IX. The Hermit

The Hermit

Keywords for The Hermit 


In the image on the card, we see in front of us a somber, serious looking older man dressed in gray robes. He holds a long staff in one hand, and a lantern lit by a bright, six-pointed star in the other.

He stands alone at the cold, icy summit of a mountain peak (the very same which we saw represented earlier in the Lovers card). This man possesses no written map of the territory ahead—instead, he allows the light of the six-pointed star he carries to lead the way, trusting that the light of spirit will always show him the way.

The Hermit Interpretation

When the Hermit comes up in a tarot reading, one of the primary meanings relates to a certain kind of withdrawal from others or from the typical course of daily life. When this card appears, it can signify that we may feel isolated and disconnected from others.

The Hermit often speaks to the experience of loneliness and isolation, as well as the emotional discomfort or even pain that goes along with it. However, this does not mean that this is a card of separation that is always imposed from without. 

This card can also refer to a state of intentional solitude, one in which we consciously withdraw from our normal, everyday concerns in order to go within. The Hermit can signal the beginning of our undertaking a journey of self-discovery and transformation, one which has the potential to take us to heights previously unknown.

It can refer to a period in which we intentionally remove ourselves from the regular flow of life, in order to seek higher wisdom, work on our own personal development, or heal from past difficulties. We may also simply seek to take the time and space required to elaborate an individual vision for future growth.

In a reading, the Hermit can also refer to guidance and mentorship. You may find that you are being helped along your path by someone more experienced or knowledgeable than yourself.

The Hermit that we see here in this image is also an example of the archetype Jung once labeled as the “Wise Old Man.” He symbolizes both the inner guide (as experienced in dreams, visions, and symbols) as well as the outer guide (in the form of a teacher or elder).