The Hanged Man (Tarot card)
It depicts a pittura infamante, a shameful image of a traitor being punished in a manner common at the time for traitors in Italy.
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. It should be noted (1) that the tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves thereon; (2) that the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering; (3) that the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, but life and not death. [...] It has been called falsely a card of martyrdom, a card of prudence, a card of the Great Work, a card of duty [...] I will say very simply on my own part that it expresses the relation, in one of its aspects, between the Divine and the Universe.
- Waite, A. E. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, ill. by Pamela Colman Smith , at sacred-texts.com
- A. E. Waite's 1910 Pictorial Key to the Tarot
- Hajo Banzhaf, Tarot and the Journey of the Hero (2000)
- Wood, Juliette. (1998) "The Celtic Tarot and the Secret Tradition: A Study in Modern Legend Making". Folklore 109: 15–24
- Francesca Lia Block, The Hanged Man (1999)
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