The Hanged Man in love: What to do when it’s best to do nothing.

Hanged man

The Hanged Man from the New Pallidini Tarot.

Getting the Hanged Man in a tarot spread, especially if it’s a romance spread…tends to make people slump. They either assume it is a bad card, or they just…blank out, and spend time on all the cards around it, carefully avoiding it like the upside down elephant in the room. But…I am here to make an argument that The Hanged Man is a friend. A good friend. The one that gently but exasperatingly tries to get you to PUT DOWN THE SHOVEL (or that phone!) and quit digging yourself in deeper.

Listen to your pal.

An excerpt from my book, Love Tarot for Beginners, on our serene acrobat:



A pause in the action. Needing to let go of all attempts to control. Sacrifice. Peaceful waiting. Submission.


This is a card of fascinating contradictions. Its message is one of needing to behave in a way that is probably the opposite of what is instinctual for you.

The Hanged Man is here to tell you that this is a time where you cause more problems the more you struggle, cause more loss the more you “try.” This is a time of letting go; not of the relationship, but of any attempts to control the outcome.

This is out of your hands. In a traditional Tarot deck, you will see that even though the man is suspended upside down, his face is serene. This is you. This needs to be you. In letting go, you win. In surrendering, you survive. If you are pushing someone hard to behave in a certain way, give you what you want to create a certain experience, or even to feel a certain way, then it will not succeed.

This is a delicate time, and whatever happens next will not be up to you. There are certain cards in the deck that strongly reinforce this idea. If The Fool, The High Priestess, Strength, or the restful Four of Swords show in the same reading, then you need to be cool as a cucumber: relax, be gentle with yourself, and let go of all demands.

If the Lovers card appears with this card, well, then you are really twisting in the wind, and the fate of this relationship is out of your hands.

Control is a tricky thing. It’s like trying to sit on top of a beach ball while in a swimming pool: sure, you got that baby under water for now, but eventually it’s going to pop up, and you are going down. Why not, instead, gently hold onto that ball as you skim the surface, letting it carry you across the water?


You don’t get to know that right now! This is the Tarot’s “Magic 8 Ball” equivalent of “Ask Again Later.” Later, by the way, doesn’t mean in an hour. Be still. Have faith. Let go. This is a card of beneficial outcome, but only if you stop struggling.


Ah. It is very, very hard to let go of the need to control. Especially when you LURVE someone, or WANT someone, or, eep, feel like you NEED someone. That’s a crummy feeling, that last one. It has a graspy, exhausted tone that feels something like holding your arms out in front of you for, say, about an hour.

No good.

Here is a case of freedom in surrender. What does surrender look like, in this case? Setting down the phone. Frantic texts are not for you. Freedom to Think About Other Things Besides Mr. Or Ms. Perfect. Freedom to focus on neglected friendships, hobbies, interests. Freedom, because to do anything ELSE poke poke poke at that cage of wished for outcome, is a big dang mistake. STOP IT. You can not pester the situation into submission..into wanting you.

You are a person of value and you don’t chase after stuff. Stuff wants you, baby.

So hang.

Watch it come to you happily…or drop away, because it was never going to work. Either way.. you win!

Good luck out there!





You can’t make someone love you, and other truths we pretend are not true.

The Lovers and The Tower

Life Changing Awesome or a Really Bad Time? Could be either! Whee!


There is a very pervasive and understandably appealing idea that you can, though sheer force of will and possibly specialized, targeted, frankly manipulative behavior, win the heart of someone who might otherwise not give you the time of day.

It is a comforting thought. If you only make all your reasonable needs teeny teeny tiny, and just Become the Magical Mate of Their Dreams, they will drop their defenses or apathy and just perk right up and be awesome to you.

Then they will love you, and commit, and you will be so happy, and all the hard work you did landing that fish will be so worth it, because LOVE.

This is something akin to putting on a very elaborate costume for a date, having the date go swimmingly, and then realizing if you want to keep the romance going, you are going to need to keep that costume on forever. And ever….and ever.

Dance clown, dance.

It doesn’t work. You can only be Not You for so long, and some people have a very short shelf life for this behavior. The amazing guy who suddenly needs time with friends, now that he thinks you are in the bag…a mere month in. The cool girl who suddenly isn’t so easy going and maybe doesn’t really love football as much as you thought. If you go into a romance playing a role, you will be exhausted sooner than you think. You know this. Yet, we keep doing this.

The combination of The Lovers and The Tower together in a reading can seem confusing, but that’s only because it REALLY IS CONFUSING, and here is why: This combination can be seen as either wildly good, or a nightmare, and it’s all about the moment when the roles can no longer be played, and the “real” both of you decides to show up.


The Lovers is the big brother of the Two of Cups. When The Lovers show up, Feelings are Stirred. This isn’t just a flirtation. This is fierce stuff, possibly obsessive if badly expressed, and sometimes indicative of a profound crush between to people who are not entirely single. Paired with The Tower, whose explosive quality is all about the NOW, (as in, when the Tower appears the reading will manifest in days, rather than weeks or months), we have keg of gunpowder and everyone is throwing matches for funsies.

Here’s where it gets weird. This combination, oh so rarely, can mean you met the person who will Rock Your World in a Great Big Way, and it’s a good thing. It’s a magical thing. It’s a thing that can change your life, and it happens. Good lordy I wish that for you, and everyone who hurts and wants. Who doesn’t want that?

Ok someone, maybe, but they aren’t here.


Alas, though, more often than not, it is that extraordinary moment in a not-working, poorly fitting relationship when someone just…drops…the…act. They stop pretending they are Mr. or Ms. Perfect For You and just pull away, or snarl at you in resentment of the role they have chosen to play (or you do that yourself!), or someone does something catastrophically harmful and the whole house of cards comes down, and no one quite understands what happened, and wow, who the hell are YOU?

No good. So what to do? Fit. Are they a good fit?…Knowing who is a good fit for you is your best bet, so knowing what YOUR needs are, and valuing them, is everything. I know what you are thinking…you are thinking “Oh PLEASE, like I don’t know this!”…..right..sure…but how often have you ignored these basic needs? I’m betting often, and his name was Chad, at least once.

I’m not allowed any more Michaels, myself.

We often ignore the many painful little signs our minds and hearts give us that tell us this is not a good fit and will eventually collapse in a heap of hurt and confusion. We ignore them a lot. We pretend we can be with someone who is of a completely different ideology than us because we Just Won’t Talk About It, or the Sex Is Good. We pretend we Want Children when we really Don’t Want Children. Maybe he got the impression, somehow, that you are Open to an Open Relationship when you are No Effing Way on that.  I know someone who married a slender woman in spite of having a strong preference for larger women. Very. Strong. Preference. That went really well for all involved. Good times.

So, discernment of fit is everything. We are so used to pretzeling ourselves to fit what we think the Person of Interest desires, but in truth, the love that is easy long term is the love that was easy at the start. Great sex because you are compatible. Enough interests shared that you can do stuff together while also doing your own thing. Same ideologies. Same politics, if that is a passion. Similar taste in food and adventure and new experiences. A matching communication style. Matching kink.

….and most profoundly…Both of you want the same thing, whatever it is, in the way of relationship. Or else…


You don’t have to be perfect. Your weird just needs to match their weird in ways either complimentary or similar. If you have that, love is, at a fundamental level, pretty effortless.

I know. I used to think that was horseshit too. Then it happened to me.


Good luck out there.




(Deck featured is the beautiful and classic Aquarian Tarot)