Major Arcana of the Tarot - Part IX
0 - The Fool, I - The Magician, II - The High Priestess, III - The Empress, IV - The Emperor
V - The Hierophant, VI - The Lovers, VII - The Chariot, VIII - Strength,
Number nine of the Major Arcana is The Hermit. The loner card of the Tarot, The Hermit is the archetype of the wise old sage, the father figure or mentor, who gained his wisdom through experience and learning. He shines his light on confusing or mysterious things to make them understood. He needs to go his own way, do his own thing, and follow unexpected opportunities. The Hermit indicates a feeling of impatience when it comes to dealing with other people. He can be sensitive to having his peace disturbed and is likely to be somewhat anti-social.
This is a card of spirituality, even if you are an atheist. It represents whatever the term "spirit" means to you. It's also a card of introspection and analysis. It indicates a desire for peace and solitude to think and take stock. But this quiet time allows for a new understanding of the world, and bestows the ability to see things that weren't perceptible before.
In the earliest Tarot decks, the ninth card was not The Hermit, but "El Gobbo," which meant The Hunchback. In the 15th century Minchiate depicted this card as both a hunchback and a beggar, while Visconti-Sforza showed the man on the card as Time, and had him carrying an hourglass rather than a lantern. Another image, found in the Musee de Beaux Arts in France, shows a beggar on crutches with angel wings and a similar image is dated almost a century later.
In the 16th century, Geoffrey Catelin depicted the Hermit carrying a lamp, signifying wisdom. This image continued with very little variation to the Rider-Waite deck. In the Vikings Tarot this card is Heimdall, who lives at the edge of Asgard waiting for signs of the coming of Ragnarok. In the Mythic Tarot deck the Hermit is depicted by Cronus, while in the Sacred Circle Tarot he is the Shaman.
The Hermit is a solitary figure standing on a mountaintop. His white beard is a sign of age and wisdom, a benevolent mentor looking down on his disciples. The grey cloak conceals him, indicating that to learn his secrets you must be willing to seek him out. In one hand he carries a lantern holding a six-pointed star. This light illuminates the light of the mind and is a symbol of wisdom. In his left hand, the hand of the subconscious mind, he holds a staff symbolizing his power and authority. The mountain he stands on symbolizes growth and accomplishment, while the snow under his feet represent the height of spiritual attainment.
In general this card indicates there is a need for time alone to do some soul searching or serious thinking. There are questions that need to be answered but these answers must come from within you. There's a need for a period of reflection where distractions are limited. Don't be afraid to take some time for yourself.
Reversed, the Hermit can indicate you're either not taking enough time for personal reflection, or you're taking too much. If you've been struggling to connect with your spiritual self, you need to try harder and listen to your inner voice. But if you've already been spending a lot of time in reflection, perhaps you're becoming too isolated and you need to rejoin the rest of the world again.
If the Hermit appears in your past, it shows that whatever you have accomplished you've done it on your own. If you've accomplished very little, then perhaps you were associating with the wrong people who were keeping you from your destiny.
In the present it can mean that you are alone or in an unhealthy relationship. It could also mean there is an abandoned person looking for you. In the future position, the Hermit indicates that you need to spend some time alone, even if it's only in reflection.