Modern versions of the tarot deck depict a man hanging upside-down by one foot. The figure is most often suspended from a wooden beam (as in a cross or gallows) or a tree. Ambiguity results from the fact that the card itself may be viewed inverted.
The gallows from which he is suspended forms a Tau cross, while the figure—from the position of the legs—forms a fylfot cross. There is a nimbus about the head of the seeming martyr. The tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves thereon; the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering; the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, but life and not death.

Waite suggests the card carries the following meanings or keywords:

Sacrifice ----- Letting go ----- Surrendering ----- Passivity

Suspension ----- Acceptance ----- Renunciation ----- Patience

New point of view ----- Contemplation ----- Inner harmony

Conformism ----- Nonaction ----- Waiting ----- Giving up

The Hanged Man's symbolism points to divinity, linking it to the Passion of Christ in Christianity, especially The Crucifixion; to the narratives of Osiris (Egyptian mythology) and Mithras (Ancient Persian mythology, Roman mythology). In all of these archetypal stories, the destruction of self brings life to humanity; on the card, these are symbolized respectively by the person of the hanged man and the living tree from which he hangs bound. Its relationship to the other cards usually involves the sacrifice that makes sacred; personal loss for a greater good or a greater gain.
It is often associated with Odin, the primary god of the Norse Pantheon. Odin hung upside down from the world-tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days to attain wisdom and thereby retrieved The Runes from the Well of Wyrd, which the Norse cosmology regarded as the source and end of all Mystery and all knowledge. The moment he glimpsed the runes, he died, but the knowledge of them was so powerful that he immediately returned to life.

- His face is always peaceful, never suffering.

Basic Tarot Story
The Fool settles beneath a tree, intent on finding his spiritual self. There he stays for nine days, without eating, barely moving. People pass by him, animals, clouds, the wind, the rain, the stars, sun and moon. On the ninth day, with no conscious thought of why, he climbs a branch and dangles upside down like a child, giving up for a moment, all that he is, wants, knows or cares about. Coins fall from his pockets and as he gazes down on them - seeing them not as money but only as round bits of metal - everything suddenly changes perspective. It is as if he's hanging between the mundane world and the spiritual world, able to see both. It is a dazzling moment, dreamlike yet crystal clear. Connections he never understood before are made, mysteries are revealed.
But timeless as this moment of clarity seems, he realizes that it will not last. Very soon, he must right himself, and when he does, things will be different. He will have to act on what he's learned. For now, however, he just hangs, weightless as if underwater, observing, absorbing, seeing.

Basic Tarot Meaning
With Neptune (or Water) as its planet, the Hanged Man is perhaps the most fascinating card in the deck. It reflects the story of Odin who offered himself as a sacrifice in order to gain knowledge. Hanging from the world tree, wounded by a spear, given no bread or mead, he hung for nine days. On the last day, he saw on the ground runes that had fallen from the tree, understood their meaning, and, coming down, scooped them up for his own. All knowledge is to be found in these runes.
The Hanged Man, in similar fashion, is a card about suspension, not life or death. This is a time of trial or meditation, selflessness, sacrifice, prophecy. The Querent stops resisting; instead he makes himself vulnerable, sacrifices his position or opposition, and in doing so, gains illumination. Answers that eluded him become clear, solutions to problems are found. He sees the world differently, has almost mystical insights. This card can also imply a time when everything just stands still, a time of rest and reflection before moving on. Things will continue on in a moment, but for now, they float, timeless.

