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The Hermit stands upon a high, high precipice.  He holds in his right hand a lantern containing a glowing radiating Star of David.  He holds in his left hand a staff.  He is wearing a very large billowing enshrouding cloak.  He has a long flowing beard.  This is a card of great mystery, and its symbolism is perhaps among the most difficult to comprehend.  The Hermit's a card of many things.  We will start with the most obvious.

Remember the mountain that the Fool began on, the mountain that stands behind and between the lovers, the mountain in the background behind Lady Strength.  The Hermit now stands upon that mountain.  This is a card of great attainment.  We have crossed the pathway of involution and come to the point of the fall.  We see the pathway of redemption through the Chariot and have been presented with the divine will to conquer all evil.

At the stage of the Hermit, the religious aspirant begins to internalize the religious life.  The religious life does not consist simply of hearing the Word, nor simply of believing these stories, nor simply in being a follower.  The essence of religion is attainment.  The essence is actualization.  As the Bible says, "We should not be hearers only, but doers of the sacred word." 

At the stage of the Hermit, we are not complete.  We are not done.  At the stage of the Hermit, we have not completely slain the ego, and we have not fulfilled our eternal destiny.  However, the proclamations and powers which we have met, up until this point, are beginning to take shape and form inside of our own being. 

We have seen, behind the Fool, the pure white light of the Sun.  Behind the lovers in the pathway which the angel guards, there is the eternal infinite limitless sun of the divine presence in our lives. 

The other places that we see light in the Tarot cards are in images of stars representing celestial kingdoms.  This is the first time that we see anything which appears in simple form to be a man-made light.  The Hermit is holding a lantern, and he controls that lantern.  It is not by chance that he controls it in his right hand.  As the right hand of the Charioteer contains the Magician's wand and as the right hand of the Lady of Strength is pulling up to close the Lion's jaw, so too in the right hand, the Hermit holds the light.  This is a pathway of illumination.  The sun which we have lost, which we are seeking to return to, the limitless light of God is beginning, albeit in a small measure, to take shape and exist in our lives.  That is the first symbol here--the Hermit standing upon the Mountain holding the light.

The light of God, being the only reality, will eventually come under your control.  As we saw, the essence of strength is control.  You, as a co-creator with God, have an appropriation of the infinite limitless light within you.  Through tapping into the Lady of Strength, working the pathway, you will enter the Chariot.  And as you do so, you are taken to the highest mountain.  Contrary to popular opinion, the Hermit does not so much crawl up the Mountain, as he is deposited there by the Chariot.  Those lights of Heaven above the celestial canopy are not simply to be looked at .  They are not simply to be worshipped.  They are to become our reality.  We are the light of Heaven. 

The reference to the Biblical passage is obvious.  Jesus says, "You are the light of the world."  Not merely a reflector of the light, but in a higher truer sense, you are the light of the world.  God is light. 

When we get a bit farther down the road, we will overcome the temptation of the moon in card #18 to merely reflect the light, and we will have our homecoming in card #19 where we are fully reunited with the radiant Sun.  A tiny bit of that sun has been broken off.  A tiny bit of the canopy above the Chariot has been placed into the Hermit's lamp.  A tiny bit of what God is has been placed into you. 

The Bible promises us that eventually we will grow to the fullness of Christ.  At the stage of the Hermit, we are not yet there, but we have learned much. 

The Hermit is alone  There is no denying this, and there is no hiding from it.  He has no one around him, and he is first and foremost, completely and always, utterly and entirely alone. 

When you close your eyes at night, there is no one behind your eyelids but you.  And in your heart of hearts, there is no one but you.  No one knows all of your thoughts, all of your feelings, all of your memories, all of your actions, except you.  And, the revelation of Lady Strength is that absolutely no one controls or shapes your destiny except for you.  You are alone. 

The essence of religion is to recognize that aloneness in ourselves and to enable it to become reality.  The holy name is, "I will be what I will be"--not what Madison Ave. says I will be, not what culture says I will be, not what my friends say I will be, not what my church says I will be, not what my pastor or my parents or my spouse say I will be.  But, I will be what I will to be.

Will, we have seen, is the essence of Lady Strength.  As we harness that will, we become what we will become.  As we shape and mold our will, we realize our destiny--not by the power of our community or our friends or relatives, but singly, solely, wholly and entirely by the power of the divine within us.  This is the beginning of health.  The is the beginning of being responsible for your own life. 

But while the Hermit is alone, he is not cut off from the rest of the world.  Notice his entire attitude.  He is holding the light.  He is not holding the light to enable him to see, for he is already upon the mountain.  He is holding the light for others to see.

Notice that he is looking down.  He is, however, not looking down so that he might find his own way.  He is looking down to watch and seek and attune himself to others.  This is the glory of religion.  Religion is what we do completely alone in the inner most beings of our own soul, as well as what we do in partnership with every other soul around us. 

The Hermitís attainment does not remove him from compassion.  It begins compassion.  The isolation and fracture begun by the Lovers, experienced through the poison of ego, as Adam seeks to even blame his holy wife for his problems--that fracture begins to become healed on the pathway of the Hermit.  For as you attain, and as you receive, you shall be free to share.  We have discussed this before.  As you give, so shall you receive; and, as you have received, you will give.

What is the greatest law?  To love God with your total being and to love your fellow human beings as yourself.  Note that this is a law.  The law of gravity needs no one to give consent to it for it to be true.  The law of electromagnetism was the governing factor of the universe before anyone ever conceived of it.  In exactly the same way, the great law of God does not need you to consent to it or obey it for it to be true. 

