(The above image is a copy of The Hermit card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 6 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
While the past few Tarot cards illustrated a group dynamic, The Hermit returns to the individual. Like The Fool, The Hermit is on his own journey towards enlightenment. While The Fool is ignorant, The Hermit is wise. While The Fool is beginning his journey, The Hermit is in the middle of it. It is a card that encourages self-reflection on all of the experience you have had so far.
For more information about The Hermit card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – LANTERN
In order to travel in the wilderness, The Hermit holds a lantern in his right hand. The lantern only reveals what is just ahead of him; It does not illuminate the entire journey. Much of the path is still unknown. The Hermit must therefore rely on his insight to guide him, merely using the lantern as an assistance.
Point 2 – STAR IN THE LANTERN
Inside the lantern, the source of the light, there is a six-pointed star. This is the Seal of Solomon. It is a symbol of the Hermit’s individual wisdom. The drive behind the Hermit, much like The High Priestess, is intellect. The Hermit, however, uses his intellect to travel the world, instead of remaining in a temple.
Point 3 – STAFF
In the Hermit’s left hand, he holds a long staff. While the lantern projects into the future, the staff helps the Hermit in the present. The staff is illuminated by the lantern and is informed by its wisdom, but the staff is connected to the ground; it is rooted in the present moment. Both tools, the lantern and the staff, are necessary in the Hermit’s journey.
Point 4 – GRAY ROBE
Like the columns in The Hierophant, the throne in The Emperor, or the stone chariot in The Chariot, the grayness of the Hermit’s robe signifies his unbiased attitude towards life. Having reached spiritual enlightenment, he is at peace. He wanders throughout his journey with no preconceived notion of the destination.
Point 5 – WHITE BEARD
Like the star inside the lantern, the Hermit’s white beard illustrates his wisdom. He has walked his journey for a long time and has gained incredible insight because of it. The beard shows the Hermit’s dedication to the enlightened path.
Point 6 – SNOW
The snow on the ground reiterates the unbiased nature of the Hermit. He walks on a blank slate; the path ahead of him is clear of any ego. The snow also illustrates how far he has come. In the Hermit’s individual wisdom, he has climbed atop a mountain.
An Upright Hermit encourages you to look inward and self-reflect. Perhaps you are at the crossroads of a big decision. Perhaps you are facing uncertainty in your life. In any case, the answers are within you. Walk away from materialistic distractions and begin a journey of self-discovery to gain wisdom from your previous experiences.
A Revers Hermit can signal a couple of things. It could mean that you are self-reflecting too much, to the detriment of your responsibilities. While an inward journey is important for the development of wisdom and self-consciousness, an outwards journey is important too. Connect with friends and root yourself in the society you live in. A Reverse Hermit could also mean that you need to self-reflect more. Meditate and detach yourself from the material world in order to better align your vision with your reality.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.