as a consequence
  • symbol of that part of man which has the foresight necessary to understand that changes which are due to the Wheel of Fortune might be needed in order for an inner design that’s not currently clear to unfold as it must
  • implies acceptance of waiting in darkness; although he fears that his sacrifice might be for nothing, his expression is peaceful
  • suggests the relinquishing of control so that a new and greater sense of life can emerge
  • suggests that one should be willing to abandon one’s previously held beliefs in order to obtain a greater consciousness
  • implies a willingness to trust that Other which knows better than the ego what might be right and necessary for one’s development

Written in my workbook on 13 Aug 91:
Prometheus is an image of strength clothed in a loincloth of strong resolve. Both are necessary to deal with the consequences of his actions. He is chained be despair to the hills of uncertainty where hate and anger attack him daily under a sky of rage (which is setting for the night).

My key color was black ( stealth, energy, strength, self-assurance).