There are some other interesting tid-bits about the 12th Key (from this source):
- A probationary period in the realm of the soul, reflected in the primary colors, red, yellow, and blue referring to the Geburah/Tiphareth/Chesed triad
- Here the human will surrenders to the divine will, represented by the tree/cross
- "Mind" and "Man" share the same Sanskrit root - here we have the "Mind in Suspension"
- The letter assigned to the 12th Key is Mem- which means water. Water was the first mirror - and the mirror gives us pause; forces us to reflect and re-evaluate
- The number 12 relates to the 12 signs of the Zodiac, a cycle of completion, and a balancing of archetypes
- Inversion is part of a process of mixing; the man, hanging pendulum-like, waits meditatively. It is his only option, being bound by circumstances
- His position is an inverted alchemical glyph for sulphur, the chemical assigned to the Emperor card. His legs, in red, form a number 4 - the number and color of the Emperor. Sulphur is a symbol of "Accomplishment of the Great Work" - a successful transformation of lead into gold
- His relationship to the Emperor goes deeper. Aries, home sign of the Emperor, is impulsive, always leaping ahead. The Hanged Man shows restraint, a poised waiting, assessment of the situation
- His position suggests Hatha Yoga, a system of exercise. "Yoga" means "yoke", another form of restraint; discipline. This is not hanging in a punitive sense, rather this is self-control for a higher purpose
So The Hanged Man represents, inversion, mirroring, seeing the other point of view, and transformation, among other things. (While typing this I noticed that the colors of this key are the very same colors that comprise the halftone comic book image of my print - synchronicity at its finest!) At this point in my understand of this work, I was struck by the significance of Mem (the thirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet).
The gematria (an Assyro-Babylonian system of numerology later adopted by others often of Jewish faith) of mem is forty. Forty is the number of days it rained during the Flood; it is also the number of days Moses spent on Mount Sinai. Forty represents a metamorphosis, a transformation (remember what I wrote earlier about bones). The waters of the flood were not for revenge, but for atonement, to purify and transform the world. The mem also represents the womb. In essence, water is the womb of Creation. Before God created the heavens and the earth, the "spirit of G-d hovered over the waters" - the waters mentioned here are the womb from which Creation emerged, the place of gestation before the world came into existence.
Mem also corresponds to the 23rd path of the Sephirot. The following explanation of this path comes from this source:
This path is sometimes called the "Stable Intelligence." It is moving from Hod, the sphere of mental forms and communication, to Geburah, the sphere of fire/purification which breaks down forms so that Creation remains pristine. Here we have a type of spiritual technology where "the fire aspect when linked with water produces tremendous power much akin to an hydraulic pump". (Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, The Shining Paths, p 96) "Hod expands while Geburah restricts [...] The opposing energies of the two energies are forced into compliance with one another, resulting in unusual stability..." (Israel Regard, A Garden of Pomegranates, p 350) Through the fusion of these two opposites, a universal stability is formed.
The lesson in this Path is taught sufficiently from the Trump of The Hanged Man, showing how to train the human mind to work from the spiritual perspective. Crowley calls this Path/Trump the "card of the Dying God." (Book of Thoth, p. 97) This is the place where old ideas are purged to make way for a new, higher perspective in accordance with the Spiritual Will of the Universe. Ascending the Sephirot, the fiery heart of Geburah tests the purity of forms to discern what is useful and what isn't.
Another principle of water is reflection. It is in Hod that the principles of the Higher Mind (via Geburah) should be reflected. Also, we are immediately connected to Binah via water, whose influence passes directly through Geburah. "Binah is of the Spirit, the most concrete form of the Spirit qua Spirit, wherein the true image of the Self and Destiny rests." (Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism, Vol. II, p. 143)
In order to mirror this most pristine reflection of the God Reflection (Itself the mirror-image of the Unmanifest) we must inherit the symbol of the Cup for our being: " . . . the first task is to make the mind into a clear receptive vessel, capable of registering pure reason without being occluded by false opinions or mental taboos." (Knight, p.142-143)
Turning one's point of view upside down, in reverse, is the magical formula of seeing the world via the perspective of Spirit. Further, in the obvious attributions of self-sacrifice as seen in the Tarot Trump, we can understand that the result of this formula rests in relinquishing personal will for the Will of the Greater All.
I began to view my image as representing earth (the brown brick pattern) and toyed with ideas of putting water and even a little boat on it (that would have been adorable). Somewhere I stumbled upon the notion of The Veil of Paroketh. The Veil of Paroketh sits between Tiphareth and Yesod (also Hod and Geburah, see above) suggesting is separates our everyday consciousness from our subconscious (morality vs. nature). It can be seen as a veil between the mirror of the Abyss (below) and our super-consciousness (above). This concept fit perfectly within the meaning I was constructing - I placed the "veil" in a wave motion to mimic water. So, this is a transitioning soul, preparing to receive the sublime influx of Light from beyond; a transitory waypoint along the path towards Divination. This can be micro or macro; a personal tale or a statement of humanity in general.