One of the more esoteric cards of the tarot deck is the Hermit. He is one of the cards that illuminates the inner world of the Querent.
He has ascended the heights of spiritual knowledge and fulfillment, and he stands ready to impart this knowledge if you’re willing to listen. While the high priestess represents the raw power of intuition, he is a beacon of this knowledge. You attain his strengths through careful inner work and introspection.
You achieve the spirit of this card through diligent study, and by making a point to turn within to find deeper answers to universal questions. He is not your gut. He is your mind clear and transparent to you.
Story and evolution of the card
The Hermit is part of the major arcana of tarot cards and is associated with the zodiac sign of Virgo. It's the ninth card of the deck but is associated with the number ten because the Fool is assigned the number zero.
The card is often represented by a single man facing away. He holds a lamp that stands for the light of inner truth. He is alone, but content. Though he seeks his truth within he doesn’t shy away from others.
In the earliest tarot decks, the card was not a hermit, but a beggar, and then a beggar with angelic wings. Over the centuries his image has evolved from this into what we recognize today.
Interesting decks in which The Hermit plays a special role
The image most recognize is from Rider-Waite deck. This deck rejects any early kabbalistic or Egyptian influences of the imagery, choosing instead to focus on early Christian mysticism and gnostic symbols.
Meaning of the card (standing)
Seeing the Hermit in a spread suggests that the Querent is in a phase of soul searching or introspection about a question or situation. It’s time to look for answers within because the truth is already there.
Maybe the Querent is seeking a new direction in life but is unsure of his or her ability to proceed. The Querent knows the answer somewhere in the subconscious and must draw on hidden truths.
This need for a change has something to do with the deeper meaning of life and what we are here to learn. This is not a time to seek the status quo or to continue doing what’s already been done. This card signifies a connection to the deeper truths of the universe and our relationship to the source.
He is also above base judgments and can love but with detachment. He doesn’t need to change others or feel whipped about by what others do and say. Instead, he can love in a clear-headed way, and understand how different factors and influences might cause suffering and pain in others even when they don’t see it.
Reversed meaning of the card
The reversed meaning of the Hermit can mean one of two things. If you’ve spent too much time seeking outward recognition and looking to others for your source of truth, it’s time for you to spend some time in reflection to find your inner truth again.
It’s also possible that you’ve spent too much time in introspection. It’s easy to stay inward as this is a place of safety, but it’s time for you to take what you’ve learned and connect with others again.
Also, it’s important to be alone for the sake of self-healing and coming to an understanding of ourselves, but spending too much time alone causes us to feel isolated and disconnected from the strength of our community.
It asks you to balance these two concepts for personal development and mental and spiritual health. We shouldn’t be a slave to the opinions of others, but neither should we shut out their wisdom.
Surprising facts about the card
One its most famous depictions isn’t in a set of tarot cards. There’s a stylized version of the card illustration on the inner sleeve of Led Zeppelin’s 1971 untitled album. Fans commonly refer to this album as Led Zeppelin IV, and the artist credited with the illustration is Barrington Colby. Because little is known about this artist, many have speculated that it was Jimmy Page, the guitar player and suspected occult devotee.
The card also appears as a character in several video games, including “House of the Dead” and “The Binding of Isaac.” In the movie “Now You See Me,” the card is given to one of the recruits.
What the card could mean
In a question about love, if you’re single, the card can indicate that you are tired of the single life and are looking for someone who fulfills your desire for partnership. People in relationships may find that this card indicates discord in how close the two partners are. Usually, one partner is pulling away or needing space while the other desires to draw closer.
As far as health is concerned, the Hermit can indicate that it’s time to start enjoying simple things in life. Maybe life is too busy with all the tasks that have to be done, but now is the time to reflect on areas in which self-care is lacking. There is a need to find balance and relieve stress and pressure of trying to do too many things.
In career meanings, the querent is often looking for deeper meaning in wealth and career issues. Maybe the focus has been on financial wealth and outward accomplishment without regard to how the querent feels fulfilled by these things. The card suggests that it’s time to look deeper into the meaning of the querent’s life and what purpose they see themselves fulfilling.
My favorite depiction of the Hermit is in the Herbal Tarot. Here, we follow behind the hermit along the path to our inner enlightenment as he leads the way. The road to the mountains is a long one, but he holds the light ahead of us to make our journey easier.
This card is a reminder to all to look within for strength and truth and to make that practice a divine part of every day. It is one of my favorites.
How do you work with the Hermit? Let us know in the comments.