In my latest blog about The Sun card in the Tarot (read it here!) I talked about the light and that the Sun was the outward external manifestation of this light. Now I want to talk about the Hermit card, which is the internal manifestation of the light based on our outward influences and experience! I think of it like that because the Hermit takes its experiences and surroundings in the physicality, what it could see, hear, feel, and witness in our reality and brings that information within itself. The Hermit does this to shape the information, to think about it, to reflect on it and to mold it. This is where internal awareness and wisdom play their part in restructuring of beliefs and what one deems to be true about themselves and about the world around them. By shining their light within, on the dark parts that remain hidden and unseen, the Hermit is about to come to a wholeness so that they reflect that inner light back out into the world of external circumstances. Where the Sun card eats the darkness the Hermit itself is one that exposes and illuminates the darkness, from the inside out. There is an exposure if one is brave enough to see it, like a glaring spotlight showing all the little doubts and preconceived notions that prevent us from showing up authentically in our lives. From words, thoughts, and sensations we hold onto as true because we have yet to discover the mystery behind a veiled existence. I think of the hermit card as the culmination of the external focus of the light that the sun card symbolizes and represents. It’s the need to reflect after all of the insistence on shining outwardly. A chance to examine everything that did occur so that you gain a steadier foot and foundation and another layer of awareness from being able to see and witness what transpired thus far.
The Hermit Card Symbolisms
Whenever I decide I want to reflect on my tarot cards, I take all of them out! I have at least 20 tarot decks and find it helpful to consider all aspects, all meanings, and varieties of a card if I’m going to talk about it. Different artists have different ways of envisioning the cards and it all serves as an added layer and meaning to the one thing. I’ll talk about the most obvious symbols found in the Hermit cards like the cloak and the lantern and then I will mention some animals associated with the card based on the artistry of the Anima Mundi and Wild Unknown Tarot decks.
Oftentimes in the standard Rider Waite style of tarot cards the Hermit is seen enshrouded in a cloak. The cloak symbolizes the need for privacy, protection, and shelter from all the external noise and distractions of everyday life. Typically the cloak is covering the Hermit’s head, sometimes with the face exposed or half hidden. It reminds me of a sort of shielding for our third eye and crown chakras that exist in this part of our bodies. The need to keep one’s own intuition and connection to the universe as an internal happening. It encourages us to take a step back and create some space so that we can deeply reflect inwards and truly connect with our own wisdom – away from any outside influence or opinions. This becomes something super important and essential if we want to gain clarity on our path forward and be able to trust ourselves to know what’s best by tapping into the power of our own inner knowing. It also serves to create a sense of safety – allowing us to feel secure in our own self-discovery, without any fear or judgement.
The lantern in the hermit’s hand is another common symbol depicted amongst the tarot. This can be seen as the light of knowledge and understanding that we all have to offer ourselves, a reminder that true courage is found within. It speaks to our ability to uncover hidden wisdom and see opportunities for learning and growth, even in the darkest of times. It is the Hermit card that encourages us to search within ourselves and draw upon the light of our experience and knowledge. With the lantern in tow, you cannot help but see when its brilliance is turned on. It will seek out even the creepiest corners of our psyche, making our creepy crawlies visible with no place to hide. It is a safety net to catch us as we go it alone. It’s this dance of life of uncovering more and more depth by placing our lanterns along our caves of mystery within as we explore and implore further in. And we do this to grow, to show more parts of our being to ourselves so that we may know who we are and what drives us deeply, maturing as we take the time to sit with ourselves. In the Santa Muerte Tarot deck we see the Hermit with his lantern inside of a coffin and yeah, I know, that it’s a bit morbid but here me out. The truth of this depiction is glaringly obvious. It is only in solitude and being with oneself that we can come to the rich conclusions of how we wish to continue in life. This is not to say that other people do not play a vital role in our lives. It’s to say that when all else fails, when we are confused by the external, it is within that we can witness and arrange our minds and senses to keep making sense of what is happening.
There’s something pretty cool too about certain decks using animals to depict a tarot card. In the Anima Mundi Tarot deck the artist uses an octopus to depict the hermit energy and in the Wild Unknown Tarot deck they use a turtle to do so. I see both of these animals as ancient beings who have been around for a longgg time and as sacred timekeepers of all that has transpired. And it’s like the common knowledge known to us that with age, wisdom comes. That, as we grow older, we gain more experience, and it is from this we gain clearer insights and relax into a way of being that is natural to us. There is no chasing, only witnessing and experiencing the trial and error that comes from being able to stay with something long enough to see what is really going on or what it’s really about. I mean think about it. The octopus lives in the ocean, where it is shrouded by darkness for a majority of its life with a lack of external light save for flashes of light that peak in from the Sun here and there. And then the turtle itself, who lives within a shell and cannot exist outside of it. It cannot be without its veil, it can only do what it does best and take on the cyclical nature of life and again, stopping to reflect after a time of participating and being with other beings, creatures, sensations, and things like that. What I like about these two animals depicted is how they represent two different sides of the Hermit archetype. The octopus symbolizes our tendency for introspection and reflection, while the turtle illustrates how these qualities help us stay grounded even in times of uncertainty. By incorporating these animals into the Hermit card, we gain insight into the value of turning inward during difficult times in order to discover a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. With introspection and patience, we are better able to unlock our inner wisdom and find clarity within the chaos. This allows us to focus on growth instead of fear, allowing us to confidently move forward without worry or hesitation. We can focus on light-filled growth rather than fear-based stagnation, allowing us to move forward confidently without hesitation, on a path that is uniquely our own.
