12. Le Pendu

The Hanged Man from Tarocchino Arlecchino

About the Card

English Name(s)

The Hanged Man, The Traitor


  • Grand Etteilla: Card Number 18
  • Tarot de Marseille: Trump XII

Image Description

A Harlequin hangs from one ankle between two thick ornamental columns. He wears a black mask with brown spirals on the cheeks and short horns on the top. His costume is decorated with red, blue, green, and brown diamonds and features gold puffed sleeves and pants. His tied right foot touches the ceiling, which is half red and half green. His left leg is crossed behind his right, and his hands are hidden behind his back.

Further Notes

The Hanged Man does not appear in the Grand Etteilla. The Etteilla school believed this card was presented upside down, and in its original version showed not someone hanging from a rope but a person treading on a snake (with hair raised in fear). The snake imagery fit with the virtue Prudence. Following this story, A.E. Waite listed “prudence” as one of the interpretations of the Hanged Man, but Etteilla decks went further and replaced the Hanged Man with Prudence.

The Grand Etteilla’s Card Number 18 depicts a monk or hermit resembling Trump VIIII of the Marseille Tarot. However, this card’s keywords are more fitting for the Hanged Man, who is also called the Traitor in Italian traditions. For this trump in Tarocchino Arlecchino, I took the upright keyword of Traitor from 18 of the Grand Etteilla. I added the reversed keyword as a nod to a common alternate interpretation of the Hanged Man, as a potentially noble sacrifice rather than a shamed criminal.

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Traitor, deceiver, dissimulation, hypocrite, fanatic, hypocrisy, fanaticism, impostor, disguise, imposture, corruptor, seducer, treason, craftiness, trickery.


Sacrifice, penance, offering, devotion, renunciation, surrender, loss, abnegation, punishment, correction, penalty, atonement.