Willingness: A Hanged Man Year Card

January 24, 2016

Many years ago, when I was first starting to learn tarot, I began paying attention to my year card each year. To quote my last blog post:


Year cards in the tarot tell you about the gifts and challenges you may face in the year ahead. You know, like your tarot horoscope!


I have been paying attention to my year card for over a decade and I have found it SO HELPFUL. I believe the tarot has lasted through the ages because the archetypes of the major arcana speak to core themes of human experience. The cool thing about starting work with year cards is that one lesson leads to another, and the work of the previous year informs and supports us through our journey of life.


(If you want to calculate your own year card, check out this post.)


In today's post, I’m sharing about my new year card for this year, The Hanged Man, and reflecting on Strength, my card from last year.


 Image by Lakandiwa


XII - The Hanged One


My year card this year is #12 in the Major Arcana, The Hanged Man (or, Hanged One). This card teaches us about the power of active surrender. Not the kind of surrender that is giving up or feeling hopeless. This is “go with the flow” surrender in the most powerful way.


There is a lesson that I often refer to in regards to this card. It speaks to me. I learned of it as 'a message from a Hopi elder', but after doing some research have found challenges to that assertion that I’m inclined to take seriously. However, I want to share the teaching as I understand it, since it does speak to my worldview in many ways. In my own words, here it is:


We have come to a time of great change on our planet. This change can feel scary and filled with unknowns, like a rushing river that is fast and powerful. Many people will cling the banks, holding on for dear life to the familiar ways they have known. But this will not help.  What is asked of us now is to let go and make our way to the center of the river, to keep our heads above water, notice who is around us, and let ourselves be carried. Only by trusting the river will we make our way into the future in the best way possible.






Last year I had Strength as my card. (XI and VIII are inverted in some decks, so your deck may have XI as Justice). On New Years 2015, I set a BIG resolution to cut down to part time employment at my current job, and step onto the path of self employment by 2016. Number XI is correlated to the solar plexus chakra, and therefore relates to our free will and willpower. As I sat with my year card, I vowed that I’d put 110% of my willpower into manifesting my vision.



Over the course of the year, I busted ass to lay the foundation for a viable business. While working full time and being a single mom, I took a business class, taught classes, grew my tarot clientele, and started a blog. This took strength in some literal ways - it demanded stamina, late nights, planning and organization and commitment to the big dream. And, you know. Our big dreams, the things we really really want, are so vulnerable.


By the end of the year, I felt truly empowered. My efforts - my WILL -  paid off, and just a few weeks ago I made the agreement with my employers to cut down my hours starting in February so that I can give more of my time and effort to growing Red Seeds.




When New Year’s Day came around this year, 2016. I pulled out my new year card and started giving it some consideration. The Hanged Man takes a jump up from the solar plexus chakra up to the heart chakra. So...here I am, coasting off this super drive momentum of willpower and making shit happen. There’s a big part of me, now that I’m making this change in my employment, that’s ready to put my head down and work harder than ever. But the Hanged Man says….that’s not quite it. Not quite the way to go. This year needs a different approach.


As I understand it, I now have to learn the balance between “will” and “willingness.”


Does this mean giving up? Stopping with my efforts or hard work? No. It doesn’t. But what it DOES mean is opening my heart, listening to spirit, trusting that no matter how much I “WILL” stuff, I also have to let myself be carried in the flow, and trust that I will end up in the right place.


III - The Empress


The shadow of the The Hanged Man is number III, The Empress. The Empress is all about experiencing abundance, sensuality, creativity and connection to the natural world. She is at ease, and she radiates trust.


In a Hangman year, when we are brought face to face with the limits to our willpower, the Empress reminds us to refocus our gaze on the pleasures of life, and the sources of our inspiration. She reminded me personally that since my daughter was born I have more or less stopped going out dancing, seeing art or attending theater, all of which bring me such joy. There’s also the truth that endless hard work leads to burnout. This year, I am looking at my calendar and blocking out days for rest and inspiration - no work allowed.


Practicing the Lessons


By creating time for beauty, rest and inspiration, I am also saying “yes” to pacing. In a capitalist framework we want growth to be entirely in our control and always upward. Not gonna lie, I want this too. But I also want sustainability. I want the heart of my efforts to be grown from love. I want my life to have balance. Again, the hanged man card says “patience, trust, will to willingness.”


Want to learn more about your year card this year? I do year card readings! Click here to schedule a reading.


Also, if you live in Philadelphia, I am teaching Foundations of Tarot starting February 8th. This 7 week class is not to be missed! Click here to find out more.

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