The Hanged Man: Gary McKinnon from a Tarot Perspective
I have often thought of Gary McKinnon as a real-life representation of the twelfth card in the Tarot, ‘The Hanged Man’. Below are a couple of examples from two very well-known Tarot decks, the Rider Waite and the Morgan-Greer.
Take a look at these two cards. A man is hanging upside down; his face is relaxed; his posture, with his arms held behind his back could be that of someone just waiting, without a care in the world, if the man was standing up.
It is clear that this is not a man who is being hung, as a form of execution, but rather a man who is suspended, waiting.
Gary McKinnon has been waiting for a decision on his fate for almost 10 years now. He was a young man when he was caught hacking into the Pentagon’s unsecured computers, and he is now 45 years old. During the past 10 years, he has been suspended in limbo, while the most prolonged, drawn-out, Bleak House-style legal proceedings have been under way. Because of his deteriorating mental health, Gary has made very few public appearances in recent times; he has given up control over his destiny and handed it over to his mother, Janis Sharp, who is the face of the campaign to grant him a U.K. trial.
The Hanged Man is tied to a wooden frame which is made of Rods (also referred to as Wands, which are the suit of ‘action’); therefore, he is tied to the action that he cannot control. The clouds in the background of the Morgan Greer card represent the air, the high concepts of justice of liberty that are being discussed while the subject hangs, still.
The twelfth card in the Tarot is even more relevant to Gary McKinnon’s life when one looks at the cards that precede it and that follow. Card No. 11 is “Justice”; card no. 13 is “Death” (which, in the traditional Tarot de Marseille, is actually referred to as “The Arcane with No Name”). Justice initiated the process; in the name of ‘Justice’ Gary was arrested and in the name of ‘Justice’ the USA demanded his extradition; but even the ‘crime’ itself was triggered in a - probably misguided - pursuit of justice, as Gary was scanning the US defence computers in search of UFO technology that allegedly would solve the global shortage of fossil fuels.
“Death” is the end of this process, the end of hanging, a final conclusion. The end, in other words, is near. But what will “The End” mean for Gary McKinnon? What will be of this man when the final verdict is read out in court, when the final credits roll?
Even assuming a positive outcome - a U.K. trial, or a complete acquittal - there will be no walking into the sunset for Gary. His supporters will be celebrating, but he will have to re-adjust to standing up rather than hanging; his ankles will have been cut through to the flesh by the rope he has been hanging from for the last 10 years. Blood will rush from his head down to his feet. He will be unsteady on his legs. After ten years of being The Hanged Man, Gary McKinnon will have to learn how to walk all over again.