The Tarot Hermit card from the Marseille Tarot and the RWS Tarot

7 Facets of the Tarot Hermit

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The Tarot Hermit card from the Marseille Tarot and the RWS Tarot

The Tarot Hermit is another card that has remained fairly similar through the centuries. In Waite Smith version from 1910, we see the same robed old man, lifting a lantern on high that we see in the medieval Marseille Tarot.

The hermit holds a staff in his other hand. The main differences are that in the Waite Smith version, the hermit is hooded and his robes are grey, rather than brightly coloured. An interesting detail is that we can see the foot of the Hermit in Waite Smith Tarot, whereas in the medieval version, the robe covers the feet.

1. Though the Tarot Hermit card has a different zodiacal correspondence in the Golden Dawn system, the original hermit archetype depicted in the early cards is closely associated with ‘Father Time‘ aka Saturn/Chronos. We have examples of this in images of the Tarot Hermit carrying a scythe and/or an hour glass. An example below of the Hermit holding an hour glass can be seen below (Visconti Sforza Tarot):

The Tarot Hermit Visconti Sforza

2. The two most prominent symbols in the traditional Tarot Hermit card are the staff and the lantern. The staff is a symbol of authority and handy tool on any pilgrimage. To those of you versed in Scripture, the passage about Moses striking a rock with his staff to yield water for his people may spring to mind. The staff has been associated with powerful holy men since the days of the Old Testament. The lantern is a symbol of wisdom and in the RWS version, the light emanates from a six-pointed star, the Star of David, symbol of the union between man and God.

3. The astrological correspondence according to the Golden Dawn is Virgo, Mutable Earth. The Virgo correspondence expresses the energy of service, purity, work and health. It also gives us the anatomical correspondence in health readings of all things related to the gut, intestines and digestion. If we think about the ‘as below, so above’ correlation between the health associations for this card, for the psyche, we get rumination and assimilation of ideas so that we may grow in understanding.

4. The highest spiritual potential of the Hermit Tarot card is to purify our thoughts and actions so that we can be of service to humanity for the Highest Good.

5. When The Hermit shows up as the challenge, you might ask yourself: ‘Would contemplating this more deeply be beneficial?,’ ‘Do I need some down time from my social commitments so that I can focus on study and prayer?,’ ‘What am I being called to teach/share from my own experience/understanding?,’ and ‘How can I improve my health in holistic ways?’

6. The Tarot Hermit card is ruled by Archangel Raphael, ruler of Mercury/Virgo. You may also wish to consider Archangel Cassiel, ruler of Saturn, if you are using a Tarot deck that is showing more of a ‘Father Time’ approach to the archetype.

7. On a Hermit sort of day, you might…

  • Start studying a new topic
  • Decide to stay in with a good book instead of going out with friends
  • Spend time in prayer, contemplation and meditation
  • Feel isolated
  • Realise that you need to take better care of your (gut) health
  • Spend many hours doing focused detail work
  • Take a vow of chastity (it’s rare but it still happens in the Catholic Church for instance)
  • Share from your own experience and understanding to help someone
  • Feel a calling to become a spiritual teacher
  • Heal your sacral chakra
  • Look for a new spiritual direction
  • See a mentor
  • Be persnickety (Rx)
  • Desire stillness
  • Say no to a date
  • Be in love with someone who does not reciprocate (if outcome in Love Tarot reading)
  • Have an inner focus
  • Think things through carefully
  • Need to be on your own
  • Cut out distractions
  • Understand that what you experience now is a the result of past choices/actions
  • Get someone to start asking the right questions for self-reflection
  • Question things more deeply
  • Be overly (self-)critical (Rx)

The Frideborg Tarot Hermit Card

The Frideborg Tarot Hermit

The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.
~ Aristotle

Like the mysterious Hermit himself might choose to do, I left out the detail about the foot. What might this symbol tell you? Why is only one foot showing? How is The Hermit keeping his balance? Questions to ponder…


Lisa Frideborg

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Comments 1

  1. Because he’s walking away. That is why there is only one foot showing. The “Left” foot is grounded in the forward position. “The Other” foot is lifted up on a tippy toe position following “right behind” the hermit. Meaning the Hermit was betrayed, someone turned their back on the hemit (rejection/infidelity) so the hermit walks away and the one that did the hermit unfairly is up on their toes following right behind the hermit. The hermit is usually “walked on” but when that welcome mat pulls away then those who repeatedly wiped their feet on the hermit realizes the hermit was their only light in their darkest hours.

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