This is one of the more mysterious cards in the deck and hearkens very much to Gandalf the Gray from the Tolkien Trilogy. This card can indicate a person who has withdrawn from society and is living a life of contemplation and meditation. On the other hand it can indicate that the questioner needs to withdraw from normal life for a while and go through a period of self examination and deeper thought about the meaning of his or her life.
It can also indicate a wise counselor who can give the questioner much needed advice and insights. The lantern represents psychic and psychological insight and the figure is on a much higher plane than the rest of us, so it may be that the questioner should seek out the counsel of a Wise Woman or Man.
In any case, this is a card of solitude and the individual is very much withdrawn from others around him. This isn’t a bad sort of solitude, however, this is a solitude that involves spiritual growth and contemplation.
REVERSED – This can be interpreted in several different ways. It may indicate someone who is spending far, far too much time alone and needs the feedback and companionship of other human beings.
On the other hand, it can indicate a social butterfly who is spending far, far too little time alone and needs to withdraw for a while and develop a little spiritual and emotional depth.
On the relationship level it can indicate a partner who is having a MAJOR sulk and snit fit and is holed up feeling sorry for his or her self. It can also indicate that a relationship is over for good.
A Few More Thoughts About the Hermit:
I ran across an online definition of The Hermit in which the author said that it was a, “sad,” card and that The Hermit’s wisdom, “has no substance,” until it’s shared with others.
Sigh . . .
Togetherness and, “sharing,” have almost become a disease in our society. And the point is that you have to have something to share. Increasingly, people don’t. Look at it this way:
Suppose that this circle represents you as an energy field. It contains all of your emotions, your thoughts, your physical body. Then you fall in love with someone and become partners and that looks a lot like this:
Part of your energy field has merged with part of his or her energy field. There’s still a part of you which is separate and unique but there’s also a part of you that is an amalgam of you and your partner. Then say that you have children or even just get a roommate and it starts to look like this:
So your energy field – the part of you that is uniquely you – is now merged with two other energy fields. Then throw in the people at your job and you look like this:
As I’m sure you noticed the part that is uniquely you just keeps getting smaller. You can make a very good argument that all of those other energy fields merging with your energy field is a good thing. We draw strength and inspiration and love from interacting with other humans. But if you keep adding and adding and adding energy fields, at a certain point you’re so merged with other people’s thoughts and feelings that you don’t know which are yours and which are theirs.
And, as if all that weren’t enough, throw in the internet. And facebook. And instagram. And twitter. You encounter people in the stores and on the streets who appear to have their smart phones permanently affixed to their ears and they respond to every post, every personal message, every tweet. It’s as if the internet has become a secondary sensory system for them, tendrils reaching endlessly in and out into virtual reality.
The Hermit is a deliberate withdrawal from all of that. And it begins with a single question: “Who in the hell am I?”
All Native cultures honor the tradition of, “the Spirit Quest.” An individual goes off to be alone, fast, meditate, and seek visions and messages from the Spirit World. Not just to ask, “Who am I?” but to ask what am I? What is my place in this world? What should I be doing in this lifetime? Why do I exist?
And that’s what The Hermit represents. It’s a period of withdrawal from the world, an emptying out of, “others” so that you can find your authentic self. And, no, it is not made any more or less valuable by sharing it with others. It stands alone.