Upright: Soul-searching, introspection, being alone, inner guidance
Reversed: Isolation, loneliness, withdrawal
The Hermit stands alone on the top of a mountain with a lantern in his hand. Mountains typically symbolise achievement, growth, and accomplishment. The Hermit has attained his spiritual pinnacle and is ready to share his knowledge with others. He is also continuing the path he has chosen, committed to his goal of ultimate awareness. The star in the lantern is a six-pointed star (the Seal of Solomon, a symbol of wisdom). The staff carried by the Hermit is the patriarch’s staff, a symbol of the narrow path of initiation and an emblem of power and authority. It represents the Hermit’s ability to use his isolation and the knowledge he has gained as a tool upon his path to reach even higher levels of awareness. The staff is in the Hermit’s left hand, the hand associated with the subconscious mind. The snow at his feet represents the heights of spiritual attainment. He wears the grey cloak of invisibility. His secrets are not for everyone, only for those earnestly seeking them and those willing to climb the heights to wisdom. The astrological correspondence for this card is Virgo and the number 9 signifies accomplishment, wisdom, the attainment of goals, as well as the search for truth.
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The Hermit Tarot card suggests that you are in a phase of introspection where you are drawing your attention and focus inward and looking for answers within. You have a strong need to understand, not just at the surface level but to really know why life is the way it is. The Hermit reflects that your consciousness has moved inward and you now realise that the truth and understanding you seek is within yourself and not in the distractions of the outside world. This is a perfect time to take a step back from your day-to-day life and deeply contemplate your motivations, personal principles and values.
The Hermit reflects that you are engaging in a period of soul searching. You want to seek the truth at all costs. You desire a new direction in life and, as a result, have recently begun a journey of self-discovery and contemplation. There comes a point in life when we begin to question the status quo, knowing that there is a deeper meaning to life, and thus, we begin to search for it. This search is mainly a solitary quest because the answers do not lie in the external world but within us. Thus, the Hermit Tarot card indicates a time when you seek solitude and isolation from others. You need to be alone and you want to withdraw from the world around you. This is so that you can retreat further into your own private world and experience a deep sense of seclusion.
Through meditation, contemplation and self-examination, you may begin to re-evaluate your personal goals and change your overall direction. You will look at your life with a deeper, more spiritual understanding and will begin to change some of your priorities as a result. There is a certain level of spiritual attainment that is associated with the Hermit. The appearance of the Hermit in a Tarot card reading suggests that you need to develop the true power of a spiritual master through deep introspection. Be content with being alone or associate only with those on your level. Do not waste time and energy on those not ready or not worthy.
The Hermit represents the desire to turn away from a consumerist or materialistic society to focus on the inner world. Have you ever seen the movie or read the book, “Into the Wild”? After graduating from university, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness on his own. Whilst his story has a sad and tragic ending, his journey into the wild reminds me a lot of the Hermit, who seeks answers within and knows that they will come only with quiet and solitude.
The Hermit has learned to help others with love and compassionate detachment. This Tarot card indicates that you have gone beyond the point of being critical and you can now understand and appreciate that the varied paths people choose for themselves all lead to the same higher purpose. You have reached a high enough level of spiritual attainment yourself that you no longer need to convince others of what they should do. You can honour silence and allow your inner light to shine out towards others as a means of communication.
Meditating on the Hermit Tarot card teaches you to honour the wisdom within yourself. You must find your own light, shine it on your soul and create your own special path. Through meditation and visualisation, the Hermit allows you to get in touch with the wise person inherent within you.
The reversed Hermit can go one of two ways. You are either not taking enough time for personal reflection, or you are taking too much. If you are struggling to connect more deeply with your spiritual self, the Hermit reversed encourages you to create more time and space so that you can meditate and reflect on your spiritual self. It is time to go more deeply into your inner being and rediscover your greater meaning and purpose on this earth. You may have been so busy dealing with the day-to-day issues that you have forgotten to reflect inwardly and listen to your inner voice. The Hermit asks you to search deep within your soul to help you find your way again and to focus on rebuilding yourself on a spiritual level.
If you have already been spending a lot of time reflecting on your inner self, then the appearance of the reversed Hermit may suggest that you are spending too much time alone in excessive isolation. You are literally becoming a hermit and cutting yourself off from others. While this period is helping you on a spiritual level, you may be feeling temporarily isolated and alone. Do not underestimate the value of staying connected with others, even while you are going through your own spiritual journey. Be mindful, too, of other people’s needs. You do not want to become so absorbed in yourself and your personal dilemmas that you shut out your family and friends.
In a relationship reading, the reversed Hermit can indicate unwelcome isolation. For example, one person may want to be alone or may be withdrawing from the relationship, while the other person wants to deepen the connection. You will need to respect each other’s request for space but also be there to support as appropriate. Alternatively, the idea of being alone and on your own is so daunting and unappealing at this time that you do everything in your power to stay together. Even if there are challenges in the relationship, you both do not want to be apart from each other as separation will only bring a feeling of emptiness. It is almost too soon to be apart and you still both want to work things out together. If you have separated already, then the Hermit reversed may indicate that you are ready to explore a reconnection as you have found that you have had long enough on your own.
If you are currently single, you may be growing tired of being alone, and instead strongly desire a relationship or close connection at this time.