A Different Center of Gravity

The Hanged (Wo)man is the (wo)man of faith — suspended between two kingdoms, (s)he has a different “center of gravity” than those without such faith.  St. Teresa of Avila and Abraham are representative of this orientation.

Quoting Meditations on the Tarot:

preview 12. The Hanged ManThe domain of freedom — the spiritual life — is found placed between two gravitational fields with two different centres. The Gospel designates them as “heaven” and “this world”, or as the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of the prince of this world”. And it designates those whose will follows or is submitted to the gravitation of “this world” as “children of this world”, and those whose will follows the gravitation of “heaven” as the “children (or the sons) of light”.


The human being participates in these two gravitational fields…

These “opposing desires” arc the tendencies through which the two gravitational fields manifest themselves. The man who lives in the grip of gravitation of “this world” at the expense of the gravitation of “heaven” is the “carnal man”; he who lives in equilibrium between the two gravitational fields is the “psychic man”: and. lastly, the one who lives under the sway of the gravitation of “heaven” is the “spiritual man”.

It is this latter who constitutes the subject of the twelfth Arcanum of the Tarot, for it is an upside-down man that the twelfth Card represents. The Hanged Man represents the condition of one in the life of whom gravitation from above has replaced that from below.

Firstly, it should be said that attraction from above is as real as that from below, and that the condition of a human being who has passed, whilst living, from the field of terrestrial gravitation into that of heaven is indeed comparable to that of the Hanged Man of the Card. This is at one and the same time a benefaction and a martyrdom; both are very real.


“Who is the Hanged Man? Is he a saint, a righteous man, an initiate?

He can certainly be regarded as all three, for all three have in common that their will is an organ of heaven, but what he is most especially, what he represents individually, is neither sanctity, nor righteousness, nor initiation, but something which is their synthesis. The Hanged Man is the eternal Job, tried and tested from century to century, who represents humanity towards God and God towards humanity. The Hanged Man is the truly human man and his lot is a truly human one.

The Hanged Man is the representative of humanity who is found between two kingdoms— that of this world and that of heaven. For that which is truly human in man and in humanity is the Hanged Man.



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