Notes on The Hermit
(Peaks of Solitude)
Four Pillars Society Tarot by Gary Rosenberg (GAR) and Nyxsaurius Fallsong
The Spider weaves his web in solitary. It is both a product of everything that he contains within himself and a tool by which he can learn more. The Dragon may be affected by the web, he may even learn something from the placement of the strands and yet he cannot alter what the spider has wrought without destroying it completely. Who wants to bring that down upon their heads?
From time to time, we all feel the desire to get away from our present reality and sit and spin (or whatever our equivalent of that maybe). Doing so may yield the answers we seek. At the very least we have created something of beauty that we may leave behind but that others may enjoy.
When it is time to re-enter our lives, we come to it with a refreshed perspective. There is an old adage that contains a grain of truth as most do: “You cannot step in the same river twice.” Once we take our hiatus, what we return to is not the same reality we left.
About the Archetype:
There are times when the outside world and its demands on us start to feel overwhelming. Perhaps we have become disgusted with the superficial aspects of our day-to-day existence and want to take a break from it and focus on ourselves. We know that we are capable of far more than what we have shown so far and are looking for ways of developing these aspects of ourselves. This is the energy of the Hermit trump.
In many myths and legends (especially ones that follow Joseph Campbell’s hero cycles), there is a wise ancient who appears and guides the hero to the next step of his journey. Often this guide will take the hero to the start of his next challenge and leave him to undergo it on his own. No one can take the journey of another tho many of us need either internal or external guidance to get there. The Hermit represents that guidance. He has withdrawn from worldly pursuits to gain wisdom and knowledge. He spends his time in study and meditation to learn what he needs to in order to guide others along the way. He is the initiator of consciousness in others and has undergone many internal challenges of his own.
His lantern contains a star with six points. This indicates his dual purpose of withdrawal for his own development and his willingness to show the way to others. For what good is knowledge or wisdom if they remain unshared?
Virgo (♍︎) – The Virgo energy is exacting and detail-oriented. Its strongest desire is to be helpful and has very definite ideas on the best way to do this. Virgo’s behaviour may seem unemotional and controlling to others but only with the best intentions in mind. Virgo lives mainly in its own head and can be very withdrawn. It is a restless mercurial (its planetary ruler is Mercury) energy that wants to get things done in the most efficient way possible. Virgo has a very strong sense of what is right and wrong and can be fairly inflexible and somewhat narrow-minded. It has put a lot of thought and energy into maintaining its viewpoint and hates the idea that all of that work has been wasted. Virgo is as critical of itself as it can be of others and may need help getting past this.
In a Reading:
When the Hermit comes up in a reading, it may mean that it is time for the querent to withdraw from his normal day-to-day activities for a period of reflection and/or meditation. This withdrawal may be a physical one but it can also be an emotional one. It may be a period where while things feel stagnant or in a holding pattern for the querent, there is a lot happening below the surface. By shifting their concerns to what is going on inside, it may hasten clarity of purpose. The Hermit can also represent a teacher, guide or mentor showing up in the querent’s life who will help them come to the next stage in their development. This guide may be internal rather than external. It may be a time of initiation for the querent who has been inwardly preparing to go to the next level in whatever arena the reading pertains.
The Reversed or badly-aspected Hermit may also mean withdrawal from the day to day but the motives are more in question. Is the querent using the time away to work on themselves or are they avoiding something they don’t want to deal with in the outside world? It may mean that too much focus has been on the study and internal work and now it is time to take a break, relax and integrate what they have learned into their lives. It may mean that the querent has become a bit too self-absorbed and/or self-indulgent. The Hermit Reversed can also mean immaturity and a refusal to grow up.
Among all the Major Arcana this one holds a special place in my heart. Growing up with nothing gives lots of walls to overcome but what one lacks in abundance becomes wisdom of immense depths. All legends aside at first every trial will seem like a mountain. Only through countless times of us falling do we learn the value of failure. Every failure molds us a little stronger when we get back up till those mountains become foothills.
When things get hard take a step back. This act alone is the essence of hermit the ability to push one’s limit by looking inward and facing that which you struggle with and fear. Failure is bound to happen what matters is that you stand back and become stronger. Tied to the sign Virgo it shows the importance of perfecting oneself till one day we not only overcome but become the peaks that others seek
to surpass. Till then keep growing after all time heals all wounds so what is there to fear?