A solitary figure stands holding his staff in one hand, a lantern in the other. Head bowed and clothed in a hooded cloak, The Hermit stands in a barren landscape.
The Hermit can at first glance appear a lonesome figure, somewhat lost and isolated. But like all things tarot, there is a deeper meaning. With his staff and lantern, the Hermit does not hold the stance of someone fearful and lost, rather he stands in deep thought as if understanding his predicament.
The light glows from the lantern, showing him the way. It is apt that it is he who holds the lantern, the signifiance being that the light comes from within. In troubled times, the light we seek is within us. Guidance, solutions, fortitude are all within us if we take the trouble to look for them. Too often in life we wonder why the world let us down, why our partner betrayed us, why we were fired, beaten, stomped on and lied to. But in reality, it is not the things that happen to us that matter, it is how we act that matters. That can only come from within and the Hermit holds a deep understanding of this.
The Hermit is not rushing along a path, rather he meditates or peers into the future. Understanding his situation is important as only then can he take the right course of action. It is apt that this card comes after Strength – they both tell us that strength will be required for this period of reflection in our lives. It may be a time when we feel lost or our friends have deserted us or we fumble around spiritually trying to find the path. The answer is within us. The light we control ourselves. We need to take some time to meditate and reflect.
On closer inspection, the light in the lantern is a six pointed star, the star of David. Various meanings attach to the star of David, the most common one in occult traditions is the combination of symbols (triangles) for fire, earth, air and water. The planets are also assigned places within the star.
The light therefore can be understood to be a representation of the universe. The seven planets of the zodiac commonly found within the star of David also represent the universe. As we control the light, the universe exists within us, the elements and all they represent are embodied within us. The answer we seek is within us. If we want to understand the universe if we want to acquire the wisdom and guidance represented by the Hermit, we need only to look within ourselves.
If we find ourselves in a rut or are experiencing problems, we should avoid panicking and rushing into action. The Hermit is a card that signifies wisdom, understanding, patience and knowledge. Think through the problem, avoid acting on the first though that springs to mind. Rather, let the solution present itself when the time is right. Your subconscious mind will forge the path that you need to take. This is the Hermit.
The Hermit Reversed
The Hermit reversed suggests that we badly need to take time out to meditate, refocus and restore ourselves. We may be a busy fool, rushing around and not accomplishing much. We may be banging our heads against problems, zipping from A to B, busily attempting to keep up with the pace of everyday life. We are looking to the outside for solutions – it is somebody elses fault our plan didn’t work, relationship failed, job never materialised. We look for constant entertainment, hooked up to the internet 24/7. The Hermit reversed tells us to slow down, to stop looking to the world for answers and to take the time to quiet ourselves and look within. Heed this call
There is also the possibility that the Hermit reversed could be warning us of too much isolation. If you have been cutting yourself off from the world for a long period of time, it may be time to socialise more. Working lots of hours and not leaving any time for family or friends – the Hermit makes an appearance.