The Hanged Man – Le pendu


Astonishing character this Pendu immobilized at the end of his wire. He is an illustration of the torture victim suspended on the fourches patibulaires, the forks sinisters, to the gibet, the scaffold. Let’s quote the Petit Robert dictionnary. “Fourches patibulaires: scaffold composed in the beginning of two forks planted out of the ground, supporting a cross-piece to which one suspended the torture victims.”

We are in the VIII-XII axis, La justice-Le pendu, and the bond between the exercise of justice and torment could not be clearer. “(…) in the XIIth century (…) the aristocratic company rents violence and nourishes its honor of this violence. And if it limits the effects of them within its own group, doesn’t she especially exert it on the men whom it dominates? At the same time as the power of the castle continues, the military and legal institutions on which rests the power of the sovereign were erased. The lords of the land exert justice and they set up proudly the fourches patibulaires, symbols of the justice of blood.” “High justice, the justice of blood, most prestigious, is symbolized by the fourches patibulaires composed of two or more pillars. It is often less expensive for the lord (to carry out justice…) unless one does propose a pecuniary compensation more interesting for the lord.”

In the XIIth century, this form of torment was reserved to the castle, with the lord. The king and the Parliament did not use such forks. This habit specific to the cours seigneuriales will disappear as they are not as essential as the cours royales. But in the first half of the century, this kind of sacaffold is the standard in the provincial legal landscape.



La justice de sang


Between 1098 and 1109 – Library of Dijon


The justice of blood was also called Haute justice. On this illustration, of which we present only one detail, one distinguishes the torturer supporting himself next to the middle of the fork. The torture victim rests with his head at least two meters of the ground. On Arcana XII on the other hand, the body seems to be almost inserted in the ground. It does look any more to be a question of high justice. The Pendu unit suggests that we are in the presence of a low justice, that of the men. High justice, that of God (and/or of the King), is exerted besides. It borrows a mystical character. And it is well towards the spiritual side that our study of the so particular symbolism of the Pendu carries us.

Esoteric christianity, so impregnated of the Manicheism shunned by the representatives of the official Church, carries a very particular look at Jesus. It is seen here, in XII. “In the desire to put Christianity at the range of the great masses, the official dogma popularized it and simplified it to the extreme; it dissimulated the primarily tragic nature of it (…) A fight began consequently between the current esoteric and the current exoteric. (The current esoteric) Christ with the eyes of Michel-Angel does not see (…) but with the eyes of Mani: overcome and eternally suffering, as at the time of Gethsémani, (…) ; nature continues to groan, according to the word of Paul saint; the evil continues to dominate.”

And, indeed, this Arcana is initially the illustration of a passage of the Writings where it is said that as Christ was judged by Pontius Pilate then delivered to the Pharisees who crucified Him. In the text, the expression crucifixion is turned in Hebrew in the following way: hung to the tree or hung to wood.

Moreover, the allegorical symbolic system of Isaac carrying the wood of the sacrifice corresponded in the spirit of the monks and the Fathers of the Church to Christ carrying the Cross. It is what we have here. The knee folded in cross of and the suspended position the character are a recall of Christ’s martyrdom. It can be useful at this point to recall that the spanish Jews of the Middle Ages designated between themselves the central figure of Christianity, Jesus, by using the expression “Le pendu”, the hungman!

It was a serious insult, because in the Bible, hung/pendu is ¨ (…) a curse of God.

¨ The expression hung to wood was a great success. Initially it is Manicheism which made itself it’s promoter. Saint Augustin reports the word of the Faustus Manichean: “Jesus, the Life and the Safety of the men, is suspended with any wood.”

The manichean gnosis professes that the Light, the divine heart, is found in the plants, especially the trees which were used as cross for Jesus. It is one of the central figure of Manicheism, Jesus Patibilis, the Jesus liable, suffering. This image represented the suffering of the anima mundi, the heart of the world.

Arcana XII is built around this manichean framework. (…)


Translation (In progress…) by Rom with Babelfish

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À propos de Rom

Je suis connu sous le nom de Rom depuis mes débuts dans la Tarotsphère en 1998. Je suis Bachelier en Animation et recherche culturelle, mineure en Histoire de l'art, de l'Université du Québec à Montréal. Je m'intéresse à l'histoire du Tarot depuis 1985. J'ai eu la chance de bénéficier d'un concours de circonstances favorables qui m'a permis d'approfondir mes recherches sur le sujet. J'en livre le fruit ici. Bienvenue sur Tarotchoco ! Etherium : 0x3e5841525EBeD57B5Ca83506Cc45b5fcA2763068
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2 réponses à The Hanged Man – Le pendu

  1. jérôme dit :

    carré rouge, en effet !

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