Also though, don’t Virgo the shit out of your Hermit!
So it can be all good right? Wrong! I don’t want to give us a fright here but we gotta talk about the dark side of the Hermit card too because everything exists, and we can’t just leave one thing out in favor of the other thing. From the Sasuraibito Tarot, Light Seer’s Tarot, Slow Tarot and Radiant Rider Waite Tarot decks we see words that are associated with the reverse meaning of the Hermit card like loneliness, silence, celibacy, unreasoned caution, concealment, hastiness, isolation, self-absorption without growth and losing a grip on reality. And it reminds me of the striving of the astrological sign of the Virgo that is represented in the Hermit card. This, all in the mind sign, can fall into this hyper focused need to meticulously work on oneself, sometimes grinding itself down to the bone in order to create this clear picture of perfect, wanting it, doing the most to achieve it but in the same breath forgetting that this perfection it seeks will never come. It can be all about getting lost in one’s own truth and reflection, thinking that one knows best and therefore distorting the light within because it doesn’t want to consider or take in any outside influence. The, I’m right and your wrong dilemma, that doesn’t take anything outside of itself into accountability. This Hermit becomes blind to the world around themselves, trying to change their lives, their thoughts, their circumstances but from a place where there’s missing pieces, missing ingredients, and maybe even missing pieces of knowledge that would enable them to transform their internal world and allow for changes to outwardly manifestation.
The hermit can get just lost within by using a superficial light source and convince themselves that their opinion is the only thing that matters, not wanting to take on the world, not wanting to explore different ways of being, different thoughts and mechanisms like that of the outside world that could possibly help and assist the hermit with. The Virgo energy symbolizes our ability to pay attention to detail, embrace a slow and steady approach, and stay focused on the task at hand but what happens when isolation and loneliness start to breach ones convictions? It becomes harder for the Hermit to see reality for what it is and therefore can become unequipped to really grow into a wise person because essentially the standstill becomes an imprisonment, a way to keep you here, and them over there. And the whole duty of the Hermit is interaction with its external self that helps it come to conclusions internally. By negating the influence outside of ourselves we hide behind our own walls which can cause paranoia if enough time passes. You start to question everything, and this can insidiously create a space within our being that lacks trust and certainty in ourselves. Self-doubt is such a magic killer and a killer of potentiality. And it is in this self-doubt that insecurity can fester and keep us from upleveling our experience in its totality. So we do not strive for perfection in the Hermit card, we strive to face our fears, to trust that we understand our strengths and weaknesses truthfully so we may move forward with courage and greater clarity of our purpose in life. s.
The Hermit serves as a guidepost, a way into the mechanisms and workings of all things, offering us tricks and tips to help us deal with our mission and our relationships. There’s a real brilliance too in the hermit card of being able to go off into this singular and internal quest where just the self exists outside of any situations or people, places, or things to be able to really hone in on one’s own intuitive nature to grasp truth and to illuminate the unknown and unseen. I thought about the succession of the tarot cards and was like wait, does the Hermit come after the Sun? Um, no, ha-ha. It’s way before it, as the Sun card is number nineteen and the Hermit is the ninth card. And with the play on numbers I noticed the two 9’s but that the Hermit was missing the “one”. I then thought, okay, so the one is the individual, the individual self whom we are trying to meet and discover. And that the way to meet this individual that resides within us is in retrospect. In giving ourselves enough space to reflect and do the work to upgrade and otherwise up level the quality of the light and the quality of our existence. This is the importance of the Hermit card and its internal focus. That’s why we take the time to be with ourselves. This could look like removing ourselves from our regular routines and activities in order to give ourselves time to reflect on what is truly important. It also asks us to look inward, paying attention to our inner voice and intuition rather than seeking external validation or guidance. It is an invitation to be patient with ourselves and take time to unearth our own wisdom. And of course this can feel uncomfortable, maybe even annoying to play the long game, with all the steps that come with it; being introspective, exploring our inner world, and finally embracing guidance from within. But it is in being mindful of this process we can slowly build trust in our ability to find answers for ourselves. By finding solace in the depths of our soul, we can discover a greater sense of understanding and appreciation for ourselves. We get to cultivate inner peace that will serve us well on our journey forward. And as we tap into the power of self-reflection and take time to nurture ourselves, we can uncover new insights and knowledge that will inspire us on our path ahead. So remember it isn’t about being lonely but to be in touch with ourselves, alone, so we may evolve ourselves into luminous beings, from the inside out.
P.S. With Love
Everything that I talk about and speak about is for you to take with you and consider. If it offers you a different outlook on life, or further solidifies a belief that differs from my own, I will always consider that a win. I like to think about outcomes, probabilities, possibilities, and when I share I am offering you a way to see the world from my own lens. What you take or don’t take from my shares are your gifts to be had. Consider life, remember to choose, and decide to dream.
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