The Hermit

pause deeply in solitude

from Tarocco Soprafino by il Meneghello

As The Hierophant prompts us to connect with an outer or greater divinity, The Hermit’s search is internal; a union with the spiritual self. Note that The Hermit falls in the same vertical line of the majors as The High Priestess; but where she recedes into the unconscious and intuition, The Hermit pauses deeply in reflective but conscious solitude. Here, we are asked to withdraw to a pace that is slower than we’re used to in order to connect with the wisdom of the internal master and our place in the greater whole (or, to connect with the pureness of Self uninterrupted by activated parts). We sometimes see The Hermit portrayed as a guru we seek to learn the answers to the great questions of life, but this archetype’s lantern guides the inner journey. The guru is the Self.

This card denotes a period of non-activity, but is temporary.

(-) In resistance, we may not want to take the time to pause, or resist a more deeply-seated fear of being alone with our thoughts.

(+) In excess, our reflex is to cut ourselves off from the outside world; to run away. Here in the safety of our solitude, we do not make room for others or their ideas. Where the true hermit is introspective, the maladjusted hermit needs only to convert the world to his own point of view. As a shut-in, we risk losing contact not only with the outside world, but with reality.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Is there a situation on which you need to gain some perspective?
  • Are you avoiding being alone? What need does external stimulus or the company of others provide for you?
  • Do you prefer to always have background noise? Is it difficult for you to quell internal parts (such as the critic) and to connect with your true self?
  • Do you withdraw from others, avoiding contact with the outside world? Is this coming from a place of quiet introspection and self-discovery, or fear?

What else? The archetypes of the majors are complex and you may have other insights. How has this card come up for you? What are some examples of this card’s energies?

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