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The Hermit

The Hermit

The Meaning of the Hermit
Major Arcana Tarot Card in Readings


The Tarot Hermit card meaning in a nutshell:
The lesson and reward,
but also misfortune,
of solitude.

Archetype:
Solitude - isolation.



       The Tarot card picture of the Hermit is a gloomy one. That's because of the solitude the card represents. Although in the case of a hermit it's voluntary, solitude is still somewhat sad. It's not chosen as a wish of separating oneself from fellow human beings, but for a certain purpose where being alone is instrumental. Usually, it involves an effort to get to know oneself at depth. That's why the Tarot Hermit is often linked to wisdom. That can be discussed.

       The hermit might find out plenty about himself and what goes on in his own mind, when avoiding the company of others. But that's in his mind, the ultimately secluded place where no one else can go. It rarely applies to the outside world, so the scope of any wisdom reached is limited, indeed. You go inwards to learn about yourself, but you have to go outside to learn anything about the world and your place in it.

       On the Tarot card, the lantern in the hand of the Hermit and the dim blue background suggest night. The stillness and closed eyes of the Tarot Hermit suggest repose, even sleep. Indeed, the self-discovery one does on one's own is like a dream, fading away quickly when one opens one's eyes.

       It's said that we're always alone at heart, in our souls. "I believe in the lust of the body and the incurable loneliness of the soul," said the Swedish author Hjalmar Söderberg. That's true, in a sense, but it's also true that we never are completely alone. We have so much in common that wherever we go, even inside our minds, others have done the same and discovered the same. We are alike. Therefore, the experience of one person, no matter how internal, has some relevance to all others. In that way, the Hermit of this Tarot card can become wise.

       But the wisdom reached by the Hermit has no substance before it's shared. What we discover in our loneliness becomes real when we share it with others and thereby discover that there's so much we have in common. In this manner, loneliness can be the way out of it.

       It's not sure that the Tarot Hermit will come to that revelation. He seems committed to stay on his own, as if renouncing the world altogether. That leads nowhere. He must snap out of it, lift his head and open his eyes. Until then he's in sort of a coma.

       Still, occasionally in life we all need the recluse of the Tarot Hermit. To contemplate what we have been through and what we can expect in the future, to heal from emotional wounds, or simply to get some rest. It's a healing process, but it's not a final destination.


Saint Paul of Thebes, the Hermit. Painting by Jusepe de Ribera, 17th century.
Saint Paul the Hermit. Paul of Thebes was the first Christian hermit, according to the legend living between c. 228 and c. 341, which would make him 113 years old at death, being a hermit for 90 of them. Painting by Jusepe de Ribera, 17th century.


A. E. Waite about the Tarot Hermit Card

Click the header to read what A. E. Waite had to say about the Major Arcana Hermit Tarot card symbolism and meaning in divination.


The Major Arcana Tarot Cards

  1. The Magician

  2. The High Priestess

  3. The Empress

  4. The Emperor

  5. The Hierophant

  6. The Lovers

  7. The Chariot

  8. Strength

  9. The Hermit

  10. Wheel of Fortune

  11. Justice

  12. The Hanged Man

  13. Death

  14. Temperance

  15. The Devil

  16. The Tower

  17. The Star

  18. The Moon

  19. The Sun

  20. Judgement

  21. The World

  22. The Fool




The Book

Tarot Unfolded. Book by Stefan Stenudd. Tarot Unfolded

This book focuses on the Tarot card images and their allegorical symbols. Several spreads are introduced, as well as the meanings of all the 78 cards and their pictures. The book will help you find your own intuitive way of making inspired Tarot card readings. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

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Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.


Other Books of Mine

Your Health in Your Horoscope. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

Your Health in Your Horoscope

What the horoscope says about your health, according to the old tradition of medical astrology. Click the image to see the book (and Kindle ebook) at Amazon.


Life Energy Encyclopedia. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

Life Energy Encyclopedia

Qi, prana, spirit, pneuma, and many other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction. Stefan Stenudd


About me

I'm a Swedish author. In addition to fiction, I've written books about the Tarot, Taoism, astrology and other metaphysical traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.

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