Tarot Cards – Major Arcana – The Hermit

The Hermit is one of the cards of the Major Arcana that, on the face of it, isn’t going to be bringing any good news. The card depicts a robed man, walking through a barren landscape, carrying a lantern, either in his hand or on the end of a stick. He is utterly alone and travelling in the dark. To most people, this picture can surely only be of bad times to come. However, for those of us who know the meanings of the Tarot, the meaning is quite different.

Who is the Hermit?

The Hermit can be one of the aspects of the Fool; representative of all of us. After a lifetime of experiencing all that life has to offer, the Fool decides that he needs to retreat; to gather his energies and contemplate his existence. To this end, he builds a house deep in the woods, far out of sight, where he spends his time in thought or just pottering. However, each night, at dusk, he walks across the autumnal landscape, armed with only his lantern and his staff. Now, he is The Hermit.

The Lantern’s Light

This card indicates that the seeker needs to retreat from a situation and spend some time thinking. Only by distancing himself from the circumstances that are bothering him can he hope to gain any insight and this will come, a piece at a time. The Hermit’s lantern reminds us that it is impossible to see the whole of a situation at any one time. Instead, we must illuminate bits at a time and examine them fully, to gain an overall understanding of what is going on in our lives. This illumination can apply to the seeker examining himself as much as external forces. People drawing this card are often advised to go on long walks or to do those solitary things that bring us the peace and space to consider the lives we are leading.

The Hermit may also represent a special friend in the querent’s life; someone who offers sound advice, but who is not necessarily known to their friends or family. Drawing this card may suggest that it is time to consult that person to gain more insight into a problem.

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