The fact is that you do love God with your whole being, and you do love your fellow person as yourself.  These are not so much statements of command, as they are statements of reality--an explanation of the law of the universe.  You absolutely must take time to meditate on this and make sure that you are completely clear on it. 

How you love yourself is exactly how you will love others, and your entire personality is your expression of your love for God.  The ways in which you think, the things that you feel, and those deeds that you perform are the way you love God.  What you think about yourself and how you conceive of yourself when you close your eyes are how you love your fellow human beings.

You already do love God with the wholeness of your being.  You already do love your fellow man as yourself, and it could never, ever be any other way. 

Therefore, in the pathway of the Hermit, as we begin to see the glories of the canopy, as we begin to delight in the ecstasy of riding the Chariot, as we begin to become healthy and have greater control over ourselves through the Lady of Strength, we are able to reach out and to share this with other people.  As we become different people, we love differently.  As we receive, so shall we give, and the giving that we do establishes what we will receive.  Remember, this is a fractal universe.  Our output becomes our input, and our input becomes our output.  Therefore, when we attain the state of the Hermit, we seek to reach out, to share, and to touch other people. The best way to learn is to teach.

If you really want to learn something, try to explain it to another person.  Reach out your hand.  Let your light shine.  You do not place a light upon a mountain in order to hide it.  You place a light upon the mountain in order to let it shine.  The whole purpose of the Bible is to discuss evangelism or discipleship.  It is to discuss outreach, that we might let our light shine before others in such a way that they may see our good works and glorify our Father, who is in Heaven.

We become an actual channel.  We become a vessel through whom the light of God can and will flow.  Just as the Chariot is able to convey the higher powers of God to our eternal spirit, in exactly the same way as that spirit becomes awakened and alive and born inside of us, we too then can be a transmitter of that light.  Whatever you bind on earth, shall already have been bound in Heaven.  Whatever you loose on earth, shall already have been loosed in Heaven.  Go ye and therefore and make disciples of all nations.  During that process, momentum is gained. 

For others then as they are able to dwell in our light and we are able to become in part a channel for them are able to enter into a relationship with the divine and there light can shine back and help encourage and strengthen us.  This is the entire notion of community.  Therefore the Hermit begins in total isolation, but as he reaches out he becomes a member of the family of man, becomes a organ in the body of Christ being built up to the fullness of God. 

God is becoming reincarnated in each of us.  This card--the Hermit--is a card of the incarnation, the mystery of God in the flesh.  The card also teaches us about the importance of having a teacher.  The disciple-rabbi relationship is found in every religion in the world.  In modern society, we have walked away with our technocratic age from this holy relationship, and people think that by merely reading books or watching television shows that they can learn as much as from a personal teacher.  But every synagogue has its rabbi, every disciple had Christ.  Every student has his guru.  Every monk has his teacher.  The powers of God can best and only be fully communicated through other human beings.  This writing, as hopefully valuable and important as it may be, cannot ever take the place of a personal relationship with the Hermit, who stands bearing the light.

This is a crucial point.  We said how card #8 Strength was related to God taking the Hebrews out of bondage to slavery.  Card #9, the Hermit, is Moses, the individual through whom God worked. God could have simply killed all the Egyptians, one supposes, and in that manner let the Hebrews go.  But, it was not to be, and that is not how he operates on this earth.  God works through people.  The power of the strength of card #8 is placed inside of a person named Moses, and Moses takes the people out of bondage. 

One must guide; one must have a guide.  If you truly seek to return to paradise to appropriate the power of the divine will, you must, for your own sake, reach out to others and attempt to help them along their pathway.

We see then that the many shall become one, and the one shall touch the many.  The staff that the Hermit holds clearly represents, for one, the staff which Moses held, turning the staff into a serpent.  We have seen the multi-dimensional symbolism of the serpent before. 

The Hermit is painted as being very old, the ancient of days, because people at this point in their lives are very old souls.  Those who have attained to the level of the Hermit are no longer entirely trapped by the base animal instincts.  The light of God is beginning to be able to shine through them, so they are not entirely encased within ego.  They are symbolically much closer to the ancient of days. 

The Star of David is a two-fold symbol--a symbol of the spirit and a symbol of the world.  As a symbol of the spirit, it symbolizes the revelation and religious proclamations God made through his servant David primarily through the Psalms.  It is also a symbol of earthly power, because David placed this star upon his shield of war.  The light of the Divine cannot stop until it has touched all aspects of the universe.  It cannot stop merely inside of your soul.  It cannot stop merely by making your body healthy, but rather must encompass all aspects of society and every human interaction--from what we currently call government, to our economic systems, to our ecological management systems.  The radiant light conferred through control of the divine will can, must, and will transform the totality of existence.

The final point regarding the Hermit has to do with his robe.  The robe is concealing something.  We get this hint by his hat or hood.  The hood is in the shape of a Yod, the Hebrew letter which we translate into a "Y".  The Yod is the first letter of God's holy name, Yod Heh Vav Heh. The Yod, symbolizing the divine creative controlling intelligence, shows that here in the stage of the Hermit, while we may not be utterly free of all pollution from the lower spheres, we are at least in touch with the mind of God.  The name of God is beginning to take shape within us.  The Yod Heh Vav Heh, as the image of God and the image of man, is beginning to take root in the very rubric of our soul.


This is a true and almost indescribable glorious joy. 

To summarize, the Hermit is attainment--bringing the divine powers under personal individual control.  It is a card of isolation, but an isolation which will reach out in harmony with others to enable them to rise to the top of the mountain with the Hermit.  The Hermit is the stage of spiritual development wherein the name of God is beginning to be formed completely within us.


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