In The Hermit card, the 9th card of the Tarot, the teachers of the Ageless Wisdom are providing us with a future view of the outcome of our soul's successful struggle to reach the highest level of earthly/spiritual enlightenment possible... an attainment that is attributable to and obtainable through continued discipline, diligence and dedication to the laws of Divine living.
As we view the card, most of us get a sense that The Hermit is an isolated, solitary being, one who prefers a private existence apart from the extravagance and superficiality of materialistic living. Largely that's true, but the real message he wishes to impart is just how important it is for you and I (if we wish to reach his level of attainment) to set our values above materialism's fascinations and temporal attunements. Notice that he is pictured standing on the highest peak among the surrounding mountains. In his right hand he holds a lantern which appears to be lighting his way. Actually, the lantern's light is intended for seekers, others like you and I, who are still climbing and struggling up the mountainside below him. Notice that he is looking down, watching our progress. According to Carl Jung he is very concerned and most protective of our efforts. He is really that part of us, the Divine within, that is ready to provide us instant direction and truth. We have but to go within... to ask for healing, guidance or forgiveness. For all who seek, loving support and enrichment will be returned to you many fold.
The ancients were very sharp and astute in the way they secretly blended, weaved and illustrated various Universal Metaphysical Laws and Truths within each of the cards of the Tarot. For instance... in The Hermit card they wove numerological principle into the picture and theme of the portrayal. Notice how the bodily stance of the Hermit resembles the number (9), the actual number of the card. This wasn't accidental. In numerology the number (9) represents completion, personal mastery and the conclusion or end of either a process, situation, idea or an involvement. In the case of The Hermit these number (9) qualities fit his characterization exactly.
The Hermit is the living representation of human mastery over earthly 3rd dimensional polarities, emotions and temptations. He has reached the mountaintop, the last spiritual level of mastery and is now devoting his full attention to the support and enrichment of others. In numerology, the (9) personality is also heavily involved in counseling, healing and supporting others. This is a wonderfully noble endeavor, both for The Hermit and the NINE personality, but there can be a downside. Most NINE's are so emotionally involved and committed to their work and the people they wish to protect, that they will become self-sacrificing and willing to give up their own rights and interests just to aid another. Although most humane, this inner need must be avoided at all costs. The evolved Hermit, being fully aware of this pitfall, always stipulates... "I love you and will help you, but as a Hermit, I stay apart, removed and disconnected from your personal emotional entanglements". "If you desire my help and assistance, please ask, but if you simply want to invade and drain my energies, expecting me to carry you, I will detach".
Whenever I meditate on The Hermit card, I am reminded of the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes. He was well known for his teaching that one should practice self-control and remain steadfast in their pursuit of virtue. Legend has it that he used to walk the streets of Athens, after dark, circa (330 B.C.), searching for an honest man. He epitomizes the Hermit's quest for human and spiritual perfection. For this reason, The Hermit's lantern is known by many as "the light of Diogenes". Our Ancient Teachers inform us that the light emanating from the lantern is actually the Light of our Soul. This light is streaming out emanates from a six-pointed star which represents your Spiritual Higher Self. Many are unaware that the Higher Self and the Soul are separate entities... actually, they are really one and the same (of the same essence), but the soul remains a distinct and individual identity while operating here in the 3rd dimension. The Higher Self (the spark of the Creator) is of too high a vibration to dwell within Earth's vibrational density. Therefore, so it can be active here, your Spirit projected what is known as your "soul" to act as its agent here on Earth. The soul is in effect a "holographic projection" or as the Ancients called it, "a projected finger of fire" from Spirit. It is the soul's light that contains the ancient wisdom and knowledge gained experientially by The Hermit on its path to perfection. Now, in his exalted consciousness, he is in a position to help others as they evolve.
Finally, it's interesting to note that The Hermit wears a gray robe... it signifies that he has resolved life's polar opposites which are always shown in the Tarot as either White (positive energy) and Black (negative energy). Gray is the blended neutrality of these Black and White opposites. In his left hand he holds the suspended yellow rod or staff of intellect and higher knowledge. This storehouse of wisdom resides within his subconscious mind. In the Tarot anything held in the left hand is automatically subjective and of a subconscious nature. Anything held in the right hand (the lantern) manifests within the conscious awareness of the individual.
copyright 2003-2004, Joe Ivory, all rights reserved
Card source and reference material obtained from THE RABBI'S TAROT, published by Hughes Henshaw Publications, firstname.lastname@example.org New Release Summer 2004.
Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is a registered trademark of U.S.Games Systems, Inc. Visit the world's best source for tarot decks at http://www.usgamesinc.com