Tarot Stories: The Hermit
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
From the Vault
This story was originally published in March 2021 as an Instagram post. It still resonates to this very day, and I think it's an appropriate interpretation of the Hermit card.
This book writing and publishing journey can often feel isolating, as if you're on an island... in the middle of a turbulent sea.
And although retreating to our writing spaces and isolating ourselves in the worlds of our stories is often necessary, being a writer is dark and lonely sometimes. Sometimes, we look up and the only light we see is the one we're carrying to light our way.
Sometimes, writers, all the light you need is right there inside you, and I would venture to bet that oftentimes your light is a beacon for others. You might think the glow is fading and dull, but others are looking at you and marveling at how well you're managing the storm.
My fellow writers, this analogy is meant to inspire you to keep doing whatever lights your internal fire. Additionally, although the path can seem lonely and dismal, retreating inward is necessary in order to hear how your story wants to be told. Lastly, other writers and readers, check on your writer friends and make sure they're okay. This island can be bleak.
What is the meaning of The Hermit card?
Ah! My favorite card in the deck! The Hermit is not only the card I feel most adequately summarizes my spiritual journey as a creative person but I think it’s synchronicity that it’s also my Soul Card.
The Hermit is the last single-digit card in the Major Arcana. As he wears a long, platinum beard, we’ll presume that our Hermit is an older male. He’s dressed in a light gray hooded robe and he’s holding a lantern before him, its glow lighting his path. The sky surrounding him is serene and beryl. The Borderless Waite-Smith deck’s sky is the perfect shade of my favorite color, haint blue. Although the ground is solid beneath his feet, it’s unstable and frozen; therefore, the Hermit moves slowly and precisely, inching along with his staff so that he doesn’t slip and fall. Nobody wants a broken hip, especially in the dead of winter.
As our Hermit walks his path alone, he is not lonely. His trek is made in chosen solitude. He has reflected inward, focusing on the next phase of his journey, which is nearing its end. He takes his time, though, trusting only enough light to illuminate the next step along his way. He’s a wise leader, but he’s seeking the answers to the questions that have either intrigued or haunted him. If you were to join him along his walk, he’d most certainly take advantage of the quiet to listen to your stories, answer your own questions, if he can, and perhaps even teach you something profound about yourself and/or your life’s path that you never imagined.
The Hermit: A Deep Dive
The Hermit withdraws. He’s on a quest for personal truth, experience spiritual illumination, seek solitude, guidance, focus on a slow transition, listen to your inner-self, seeking answers, listen to your psychic Guides; this card can also indicate maturity.
The great Buddha once said, “Make of yourself a light.” You don’t have to be doing everything that everyone else is doing and the way everyone else is doing it. Light your own path. Seek your own way and discover who you are as a writer, find your voice, your writing style. Take time out. Solitude. Seek guidance from a teacher or a coach who can help you find your way. Rachel Pollack, author of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, wrote this about the Hermit, “By withdrawing from the outer world, we can awaken the inner self.”
The Hermit Reversed: the Shadow
When reversed, The Hermit loses his way. He’s lonely and he forgets why he’s headed in the direction he’s going. He forgets his purpose and is doomed to make the same mistakes of his past, the ones that have led to his self-inflicted exile. He lets go of everything he's learned. He loses sight of his light.
Notable Symbols for The Hermit
Spirit / Earth
Nine is the number of completions and endings.
Blue—the color of life, harmony, peace, and calmness.
Mountain range—Implies structure and a steady foundation, security and protection.
Lamp—Inner light and knowledge; truth.
Six-sided star—Seal of Solomon, a symbol of wisdom.
The Hermit, Characterized
The Hermit is an excellent teacher, coach, and wise leader to whom other characters look for inspiration and guidance. In my novel The Scars We Choose, Pinkie Perideaux demonstrated Hermit energy as, through magic, she answered questions for lead character Scarlett Rose (called “Lizzie Nell” as a child). Like The High Priestess, Ms. Pinkie helped guide Scarlett along the next venture in her adult journey: a mission that would find her lost love, Julian Rose, and also—without spoiling the story—bring long-awaited closure to Ms. Pinkie around her own personal interests.
Who can the figure in the card be?
A teacher, a philosopher, an oracle, a lone wolf, an introvert, a pastor, a psychologist, a mature male or female. You. Me.
Famous character(s), people, books, or movies that embody this card’s energy:
Maya Angelou, Yoda, Professor John Keating of Dead Poets Society, Professor Dumbledore, William Forrester of Finding Forrester
Next on the blog, you can look forward to the final post of my Five-Part Series: Tarotcatures. In this post, I will lead you through a fun character development activity using the tarot Court.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself. And that's a good thing!
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.