The Hanged Man appears to be a captive, suffering an undeserved punishment under the power of an unknown malicious force. This initial impression generally leaves a reader with the uneasy feeling that the card portends disaster or trouble. However, when viewed more closely, the positive aspects of the card become more evident. The young man bears a peaceful countenance upon his face, much more the look of a man content with his fate than at the mercy of unknown powers. He also has a bright yellow halo around his head, suggestive of his purity and innocence. The Hanged Man is a willing victim, someone who has chosen the path of sacrifice to accomplish a higher goal. He hangs upside down upon a cross, like St. Peter who was crucified upside down for his witness to the message of Jesus. The Hanged Man represents the willingness to forsake the temptations of instant gratification for a higher cause, and because of his willing sacrifice he accomplishes the goals he has in his heart. When we encounter the Hanged Man, we should consider areas in our lives where we may need to act in a more selfless manner either for the benefit of others or for the fulfilment of our own deeper needs. In contrast, we may need to examine our life for areas in which we are giving too much to others at the expense of our own mental and spiritual well-being. What emotions does the image of the Hanged Man stir in you?
This card represents self-denial, changes in fortune, or perhaps your patience and endurance will be put to the test. It means that when you come face to face with the reality of the situation in which you are in, you find something else which will prove of greater value to you. It may be that you have to sacrifice your previous beliefs or even way of life, but it is a time of renewal and your life will go forward.

Hanged Man - Reversed Tarot Card Meanings

When the Hanged Man is reversed you are involved with a nebulous, evasive individual who could, at worst, have a drink or drugs problem, but is, at best, unable to give you what you need or want. While indisputably romantic and sensitive, your partner remains elusive about lasting commitment. This person is unlikely to be ready for a serious relationship, do not be misled, for you will only receive unhappiness if you persist. Sometimes The Hanged Man signifies a lover for whom you must wait patiently. When the time is right you will be ale to get to know this person more intimately.
Preoccupied with yourself. Stop it. Resistance to spiritual teachings. Arrogance. Efforts on projects are wasted. Loss of something you want or need.
The Hanged Man reversed suggests a loss of faith in your ability to surmount life's obstacles. You may be refusing to go within for spiritual nourishment. It is very important at this time to look within through meditation and restore your faith in your ability to get over life's challenges. Know that this difficult time will soon pass - accept your circumstances and be at peace with yourself

Man asks us to make is in the form of giving up things in our lives that do not serve us. By suspending ourselves (thoughts, actions, emotions) we can gain perspective in order to identify the habits we cling to that hinder our progress. Sometimes in a reading the Hanged Man can be a message that we should set aside our own needs for the needs of others around us too.

Key Symbols Relative to Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings:

This section focuses in on a few select symbols that can help us further define the Hanged Man Tarot card meanings.

The Hanged man is dangling by his left leg - our left appendages are symbols of higher awareness. We also see the man's legs cross in an odd formation one leg straight and the other crossed at a right angle. This is a symbol of a cross-roads - that our thoughts have bubbled up to a jumble that has got us stuck - we are at a cross-roads and at a loss for decision. This ties in with the Hanged Man's advice to take no action. Rather, calm yourself, be still, and yield to the situation - answers will come when we take the time to be still.

As mentioned earlier, there is no expression of struggle or discomfort on the Hanged Man's face. This is a process of voluntary surrender, and he knows the outcome will lead to benefit. Further, we see a halo at his crown - this is a symbol of enlightenment, and gaining higher awareness and insight.

Ropes have long been a symbol of binding or imprisonment. We've all gotten knots in our shoelaces, and we all know what happens when we frustratedly tug and shake at those knots in an effort to loosen their hold. Never works. However, when we take a deep breath, and take the time to slowly pick away and loosen the knot we are finally able to get that knot free. This is the message - the more we struggle and rage against our circumstances, the tighter our knots will be.

Key Questions Relative to the Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings:

When contemplating the Hanged Man Tarot card meanings, ask yourself the following questions:

Are you investing time to relax?

Are you willing to sacrifice your expectations?

Are you struggling with a decision or problem? Can you let it go?

Are you over-extending yourself and need to take a "time-out" break?

Should you wait a bit to make that decision you've been worried about?

What activities in your life can you give up in order to allow more benefits?

What beliefs and thoughts do have that hinder your progress? Can you give them up?

Are there things/people in your life you are trying to control? Can you let go of that need to control?