The Hermit in Tarot Readings

 

hermit

 

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  This card can indicate a person who has withdrawn from society and is living a life of contemplation and meditation.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In any case, this is a card of solitude and the individual is very much withdrawn from others around him.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:

circle

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:

Circles 2

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:

3circles

 

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:

4circles

 

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.

The Chariot Card

 

Chariot

Some authors interpret this card as a sign of triumph and victory, Caesar arriving in a chariot after defeating his enemies.  What this card is really all about is control, effort, and work. The black and white sphinxes represent opposing forces harnessed, unfortunately, to the same vehicle.  The charioteer is charged with maintaining control over forces which may be incompatible and pulling him in opposite directions, maintaining balance in the midst of chaos.  

Note that the Chariot is not going anywhere.  It’s sitting perfectly still and the sphinxes are pretty much sitting on their asses and staring off in different directions.  This indicates that the questioner is going to have to work hard to even get things moving and then work harder to keep them under control.  

There is also a strong element of the mystical and calling on higher powers for help in this card.  He carries a wand, showing that he is channeling power and inspiration from a higher realm of being and the square on his chest shows that he is integrating all of the four elements into his efforts.

All in all, this is a card that shows a period of hard work, the need for control over forces or people that may have opposite views or be totally unmotivated, and the need to channel inspiration and higher guidance.  The crescent moons on his shoulders indicate that the period of hard work may last about a month and – in all probability – there will be a favorable outcome.

On a very mundane level, this card can indicate that the questioner is about to get a new vehicle or do some serious traveling.

REVERSED:  This can indicate that things are – or at least feel – totally out of control.  A period of chaos in the questioners life when he or she feels that exterior forces or people are controlling her destiny.

People in 12 Step Programs often emphasize the need to acknowledge – gracefully – that we are powerless over certain things in our lives.  That can be a big key in dealing with this card. Don’t fight or lash out at people or situations; just acknowledge that this is something that you can’t control and turn it over to your Higher Power.

Again, on a mundane level, this can indicate some sort of a problem with your car or delays in travel arrangements.

Some Additional Thoughts About the Chariot:

The Chariot is a very weird card.  On the surface the Charioteer looks very butch.  He’s got his armor on and a really impressive crown and there are crescent moons sitting on his shoulders and he’s protected by a canopy of stars.  He’s the kind of a guy that if you saw him sitting in his chariot at a stop light you might think, “Wow!”

Or even, “Zounds!”

But if you take a closer look there are some obvious signs that something’s wrong with this picture.  As I said in the basic definition the sphinxes aren’t going anywhere. They’re sitting on their butts and pointing in different directions.  Not exactly champing at their bits. Because – hey! – there are no bits. And while we’re at it, there are no reins. And there’s no harness.

Hmmmm . . .

So what we have is this guy sitting in his magnificent chariot with no way to make it go anywhere and no way to direct it even if it does go somewhere.   Which means that if you pull The Chariot in a reading you’ve got to start off with the basics.

First of all you have to get both sphinxes pointed in the same direction.  They represent your motive force, your motivations, your desires to go somewhere and achieve your goals.  The Chariot points to the fact that you’re probably going through a period in your life where you have a lot of different goals and they may not be compatible with each other.  You literally feel torn in a lot of different directions.

You need to get your goals straightened out and figure out where you want to go.  You’re at Point A and before you can figure out how to get to Point B you need to figure out what Point B is.  What do you WANT?

Hopefully you figure out your goal, you get both your sphinxes turned in that direction and you’re all ready to go!  Except . . . wait . . . you still don’t have reins and the sphinxes still aren’t harnessed to anything. That’s the next step.  

The sphinxes are your motivation, your power to get where you want to go.  But you need to learn how to control the power that flows out of that motivation.  To discipline yourself, keep your shit together and keep going on the path that you’ve chosen without flying off in a million different directions.

That’s the paradox of The Chariot.  At first glance it seems to portray someone who really has it together.  A closer look shows someone who is going to have a tough battle ahead and isn’t prepared for it.  Yet. There are basic lessons about discipline and control to be learned before the wheels of the chariot even start to turn.

As I said, The Chariot is a very weird card.