The Gothic Tarot by Vargo - XII The Hanged Man


The blackness to me feels like the sacrifice or the consquence of his wish to become a vampire.
He is now in the darkness - without light, without time or context. He has sacrificed all that would give him enjoyment or leisure, all that would remind him of his humanity. He is in a transition from human to vampire and wont take shape either way till he makes peace with his humanity and vampirism, of what he keeps and has to sacrifice. My mind comes up with Louis from Anne Rice's vampire novels as an example. In a dracula movie, Dracula becomes the bat-man when torn between his love for Mina and his own immortality and vengence against God, and neither can work side by side.

Or I could just be waffling as usual hehe.



This card is really problematic for me because I hate the ugliness of it and yet it reminds me very much of the ancient myth of Innana-Ereshkigal, which I like very much.
The Sumerian myth of Innana is at least 5000 years old. It´s about the Goddess´descent to the Netherworld. She must go through seven gates where she will be "brought naked and bowed low".At the last gate she is killed, her corpse hung on a peg, where it turns into rotting meat. Just like our Hanged here. Later she is restored to life and she is much wiser, of course..

The Hanged Man card has now (last week) made me re-read my book about this myth. (Descent to the Goddess by Brinton-Perera, Inner City Books,1981)
For this reason alone, I think these cards were worth their price!


The thing that I most like about this card is the very subtle reinforcement given to the idea of SELF-sacrifice by the image of a "man" who has NOT been hanged by someone else...he is hanging himself. He is making/has made the choice, the sacrifice--he can let go and choose something else any time he wants.


This isn't one of my favourite cards in terms of artwork; I find it somewhat ugly, actually. Although I do love the symbolism of the bat-being. It seems like a completely natural representation of the Hanged Man concept.

For bats, being upside down isn't unusual. That's how they congregate in their caves, that's how they sleep. For them, the upside down perspective is normal. I think that what this card says is that being in the Hanged Man's position is normal, too. Looking at the world from his viewpoint isn't as contrary as one might think. It's natural, and therefore, nothing to be afraid of. It's not necessary to be the "upright" citizen all the time, and it's OK to look at things from a contrary point of view. And the fact that the being is half bat and half human makes it seem as though it's a natural part of being human, too.