Welcome to the next - oft-delayed but always eventually here - entry in my Queer Tarot series! If you're new here, the story so far:
This series gives LGBTQIA+ people's perspectives on Tarot cards. Tarot is a set of symbols added on to playing cards, depicting a spiritual journey, used for meditation or fortune telling. Catch up with the characters we've met so far by clicking on these links for The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, the Wheel of Fortune, and Justice. The version that's thought of as the basic traditional Tarot, from which the myriad of decks are influenced and inspired, was drawn by mixed race bisexual lady Pamela "Pixie" Colman Smith, whose insights I'm sure made it into this art commission given her by straight white men. So I asked LGBTQIA+ Tarot users online to give me their viewpoints on the cards, and the result is this series!
Today we're giving the Queer Eye to The Hanged Man.
This, as any ABC level of understanding of Tarot will tell you, is a card of perspective. Seeing ourselves differently, and being ourselves differently, has such obvious resonance with the queer experience, that I don't think I even need to spell it out! How many of us felt, after we came out of the closet - or even when we decided we were going to come out of the closet - or even before that, when we first rediscovered and redefined ourselves - finally felt like we'd found a better way to live, a better way to be alive? Didn't so many of us finally admit the truth about ourselves, to ourselves, because our past way of lying to ourselves, or being wrong about ourselves, ashamed or even afraid of ourselves,just wasn't working for us anymore?
Is someone reading this right now who needs to press pause; ask themselves "What am I even doing?"; and start changing their point of view on their own persona?
Coming out to ourselves, let alone coming out to others, can bring with it a deep-reaching time of reflection - I'm sure there's someone reading this who needs to either be reminded, or reassured, that this is only temporary. It's also incredibly important for you, and for your spirit, that it doesn't become something you're lost in or stuck with, but something you take control of as part of your evolution, so you can grow. (That sentence almost had its words the other way around - part of your growth so you can evolve; I'm so attached to both versions, that I think I'll leave this one here too, so you can just see for yourself which one most resonates with you and pick that one to take away!)
Coming out; not just as a moment of opening the closet door, but as a true new phase of living openly outside of it; can also - though it can seem to be very self-seeking and self-experiential, and is even often condemned by homophobes and transphobes as selfish or self-centred - can actually, ironically, be an incredibly selfless act.
We're choosing to live vulnerable to both love and hate, neither of which would have been ours if we had just stayed in the closet; and in doing so, we become the one who influenced and inspired someone, somewhere, sometime, somehow, to realise the same thing about themselves, and finally open their own closet door.
This form of compassion may not always be rewarded in the obviously deserved or desired way, but always has the potential to be deeply rewarding in its own unique way.
You will always find someone on your side and by your side when you fly your Pride flag; that's why we're called the LGBTQIA+ community. There's something in the world that leaves it richer than before, when we give it the gift of being our true, unique, eclectic selves!
Whether this comes about by pausing for reflection; a slow process of time; a change in priorities; and exposure to unconventional ideas; or just a sudden desire to be different - all the things the Hanged Man card stands for! - we can find what we're seeking inside ourselves, and can help others do the same, when we try to understand our own situation - our own self - from the different perspective the Hanged Man image symbolises.
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