Arthur E. Waite - The Pictorial Key to the Tarot :
The gallows from which he is suspended forms a Tau cross, while the figure - from the position of the legs - forms a fylfot cross. There is a nimbus about the head of the seeming martyr. It should be noted:
(1) that the tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves thereon;
(2) that the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering;
(3) that the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, but life and not death.
It is a card of profound significance, but all the significance is veiled. One of his editors suggests that Eliphas Levi did not know the meaning, which is unquestionable nor did the editor himself. It has been called falsely a card of martyrdom, a card a of prudence, a card of the Great Work, a card of duty; but we may exhaust all published interpretations and find only vanity.
I will say very simply on my own part that it expresses the relation, in one of its aspects, between the Divine and the Universe.
He who can understand that the story of his higher nature is imbedded in this symbolism will receive intimations concerning a great awakening that is possible, and will know that after the sacred Mystery of Death there is a glorious Mystery of Resurrection.
P. D. Ouspensky – The Symbolism Of The Таrot :
And then I saw a man in terrible suffering, hung by one leg, head downward, to a high tree. And I heard the voice:
--"Look! This is a man who saw Truth. Suffering awaits the man on earth, who finds the way to eternity and to the understanding of the Endless.
"He is still a man, but he already knows much of what is inaccessible even to Gods. And the incommensurableness of the small and the great in his soul constitutes his pain and his golgotha.
"In his own soul appears the gallows on which he hangs in suffering, feeling that he is indeed inverted.
"He chose this way himself.
"For this he went over a long road from trial to trial, from initiation to initiation, through failures and falls.
"And now he has found Truth and knows himself.
"He knows that it is he who stands before an altar with magic symbols, and reaches from earth to heaven; that he also walks on a dusty road under a scorching sun to a precipice where a crocodile awaits him; that he dwells with his mate in paradise under the shadow of a blessing genius; that he is chained to a black cube under the shadow of deceit; that he stands as a victor for a moment in an illusionary chariot drawn by sphinxes; and that with a lantern in bright sunshine, he seeks for Truth in a desert.
"Now he has found Her".