If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.
~ Joseph Campbell
After the intensity of the past several weeks, we are given an opportunity to step back and assess. This week, we have a rare visit from The Hermit.
We’ve just undergone the fourth Uranus-Pluto exact square, sandwiched between a pair of eclipses. Those events alone will have repercussions for years to come.
Then, just after jovial Jupiter turns retro on Thursday, suggesting a more inward-directed time, we get to patch up three weeks of disruptions as Mercury thankfully stations direct on Sunday.
If you view the Major Arcana as a journey from The Fool to The World, The Hermit precedes the great turning point in the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune. In the midst of pivotal times, The Hermit is a center of calm and reflection.
Like The Fool, The Hermit stands at the precipice. But the Nines represent completion. His head is bowed, and he pauses before the next phase of his journey. Standing on the mountaintop, he can see the bigger landscape before him.
Like the challenger in another Nine — the Minor Arcana’s Nine of Cups — how might he be confronting us, as a benevolent Guardian of the threshold?
This card suggests the historic ancient Greek hermit, Diogenes, who searched both day and night with his lantern, looking for an honest man in a world of corruption.
The Hermit represents a very important archetype, the European equivalent of the yogi ascetic. Hermits removed themselves from the community (and the organized religious institutions), choosing to understand themselves and encounter the Divine directly and alone.
He (or she) traditionally plays an important role in countless myths and stories, usually appearing unexpectedly to offer shelter, protection, healing, wisdom, or magical gifts to questing knights, lost children, and other seekers.
The Rider-Waite-Smith Hermit is not in beggars’ rags, but wears the robes of a monk. Although he has turned away from the roles and expectations of society, he is not hidden in a cave or hut. He is the holy pilgrim on a journey. He both searches for the truth, and himself stands as a beacon of it for others.
In our own schedules this week, The Hermit urges us to take time for meditation. What quiet time are you in need of? Turning away from the hectic demands of the world may not be easy, but it supports you at this time. How might you offer yourself a gentle retreat?
Is there a mentor or teacher in your life that you can now turn to? Who shows the way when you are in need? For whom can you be a powerful guiding light in this darkening season?
The Hermit offers a gift of introspection. Solitude can be nurturing in ways we might not expect, giving us time to contemplate what direction our journey should take.
Living our truth is not always a comfortable endeavor, and it can be lonely. But we are asked to shine with full honesty, because our true path is only made by the walking.