A Feminist Tarot: The Hanged Man

A redesigned deck with feminist iconography would not be the first time this card has been named “The Hanged Woman” rather than “The Hanged Man”.  Essentially, this is one of those cards where it literally makes no difference to the interpretation to change the imagery that way.

The message of the card, though, is another one that is exceedingly relevant to the feminist movement.  It has to do with having to sacrifice something, to put oneself in a position which may be uncomfortable and strange, to see the world in a new way and enable change and a move into something new.   I’m reminded of the exceedingly cheesy motivational motto:  If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

I can’t believe I really typed that.

But, okay, it’s true.  To make progress towards full gender equality, we have to shake up our point of view and see the world through different perspectives.  We have to sacrifice some things — most notably the ways in which some of us actually benefit from the patriarchal system and the ideas which have been deeply ingrained in us by our culture that cause us to negatively judge each other — in order to build something better. Equality and justice has to be fought and worked for.  It’s never just given willingly.

And even more importantly than that, this card speaks to a period of suspension between the end of something and the beginning of something else.  Change doesn’t happen instantaneously.  We have to be willing to hang on through the really uncomfortable transition periods to get to the other side.

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