Updated: Nov 26, 2021
I began my fascination with the Hermit when I first saw it on the inside cover of Led Zepplin IV. I don't know how old I was, somewhere around 3 or 4, as the album came out the year I was born. I understood immediately that the character portrayed in the photo was on a solitary journey, one that would require him to seek solace and silence. I would stare at his image, imagining his journey. He was a wise old sage, a wizard or priest contemplating the depths of the mind.
In the Tarot 'The Hermit' is the 9th card of the Major Arcana; remembering that 'the Fool' is 0, both the beginning and end of the major arcana. Nine is a number associated with completion as it is the last single-digit number. It is a number that is filled with the culmination of our experiences, oozing wisdom and potential, perfect for the nature of the Hermit.
The Hermit represents our journey inward, our introspective examination of what makes us tick. Seeking growth we begin our journey of the soul in which we look at ourselves under a fine-tooth comb, examining the building blocks that have made us who we are. In terms most of us can relate to, The Hermit is the representation of 'Shadow Work'.
Shadow Work is a common thing to hear spinning its way around the interweb these days, as the pandemic has made all of us take a good look at what makes us tick and whether we want to continue to engage with the thoughts and actions that have brought us to this point. It is also a necessity for those who are seeking to develop psychically, as true personal power requires us to know ourselves! In truth, everyone can benefit from some self-reflection, but those who are on a magical path have no choice but to look at themselves, lest their way be blocked by their own flaws and insecurities.
Those of us who identify as spiritual seekers; regardless of whether we are seeking through psychic development, religion, or ceremonial magic, must at some point enter the shadow of our soul. Like The Hermit, we must enter with bravery, determination, and the understanding that the way will be challenging. Notice his walking stick and lantern, he is prepared for the road to be unstable and filled with darkness. He does not walk in unprepared, instead, he chooses to bring light into the darkness. (Plus, I bet that walking stick could be used as a staff if it was necessary to defend himself) Going into the shadow is not a journey of self-defeat, instead, it is the journey of the wise sage who is going into the dark to take back what he has lost.
In practical terms, this card asks us to look deeply at ourselves, to face our fears and misgivings, deal with our trauma head-on and see who we truly are!
While most decks depict the Hermit as being alone on his journey, the Druid Tarot Deck shows him being accompanied by a wolf, showing he is not truly alone on his path but accompanied by his spiritual allies. This part is super important to me, and the reason I wanted to show this card in particular, as we are never truly alone on such journeys. Instead, we are assisted by our guides! For many of us it is within the shadows that we discover who these guides are and how we can work better together in the future. It also feels a lot easier stepping into the shadow of our soul knowing we are supported. The journey is still singularly ours, but we are not truly alone in doing so. Much like the journey of the ring was Frodo's burden to carry; in the Lord of the Rings, but he was never truly alone in the mission. If you are being called to deeply examine your own being, do so knowing that like the Hermit you are never truly alone.
Remembering that The Hermit is numbered 9 in the Major Arcana, we see that we have reached an ending of the life we have lived, no longer able to stay the same we must change. The Hermit offers us a way to do so that is truly healing because instead of running and avoiding the darkness of our story we gather our tools and spiritual allies and head into the darkness, facing it head-on, with an awareness that we are equipped for the job at hand. Go slowly, go deep, and remember this is your journey!
The HERMIT card is part of a 22 part series exploring the Major Arcana, you can find previous card posts here-https://www.salicrow.com/blog-1
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