Tarot Hero’s Journey: The Hermit

RWS_Tarot_09_HermitThe next step on our journey to awakening is The Hermit. An old man dressed as a monk holds a lantern that lights his way. In this other hand he carries a staff, which in some packs is entwined by a serpent. This is card number 9 which is the last of the single numbers so it stands for the end of a cycle. The outward turning, solar path of extroversion has reached a conclusion.

The Hermit is the archetype of the Wise Old Man, the teacher who guides the hero through the chaos of life, shining the light of his wisdom to show the way forward. The hero has arrived at the end of the first half of his journey and his attention is turning inwards. He listened to the voice of his conscience in Justice and is looking for answers to the questions that came up.

The Hermit is alone and moves forward by the light of his lamp. The lamp represents his intuition which he must use to find the right path. Nothing external can help him now. The serpent wrapped around his staff (in some packs) represents the wisdom he must use to overcome the obstacles ahead.

The hero must learn to look within, reflect on what he sees and trust his inner guidance. The normal daylight rules no longer apply and the Hermit demands that the hero abandon conventional values and submit to the laws of the inner world.

This stage of the journey represents a crisis of will. To progress on the path to enlightenment we must be willing to forgo the comforts and support of conventional society. It can be a lonely path and many will not understand why you have chosen to walk this way. But the Hermit’s lantern represents the first glimpse of the inner light, the mystic Centre or True Self that lies at the end of this quest. It is the light of your True Self that guides you along the path, a tiny hint of the promise to come.

Keywords for The Hermit:
  • Contemplation
  • Solitude
  • Self-examination
  • Meditation
  • Patience
  • Introspection

Next step on the journey to awakening: Wheel of Fortune

>Catch up with the rest of the series here

2 thoughts on “Tarot Hero’s Journey: The Hermit

    1. I circle in and out of Hermit all the time. I think we can be at several points on the path simultaneously. Sounds like a strange thing to say, but I think different parts of your soul, or self, move at different speeds. While one part of your consciousness is withdrawn and turning inward, another part can be focused on understanding something else.


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