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The Hanged Man Art and Meaning

Visconti B Tarot Deck Fragment

About the Deck

(aka Pierpont Morgan Bergamo Tarot Deck) One of the earliest Tarot Decks, the Pierpont Morgan Deck is entirely gilded, with fine paintings upon it.

It is estimated to have been produced around 1451 or 1452, possibly for a triumphal event in 1453.

Provenance

Italy, c. 1452.

According to Many Schools of Thought

A. E. Waite's Secondary Meanings

The Hanged Man. This is the symbol which is supposed to represent Prudence, and Eliphas Levi says, in his most shallow and plausible manner, that it is the adept bound by his engagements. The figure of a man is suspended head-downwards from a gibbet, to which he is attached by a rope about one of his ankles. The arms are bound behind him, and one leg is crossed over the other. According to another, and indeed the prevailing interpretation, he signifies sacrifice, but all current meanings attributed to this card are cartomancists' intuitions, apart from any real value on the symbolical side. The fortune-tellers of the eighteenth century who circulated Tarots, depict a semi-feminine youth in jerkin, poised erect on one foot and loosely attached to a short stake driven into the ground.

S. L. MacGregor Mathers's Divinatory Meanings

Upright

Self-sacrifice, Sacrifice, Devotion, Bound

Reversed

Selfishness, Unbound, Partial sacrifice.

Papus's Divinatory Meanings

Trials. Sacrifice.