Alison Spokes

Faerie Tales from an Artist & Tarot Reader

Tarot Geek Wisdom 4: Batman’s The Joker & The Hanged Man

Lessons from The Hanged Man card:

There are times to act or take control, and there are times when it’s in our best interest to do the opposite. The Hanged Man shows up to advise us that it’s time to hang back, wait and surrender. He also asks us to pause and take a good look at the situation from another point of view.  How do things look now that they’ve been turned around? Are we still giving the intended impression? Are our actions having an impact on others? Is that impact negative or positive? Are we achieving the results we hoped for, or are we beginning to see any unanticipated consequences? The period of stagnation offered be the Hanged Man is best put to use by reassessing our beliefs and our next actions moving forward in order to achieve something of much greater value.

Lesson from Batman: The Dark Knight:

“WHY SO SERIOUS?” –The Joker, The Dark Knight

The catchphrase is so popular largely due to The Dark Knight’s production company’s advertising campaign leading up to movie premiere in 2008. The elaborate interactive promotion had 11 million fans turn hundreds of cities across 75 countries into real life Gotham Cities by chasing clues, campaigning for Harvey Dent, becoming copycat vigilantes and marching in the streets as the Joker’s henchmen. It was a new level of marketing that had never been witnessed before. When we finally heard the Joker say his infamous line in the movie, he momentarily flips our perspective of him from villain to victim, relaying the story of how he got his scars by describing his abusive father who cut a smile on his face for worrying about the safety of his mother. Why so serious?
“Why so serious?” is used rhetorically in geek conversation to address a person who ought to look at themselves from the perspective of the others in the room.  It calls attention to a presence that doesn’t fit an otherwise jovial atmosphere and places accountability on the recipient. In other words, it means, “lighten up; smile.”  The phrase can certainly be abused by the cruel or the reckless, but it allows those perceived to be overly uptight or sensitive to consciously decide if they are willing to been identified as such for a good and just cause …or change their subsequent behaviour to more adequately reflect the persona with which they prefer to identify.
No matter the incarnation, the Joker is the archetypal trickster with a psychopathic twist. He makes it his personal duty to expose the cultural, political, and ethical hypocrisies society chooses to ignore by executing heinous criminal acts, forcing us to look at our choices and ethnocentrism from another perspective, much like the Hanged Man in the Tarot …less the psycho part. The Joker takes great pleasure in forcing others (especially Batman) to confront their demons and see themselves in a different light.

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Author: Ali

Alison Spokes was born and raised in Houston, British Columbia and currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia as a self-taught digital fantasy artist and Tarot card reader. Visit her website:

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