The Hermit and the Tarot
I personally have identified with being a hermit for years. When I finally shed the fears that religious dogma instilled in my mind and learned what tarot cards were, I was pleased to find a Hermit card. The more I studied and meditated on this card the more I could see how it represent, not only me, but anyone on their own spiritual path. I believe the nature of the Hermit’s journey makes the Hermit a Fallibilist. I believe that if everyone found their own spirituality the world would be a much better place.
What are tarot cards?
The tarot is just a deck of 78 cards with pictures on them. It is separated into 2 sections. The first 22 cards make up the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana represents the major issues of ones life from birth to enlightenment, the journey. The other 56 cards are the Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana is made up of four suits with 14 cards each. Each suit has its cards numbered Ace through 10 and four Court Cards, Page, Knight, Queen and King. The Minor Arcana cards represent the things that affect our everyday life, our thinking, emotions, concerns, obstacles and experiences. Frankly, tarot is nothing more than a deck of cards.
There are many opinions about these decks of cards. Basically it is a deck of 78 cards with pictures on them. The content of the pictures generally follows a theme. The cards have a general meaning that differs if the card is right side up or upside down and is usually archetypical in nature, but still they are subjective to each person. They have a meaning that you provide and understand based upon your own knowledge, social and life experiences. Therefore the general meaning in the “How To” books may be completely different from your meaning. Just remember that the definition that will be the most meaningful and memorable is what the card means to you.
How to use tarot cards? You ask yourself a question while shuffling the cards, so this idea is in your mind. You lay the cards out in a manner that each position represents a person, place, thing, time period, thought or emotion, this is called the Spread. As you look at the cards you interpret what the card means to you based on its position in the spread and contemplate how that relates to your question.
As you can see it is purely a way of drawing out an inner dialog with your subconscious. Tarot cards are just a tool to help. If you are interested in an inner dialog but are still afraid of a deck of cards, HeartMath offers a non-tarot method that works well too. I highly recommend HeartMath. I just find tarot to be more versatile and fun.
Because of the subjective nature of tarot, it is what you want it to be. If you believe it is a tool from Satan…it is. If you believe it magically changes as you lay down the cards or as you turn them over…it does. If you want it to be just a deck of cards and a bunch of pseudoscience…it is.
Dictionary Definition of a Hermit:
• A person that has withdrawn from society and lives in solitude.
• A recluse.
• A person living a solitary existence.
• A person that retired from society for spiritual/religious reasons.
• A person that lives alone to devote themselves to religion or a form of spirituality.
The Hermit Tarot Card General Definition
A simple Google search will reveal many similar meanings that may differ from what you think and I think. This is not a bad thing. This only demonstrates the subjectivity of tarot cards. It is quite fascinating. If you are new to tarot look at this as a way to find what the cards mean to you personally.
The Hermit card comes from the 22 Major Arcana of a 78 card deck. It is marked as the ninth card, IX. I found a very simple meaning from Donald Michael Kraig’s book “Modern Magic”:
Upright: Caution or spiritual advancement
Reversed: Fear, overly cautions, unwise acts
IX Hermit Tarot Card Personal Definition
As I mentioned before, after studying and meditating on the Hermit card, the following are the things that make me feel that this card is a representation of those that have discovered spirituality is an individual, subjective path. This card represents US. It is ourselves following our own spiritual path. It is our journey. We are not lost, for our lamp will illuminate our next step. This card can give us a focus for our journey.
If you decide to investigate this card I am sure you will find more than what I am pointing out if not a different take on these things.
The path the hermit follows is a belief of his/her own understanding, this is your spirituality. As the lamp shines and the hermit continues the journey, the hermit’s understanding of living life grows. knowledge grows. The Hermit is a Fallibilist.
Travels at night.
To be hidden or in secret from others. To not let others interfere with his path.
Not part of a group or religion. He understands that ones spiritual path is personal to each individual. The majority of people shun him and fear him because he is free of the slavery of dogma that the religions of faith spread. He is not a preacher. He does not proselytize but if asked with a genuine curiosity he will share. I also refer to the Hermit as a “Magician”. While there is a “Magician” card the hermit fits to…..A true Magician -use def from high magic book.
This could signify that the path last a life time or that you don’t start this path till later in life. Can also be wisdom that can come with age or possibly from knowledge gained walking the path of the hermit.
Most cards show the Hermit as male. Some show as female. However both sexes can equally be a Hermit. Being male can be a sign of strength, logic and female can be a sign of compassion, emotion.
No personal possessions accept robes, walking stick, sandals, and lamp. Not materialistic in a physical nor mental sense. Has just what he needs to make his journey. His eye is simple. The farther along the path the hermit travels, material possessions become less important. He uses his resources wisely and is not polluting his environment with discarded things.
Besides no personal belongings, he is not burdened with liturgy, ritual or celebrations.
He has no faith.
If he did he would be sitting idly in a chair and not following his path. He has belief and that is why he is not idle.
Not following a Holy Book.
If there were a holy book to follow he would have a map in hand and not a lamp nor walking stick. He is not lost and needs no direction. The lamp will shine the way.
Freedom and Tolerance.
He is free to travel his path and freely gives that consideration to others in the form of tolerance. He understands how most feel about him and strives to not return that same feeling to others. He is not here to harm anyone but to gain knowledge and betterment of self, ennobling of self. If each works on bettering self as the hermit does, the whole of humanity will better and become the change we know the world needs.
Many cards show the Hermit on a mountain top. This implies that the journey can be a difficult climb up a mountain side, or taxing like an up hill hike. I don’t believe it means the journey’s end. If anything it could be the hard part of your journey on your path is over.
The lamp is to help him with his search or quest to find or discover his own path. The lamp illuminates Nature so that he can see where he must next step. The hermit is not lost. The Hermit is a Fallibilist.
The Star – Light of the Lamp.
The 6 pointed star in the lamp represents the hermits understanding of Life and the system we live in. His path is illuminated by this knowledge. I will bring out more about the star in another section.
The Walking Stick.
Besides the Lamp, his walking stick is the only other tool he carries. It can be used for protection, to aid in walking or climbing, to poke or investigate something.
Clothing has no markings of belonging or supporting any one group, religiously or politically. His robe shows no allegiance to any one path.
There is no destination shown. His path does not end. It is a life long journey for all of us.
Does the Hermit card fit you? Are you a Hermit?