The Hermit is the tenth card in the Tarot Deck. It is given the number 9 because the very first card (The Fool) is given the number 0.
The Hermit card represents ‘Time out’, Solitude, Seeking, Reflection, Being alone, Going ‘Walkabout’ or off on a ‘Vision Quest’.
Let’s look at the picture below of The Hermit. The picture is from the Rider Waite Tarot deck which was first published in 1909. It is a great deck for beginners because every card has a picture describing its meaning. Today the majority of Tarot decks are based on the Rider Waite deck. It is also a ‘deep’ deck because the creators of it put multi layered meanings inside it.
We see a man standing alone. It is cold and the mountain range he stands on has snow. He holds a staff on which he leans with his left hand and with his left hand he holds up a lamp with a 6 pointed star inside.
He stands and he seems to be inwards. Deep thinking with head bent. He is more interested in internal energies, than external.
He actually stands in the stance of the number 9 which rules the card.
Quiet, Serene, Inward. We imagine this is a person of few words.
The white beard indicates age and wisdom – wisdom through experience.
Grey traditionally represents Wisdom, and The Hermit is full of wisdom.
The Hermit leans on his staff that he holds in his left hand. The left hand is receptive and can represent the subconscious. We have a deep need to receive spiritual lessons. The staff supports us just as spirituality supports us.
We are reminded of Psalm 23, ‘Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me’.
The Hermit holds the lamp with his right hand. The right hand is conscious awareness – the Hermit knows that he is consciously creating solitude in order to become more aware. He holds the lamp up high and it illuminates his path. Inner illumination guides him to where he needs to go next.
The star is a six pointed star – a traditional Jewish symbol and one that is important in Kabbalah. It represents the downwards triangle of woman and the upward triangle of man. It represents the balance between male and female.
When we spend enough time in solitude we realize two things: We are all the same and we are all equal.
The Hermit also lights the way for others by sharing his wisdom and life experience. He goes into the wilderness to find himself and then he returns to help others find themselves.
Mountains covered in Snow
The Hermit is in a quiet place in nature, far from the civilized world. The landscape is a wide open space with little distraction. It is a place for going inwards. A place that is separate from our fast dynamic everyday world.
The mountains remind us of the journey of life – all of its ups and downs.
The snow reminds us of the cold external world. The Hermit is not warm and loving. He is inward and serious.
Gods / Goddesses
The Hermit is ruled by all the Gods and Goddesses that are loners, mystics and wisdom givers. All those deities that prize knowledge as gold.
Female: Hecate, Isis, Cerridwen, Brigid, The Muses, Sarasvati,
Male: Mercury, Saturn, Hermes, Ogma, Bramha, Odin, Woden,
The number of The Hermit is 9 – the number of completion and perfection. It is the last of the basic numbers and therefore is complete unto itself, just like the Hermit.
The astrological sign Virgo is associated with this card. Virgo is the virgin – complete unto itself (like the Hermit).
Virgo rules digestion – the small intestine and the pancreas. What do we digest and assimilate in our lives.? Sometimes the only way to know what we like and do not like in our lives is to have time to ourselves to think about it.
Mercury rules Virgo.
The creators of the Rider Waite Tarot deck were members of the Golden Dawn, a group that had many teachings based on the mystical Kabbalah of the Jewish nation. When I say Kabbalah forget about monotheism, Judaism, God, and religion for a moment. Kabbalists are mystics in a sense. They believe God is neither male nor female and in fact has many aspects. Their systems are all about learning why we are here, the mystery of the universe and what the big plan is.
Inside the Rider Waite deck is a multitude of Kabbalistic meanings. I will briefly explain a few of the Kabbalistic meanings within The Emperor card. Believe me when I say you could learn for the rest of your life about Tarot and Kabbalah and still only scratch the surface. I’m keeping it superficial but easy to understand. I am also using on purpose the word Kabbalah rather than Cabala.
The Hermit is represented by the letter Yod which is the first letter in the name of God.
The Hermit on The Tree of Life sits on the path between Chesed and Tifereth.
In Kabbalah the number 9 is highly connected to the physical reality and the spiritual one. Its the highest of the basic numbers so has significance in that right. 9 is also the number of months it takes to create new life.
The name of The Hermit is ‘Intelligence of Will’. The Hermit is intelligent because he chooses it.
KEYWORDS / KEY PHRASES
Inner Wisdom. Solitude. Looking within. Introduction. Reflection. Time alone. Meditation. Teacher of Wisdom.
MESSAGE FROM THE HERMIT
The Hermit wants you to know that you have all the answers inside of you. However the answers can only be found after a period of time reflecting in solitude. In our everyday busy lives it can be hard to access our inner wisdom and we thus need to sometimes switch off the mobile phone and retreat from the world.
The Hermit also wants to make a connection with the divine, but in his own way. There is a desire for union with the creator of the world.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do I feel I get enough time on my own?
Am I craving solitude right now?
Do I need to go on a retreat / Vision Quest?
How can I create more space in my life?
Is it time to reflect on my life?
Do I know who I really am?
Am I searching for my internal light?
Am I afraid of my wisdom?
Am I feeling a spiritual yearning?
Do I want to go on a spiritual journey?
Allow yourself to focus on that place inside you that is full of wisdom and allow yourself to access it by creating the space to do so.
THE HERMIT REVERSED
When I see a reversed card I simply see the energy blocked or inhibited in some way.
How would The Hermit be inhibited?
If you get The Hermit reversed for yourself or someone else some questions to ask might be…
Am I feeling lonely / alone / isolated from others?
Do I have a fear of being alone?
Do I feel suffocated by all the demands in my life?
Do I feel I want to run away from everything?
Am I feeling lost and confused in my life?
Why do I sabotage creating space and ‘time out’ for myself?
If you get The Hermit reversed it is warning you to create time in your life for you. If you do not, life will create the space FOR YOU and not usually in a nice way. You might get sick and be stuck at home for weeks – then you may get time out but feel physically awful.
TO SUM IT ALL UP…
The word Hermit comes from the Greek ‘eremites’ which means ‘one of the desert’. When you live or visit the desert there is no noise and what appears at first as no life. There is just you. Ultimate solitude. That is the essence of The Hermit.
The Hermit is about having time alone in solitude and going inside to seek the answers. This is not a card about seeking a spiritual guru or relgion – these are external. The Hermit is about knowing yourself and seeking spiritual truths inside. All the great mystics did it – Jesus, Buddha, Hildegard von Bingen etc.
Carl Jung the famous psychiatrist said that in order to truly know ourselves we need to journey within and through this process will achieve ‘self actualization’. How can we ever know ourselves if we make life too busy
As women we can find it hard to create Hermit space for ourselves because there can be so many demands on us – especially if you are a full time working mother. Work, children, homework, cooking, washing, relationships, community commitments etc.
Where is the time for you?
The Hermit tells you to MAKE THE TIME and stop using excuses. Perhaps you need time in nature, a day in the spa, a weekend away, a yoga retreat, time alone in the bath with a book. Whatever you need – go create it.
The Hermit invites you to take a retreat. A retreat might be 10 mins a day, half a day a week, one weekend every few months.
Find the time you can to be alone. If you feel your well is empty, then go and fill it up.
It is your responsibility.
Hermit Card: By Pamela Coleman Smith – a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley (http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/) for the public domain, and retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot (see note on that page regarding source of images)., PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17299631