For a Hermit, there sure is a lot going on in this image!
On the keyword level, that makes sense; wisdom doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes from an experience-rich life, with depths of analysis and understanding. And, like the Major Arcana, experiences that bring wisdom change the way we look at the world. Those circumstances may be out of our control, but we can manage our attitudes.
In the Gaian image for IX The Hermit, we’ve got a bearded elder and an owl, two of the common symbols for wisdom. The old man is writing, but he’s not looking at what he’s writing. Is he pausing to remember or to think or to look at what’s around him? And what is it that he’s writing? His memoirs? His observations?
His desk is made of stone. It’s lasting, natural, of the earth. His writings are supported by that. It brings to mind the phrase “set in stone”. That’s deep wisdom, the stuff that’s as permanent as the earth.
His lantern is also supported by the big stone. The light of a lantern is a symbol for knowledge – bringing things to light.
His cloak of blue connects with water and emotions, but also with blue sky and the mind. And, given that he’s writing, the blue connected with the throat chakra and communication. Could this even be the deeper indigo of the third eye, and spiritual wisdom? Since his cloak is lined with purple, the colour associated with spirituality and the crown chakra, the connection with the Divine, it could be.
So we’ve got wisdom that’s divinely inspired, but very connected with the stuff of the earth.
How trustworthy is this guy? His facial hair is white and so is his robe. In symbolism, that’s a lot of purity. It frames his speech and covers his body; he lives within white. On the outside, his communication shows; he’s not being flashy or showy about purity. It’s there on the inside.
The smudge smoke also speaks to purity, as a cleansing, sanctifying element.
It doesn’t seem that he’s lacking for company, despite the solitary calling of the Hermit. He’s got the wise owl, and, in the smoke that swirls from the smudge shell, the social wolf, a loon from the dream world and a falcon, with its sharp ability to see details, even from immense distances.
The Hermit sits under an evergreen tree. Evergreens speak of timelessness, outside of seasons and cycles. Not only is the Hermit’s wisdom outside of time, he himself is called to be out of time. He’s even higher than the snowcapped mountains. He’s in the spiritual heights. Anyone else reminded of the sages who meditate in the Himalayas?
Now it’s down to the personal . . . How does IX The Hermit connect with your story in the coming week? Is he unexpected in your world, or can you already see how he’ll fit in with your plans and responsibilities? Where does your wisdom lie? How can you bring it into daily life – set it in stone? Where are your opportunities to share it with others? When do you have time alone to follow your own path?
“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” ~~ Marilyn vos Savant
If you’re looking to learn more about Tarot, I’ll be teaching level 1, Tarot . . . It’s Easier Than You Think, on Wednesday, 5th November, and level 2, Tarot 2 . . . We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, on Friday, 12th December, through the Berkeley County Adult Ed program. Call 304-267-3585 for more information and to register.
And you know where to find me for phone, email, or in-person tarot counseling.