Tarot: The Hermit

If you’ve ever experienced a feeling of searching for something, only to discover what you’re looking for is your true self, your personal calling or your highest good, then you’re familiar with the quest represented by the ninth card of the Major Arcana.

The figure depicted on the card walks alone into the darkness, wielding only a staff, a lantern and a question. He is usually grappling with some arresting problem, or else is searching for a greater understanding of the world. It is an important distinction that the Hermit is not seeking solitude to escape people, but to find himself.

The Hermit is a very active card. Rather than withdrawing into sterile seclusion, its character is wandering, representing a mind focusing inward but racing with questions. While the search itself may leave the seeker feeling lost and troubled, his labors will give birth to new clarity and illumination.

Because The Hermit is fundamentally connected to the search for knowledge, it can represent receiving or giving guidance. When he represents another person, The Hermit usually stands in for a teacher, a mentor or an admired friend. The person may be someone you usually go to for help, or someone who appears briefly in your life during a time of crisis or confusion. The Hermit can also represent a time in which you adopt the role of mentor to another.

As long as whirlwinds of opportunity, disappointment, crisis and celebration continue to rage through our lives – and they always will – there will be a need for retreat and careful re-examination. Even when changes are positive, they often happen quickly and without our conscious knowledge. It’s important to give yourself time to take stock of changes, big and small, and to apply new wisdom to old questions of meaning and importance.

In readings, The Hermit often suggests a need for time alone and without distraction. When freed from daily stresses and other people, who can cloud your understanding of your own beliefs, you can hear your own voice clearly. Relentless in his need for truth, The Hermit will accept nothing less, and will only rejoin the world once he is satisfied with what he’s found. Once you’ve found the answers your restless mind has been seeking, a time of change will most likely follow, leading you to take action on your newfound clarity.

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