The Hermit- Find Your Inner Core

Four versions of The Hermit tarot card. Left to right: Wanderers, Herbal Tarot, Rider-Waite, and Wild Unknown. The Wanderers shows a faceless cloaked figure with a candle for a face standing on a cliff, their arm is outstretched palm facing outward as they shine a light from their hand. Herbal Tarot is a hooded figure back turned to the viewer holding a crystal ball to the sky in one hand and holding a walking stick in the other. A licorice plant stands in the foreground. Rider-Waite shows a gray cloaked bearded figure holding a yellow walking stick in one hand and holding up a lantern in the other. Wild Unknown shows a turtle tucked into it’s shell with a lit candle on their back.

You might have noticed I ditched the going through the cards in order a few weeks back. I’ve begun to allow the cards to tell me when they want to be explored. This morning in my daily draw I pulled the Hermit. It was one of those moments where something hit me on a soul-level. I knew something important was hiding in this card that I needed to reach into. I let it sit for a moment, then continued about my morning.

Then this afternoon I sat down to pull a spread to gain some insight on some issues I’ve been facing. At the center of the spread was a card to represent what it was my soul needed, in this moment. Around it I pulled cards to represent what my physical body needs, what my heart needs, what my mind needs, what my soul needs, and a message from ancestors and descendants. I waited to flip the soul card last- and when I did I had to catch my breath. It was the Hermit.

I used The Wild Unknown deck in my spread earlier, and I was surprised to find as I sat with each card tonight that that was the version of the Hermit I least connected with.

Each other card- RWS, Herbal Tarot, and Wanderer’s Tarot each illustrate the Hermit as a robed individual, with a common theme of a light extended before them.

The Wild Unknown deck is a tortoise, tucked into it’s shell, with a lamp burning brightly on top of it. The imagery is striking, but it seems dissonant from the message I am receiving from the Hermit tonight.

The message I received tonight is of finding your inner light. Going within to find your own truth, and the courage to walk your own path.

In the RWS image, the Hermit’s eyes are closed or cast down, like he is deep in thought. Before him is a lantern with a shining light, the light of his true self. While the closed/downcast eyes suggest meditation and going inward, I prefer the Herbal and Wanderer’s Tarot, because eyes are not depicted.

See, the way I imagine the Hermit is with eyes wide open. Connected to her inner core, she projects the light of her true self before her, to light her way. In the Herbal Tarot, the Hermit holds a glowing orb before him, and you can see that he is using it to light a narrow road- one that only he can walk.

In the Wanderer’s deck, the being in the robe is faceless. A single candle takes its place. The figure’s arm is stretched outward and from the hand, the light is projected.

In each depiction it is clear that the Hermit is standing in place. There is no motion suggested, so while he may be finding the truth to light his way, he is also carefully planning his next moves and will not move forward until he is ready to do so.

I’m bringing this back home. When I pulled the Hermit this morning, I decided to draw a clarifier, and I drew the Three of Swords. Again. I had pulled it yesterday too.

It is always a timely draw- when I am in the midst of some very intense healing work. So much baggage. So much pain from the past, distorting my view here in the present, confusing me in my path- every step I take, questioning where I am going, undermining where I have been.

Maybe you can relate.

Do you ever feel so caught up in stories and projections that you struggle to assess what is true? Figure out what the facts are? Struggle to make even the most minor decisions because you’re sure that it will only take one false move for everything to come toppling down?

The Hermit urges us to take a pause. Stand still for a moment, or two, or three. Be with yourself. Quiet your mind and feel the warmth of your innermost being. Go to the place that you are strongest, where there is certainty. I don’t know this is something that can really be described, because it is just a knowing, and for a lot of us I think that knowing evades us.

So much can get in the way of truly knowing yourself. Childhood abuse, domestic violence, systemic oppressions- all of these things can force us into roles that we are not suited for. We are beaten and shaped into caricatures- mockeries of a human being- stereotypes.

I will never forget what it was like as a young, budding feminist to look at myself and wonder what was truly me. Did I really want children? Did I really even like these clothes? Why was I even wearing make-up? Suddenly I was caught between two worlds where every act was moralized, and I was under the illusion that I couldn’t win either way. That is until I began to understand that the point of those questions as feminists is not that having children is bad, or being interested in fashion is bad, or that shaving is bad. The point is the choice. The point is that we are human beings who deserve to choose what we want our lives to look like.

Now the question is not “should I wear make-up”, but rather- “do I want to wear make-up today?”

For those of us who have survived childhood abuse and have to survive under oppressive systems that want to erase our personhood, finding yourself can be an enormous challenge. Once you get the hang of it though, it isn’t so hard.

Here is something to try: take a few moments and reflect on something that makes you light up. What fills you with so much joy your eyes begin to sparkle? What makes your cells dance and sing, and hum in harmony? Or even, what just makes you feel at peace? Think of a few things… but here is the catch- these things can’t be solely founded on the validation of others.

While the validation and care we get from others is enormously important and never to be discounted- this is not the medicine of the Hermit.

Think creatively. Think making art, dancing, putting on make-up, organizing your desk space in just the right arrangement, hiking a challenging trail. Then, take note- the things you have listed speak to an aspect of your core self. They speak to your innate gifts and strengths, they speak to your values and your needs. This is crucial information that you can use to understand how to better care for yourself, and how to best find your calling and place in this world.

The Hermit asks us to be still and to get to know ourselves deeply. The Hermit assures us that inside each and every one of us is a light that will show us the way. It will lead us out of the darkness. It will sit with us in the darkness and keep us warm. It will be there when everything around you is crumbling to the ground. This light is the cord that binds us to God/dess, it is the cord that binds us to each other. This light is us- it is our life- it is what we have been born on this earth to share with others, it is what gives us meaning.

Finding your light will take time, and it will be a challenge. It might even be painful at times- but it will be worth your while, because you will be finding a home in yourself.