Trump 9 – The Hermit


Rider-Waite Tarot

Be still, and know that I am God. [Psalm 46:10, NRSV]

The kingdom of God does not come in a way that can be seen, nor will people say “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!”; for the kingdom of God is within you!  [Luke 17:20-21, OEB]

The Hermit is one of my favorite cards in the Tarot deck because it mirrors a lot of my personality. For me this card speaks of discovering the Great Mystery, not by seeking it in the outside world, but by turning inward. This notion is not only spoken of in Biblical texts such as those above, it is also reflected in Pagan spirituality as well. In The Charge of the Goddess, Doreen Valiente states this truth beautifully: “If that which you seek cannot be found within you, you will never find it outside of you. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

As we look at the Rider-Waite version of The Hermit, we notice that his lamp is illuminated by a star instead of a candle.In Pagan symbology, the star relates to Goddess energy which includes intuition and hidden mysteries. It’s the kind of knowledge that is not attained easily but is definitely worth the effort!  It’s also the kind of knowledge Christian mystics have spoken of ever since there were Christian mystics One of my favorite quotes on the subject is from Meister Eckhart, a 14th century Dominican priest: “Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”

Arthur Waite also provides some helpful commentary on the meaning of the Hermit.  He says it blends the ideas of the Ancient of Days (a Hebrew name for the Divine) with the Light of the World (a title Jesus used to describe himself). Waite also warns about misinterpreting this card, saying, it is not “a wise man in search of truth and justice; nor is he…an especial example of experience. His beacon intimates that ‘where I am, you also may be.'” I take this to mean that we can never really grasp the Ultimate Truth. Instead we draw near it as we draw near to the Divine.


DruidCraft Tarot

The DruidCraft version of the deck adds a wolf and a crescent moon. Both of these reinforce the themes I’ve mentioned so far. When the wolf shows up as a totem animal it can mean we should pay attention to what our intuition is telling us.  The moon, of course, is all about the Goddess. Philip Carr-Gomm also summarizes the Hermit card in the DruidCraft deck with the following: “Turn away from the distractions of the outer world, and see guidance. In silence and solitude discover new depths, and refresh your soul at the source of all life.”

For me this card tells us it’s time to be very quiet and try to listen to the voices of the Ancient Ones/Divine Presence and the wisdom they can impart to us.  It’s not a time for decision-making but is a time to withdraw from the distractions of life until the way forward is clear.

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About David Taliesin

My name is David Taliesin. I'm an writer, teacher and retreat leader who explores the connections between Christian and Pagan Spirituality. E-mail me with any personal comments you'd like to share and I will do my best to answer them. You can also contact me through my Facebook page
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