Lessons of the Hanged Man and Flattening the Curve

It is safe to say that we are in strange times that, judging by any number of Facebook and other social memes, feel apocalyptic to many people. In the face of the novel Coronavirus outbreak, many of the things that make daily life feel normal have been stripped away from us in a matter of days. But I want everyone to take a moment to realize that the world is not ending. Sure, it is changing, and sure these times are difficult and there will be devastating loss…but the world itself is most assuredly not going to end.

This planet isn’t going anywhere, but it may be looking a bit cleaner these days.

A life crisis has a way of knocking you off balance and making it seem like things are turned upside down. Personally, I have found it difficult to feel grounded when there are so many awful headlines in the news. It can be hard to strike a balance between being informed and being obsessed, just like it can seem difficult for some to strike a balance between “stocking up” and “hoarding” everything in the store or online. It’s hard to stay grounded when daily routines and rituals are interrupted. I miss the familiarity of doing readings at Crescent Moon Gifts, taking my son to his music class and just going to the store without feeling intense anxiety.

A picture of extreme luxury and decadence in 2020.

All-in-all, I don’t have that much new to say about the COVID-19 situation that hasn’t already been shared ad infinitum. But I did want to share some insights I have had leading into this time, and how I think they are applicable to us all as well.


Before the “shelter-in-place” order was given here in Washington state, I had done several tarot readings for myself and had a couple readings done by others to assess where I should be turning my attention. There has been a lot of positive growth and change in my life, but finding focus has been a challenge. The card that kept coming up in my own readings, and in those I received from others, was the Hanged Man.

The Hanged Man, Rider-Waite-Smith Deck

I was getting pretty frustrated with seeing this card pop up again, and again, and again. It felt like a gatekeeper between where I was currently, and where I wanted to be. Instead of getting answers, I was being told to reflect and wait. Now isn’t the time to act or commit, or do much of anything. Wait it out. I even consulted an astrologer, and the stars were saying the same thing. Don’t make big decisions at this time. Make slow, steady progress in areas you’ve already been focusing on. Wait for what comes next. With the ogham, I got the reed and the blackthorn in many of my readings- a sign of purification, but also unavoidable obstacles that force you to stop and reassess the situation.

The blackthorn thicket is an impenetrable bulwark; sometimes its best not to run headfirst into the bramble bush.

Then, with the Coronavirus explosion, it made sense why the signs were pointing in the direction of waiting and not acting. The message was telling me that I’d have to start sitting with my own discomfort of not being able to do anything, and to find the value in putting aside temporarily the need to be productive.

While this personal message was important for me, I think a lot of us do struggle with this time of being stuck at home, so isolated from other people and the many things that provide us with comfort and a sense of security. So that’s why I want to turn my attention to the Hanged Man, and why I think he’s a great symbol for this period in time.

The Hanged Man, we will notice, is in a precarious inverted position where he can see things from a new perspective, in many ways reminiscent of the Norse god Odin, who hung from the World Tree, Yggdrasil as a sacrifice for gaining the knowledge of the runes, as seen in the illustration above (source, unfortunately is unknown).

Like Odin, the Hanged Man he is not struggling. He is still firmly anchored by one foot in the mundane, with another hanging freely in the world of spirit. His head is crowned by the halo of gnosis, representing the knowledge he has gained by swinging, suspended and reflecting on this world turned upside down (and also probably getting a hell of a headrush). His hands are behind his back. He is not acting. He is content to wait this situation out until the moment of liberation can at last be attained.

I think that’s the important bit. The Hanged Man can be uncomfortable and may feel like an interminable period of waiting, but it’s not forever. This too, shall pass, and there will be a return to something that feels more normal, but it may not exactly be the same. Perhaps he will have changed for the experience, or we may return to a world that has changed in some way. In the case of our real world, I would imagine that it may be a mixture of both.


So if there is one thing I can leave you with as you hopefully are able to stay inside during this quarantine period is the fact that this situation, no matter how terrible or how long it may seem to last, will in time pass. There have been countless pandemics in the past, many other times when quarantine was necessary to protect the greater good, and each time there was eventually a light at the end of the tunnel. This is not to downplay the severity of this situation, only to offer a small glimmer of hope during this dark and trying time. The world is not ending. This is not the apocalypse- that’s the impending climate crisis, if we’re not willing to take that seriously as well.

We must be willing to be patient through this. Once the curve does begin to flatten, we will still need to be cautious and be willing to wait. I imagine social distancing and frequent hand-washing will be a part of our cultural repertoire for some time, even if isolating ourselves to our homes is not.


So, while you’re waiting, I hope that you are as comfortable as can be expected, and that you are safe and that you are well, along with your loved ones. Be kind to yourself and be gentle. You don’t need to be productive at this time. You just need to keep yourself safe, and everyone else around you as well. You can save lives just by staying home as much as you can, and that’s a powerful thought.


If you’re looking for some additional clarity or are wondering how you can make the most out of this strange period we find ourselves in, feel free to contact me for a reading. I may not be at Crescent Moon Gifts while the store is temporarily closed, but I am available for Skype readings, or via my Fortunes.Today number, 808-201-3667, extension 16273.