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The Hermit

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on March 8, 2011 | Comments (8)

The Hermit card should be fairly easy to interpret. Yet I am surprised by how many people say that the Hermit is, among other things, a teacher. He really isn’t. He may teach by example simply by living his life, but the role of teacher is that of the Hierophant. But these days people would rather follow a rebel and feel very suspicious of being taught what is approved of by the status quo.

The Hermit is the experience of finding and following your own inner light. This is not something that can be taught, for everyone’s inner light is their own. Someone who is truly following his own inner light would probably tell those who would follow him, “don’t follow me! This is MY light. You go find your own.” Well, in my head that’s what The Hermit says.

Reader Comments

Written By Marcy
on March 8th, 2011 @ 11:48 am

I get this! This quote from Felix Adler reminds me of the difference between the Magician and the Hermit:

The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light. 

Written By Snowy
on March 8th, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

I suspect it’s the popularization of Eastern ideas that’s cause the confusion, associating the Eastern archetype of the aestetic monk with the Hermit card. The Hermit is really more like the ronin samurai, the one who plays by his own rules.

Written By Bonnie Cehovet
on March 8th, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

Barbara –

I do see the Hermit as part teacher (and it is one of my birth cards). The Hermit accesses his/her own internal wisdom, then takes that wisdom out to share with others, whether through living as an example, or as an actual teacher.

My two cents. 😉


Written By Blackbird "BB"
on March 9th, 2011 @ 4:12 am

Gorgeous Art
and food for thought, now there’s a welcome combination; kind of to continue my thoughts from last time, the Major/Minor pairings; I see it as more the Major 4 of Swords; the 4 might be a weekend retreat, the Hermit is the guy (or Gal) conducting it; A serious withdrawal from the demands of our world and with that in mind, I’m not so sure he’s not a teacher, but what he is teaching is very different than the Hierophant.
I tend to see the Hierophant as a Rabbi; a person who guards and transmits the cultural forms; the Hermit is the Kabbalist who teaches the deeper meaning behind the forms. (or no?) So, I’m thinking its not so much a difference in role as curriculum.
Your thoughts. Blessings, BB.

Written By Ty
on March 14th, 2011 @ 9:14 am

I always see the HErmit as the mature Fool, reflecting over that same cliff, with that same staff/wand, seeing where he’s been and digesting what he’s learned from his journey…so far…

Written By Barbara Moore
on March 16th, 2011 @ 7:25 am

Ty, I never thought of the Hermit as a mature Fool. I like that idea a lot! Thank you.

Written By Barbara Moore
on March 16th, 2011 @ 7:30 am

Blackbird, I think I’m going to be ridiculously stubborn on this point. Understand, I’m not saying this is the only or the absolute correct way of looking at these two cards…but for me, it is my way, my current truth. And I say the Hierophant is a teacher…someone who takes students and bestows information/learning in a formal manner. The Hermit may “teach” in that his/her life is an example, but the Hermit prefers to be alone and not burdened with the responsibility of spoon-feeding another. I think he says, “I worked hard to find my light; go find your own.” If we happen to get a glimpse of our own light because of the light the Hermit shines, that is lucky but it is not the Hermit teaching us.

I do not know why I am stubborn about this. I usually am much more cool and groovy.

Written By Barbara Moore
on March 16th, 2011 @ 7:32 am

Marcy, yes!!!! The saint being the Hermit. He (or she) is a light. If by that light we happen to see truth or whatever, that is great…but it does not make the Hermit a teacher. A teacher is more conscious, more structured, more formal. My opinion. Which I know is verging on the comical and absurd due to my silly stubbornness.

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