One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Thank you to Diotima Mantinela for her newsletter this week, and this timely reminder.
In this week of the Full Gemini Moon, the first of three exact squares between Saturn and Neptune, plus Thanksgiving in the U.S., making it the biggest travel week of the year, we have a calm and solitary figure whose visits are rather rare. Welcome this week to The Hermit.
If, as do many, you view the Major Arcana as a journey from The Fool to The World, The Hermit precedes the Wheel of Fortune, which is the great turning point in the Majors. On the precipice of pivotal times, The Hermit is a center of wisdom and reflection.
Like The Fool, The Hermit stands at the edge of a cliff. But where The Fool is unformed potential, the Nines represent completion.
The Hermit’s 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 philosopher, Diogenes, who searched both day and night with his lantern, looking for an honest man in a world of corruption.
That fable’s moral was the recognition in the end that Diogenes himself was the most honest man of all. Similarly, The Hermit is the very one he seeks.
Note that the light in his lantern is the Star of David, a symbol of great power.
The six-pointed hexagram is a very old sigl, and not limited only to being a widely recognized symbol of Judaism. It is also a mandala that can be found on ancient South Indian Hindu temples, and symbolizes the nara-narayana, or perfect meditative state of balance achieved between Man and God.
To the alchemists of Europe, it was also a motif to do with the resolution of life’s dualities and opposites. The upwards pointing triangle (Fire) is conjoined with the downwards pointing triangle (Water) and represents the magical union of male and female.
It is a form that is found in a variety of occult and magical traditions, right up into modern times.
The Magical Helper and Pilgrim
The Hermit is also 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.
Note that 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 searches outside himself for the truth, and stands alone on the mountain, himself a beacon of light for others.
Hit the Pause Button
Although the Winter holiday craziness gets officially underway this week, and our own schedules are likely to be hectic at best, The Hermit urges us to take time for quiet and meditation.
This week’s Full Moon is combining with the first of three big showdowns between Saturn and Neptune. As April Elliott Kent notes “At this Full Moon in Gemini (Nov. 25 in the U.S., Nov. 26 most other places), the Sun is conjoined Saturn in Sagittarius, the Moon is opposing both of them, and they are all in square aspect to Neptune. So I’d say this Full Moon is pretty much where this nearly year-long Battle of the Titans gets underway…
“Saturn and Neptune are big, lumbering planets, so they don’t come into aspect with each other all that often. When they do, they bring important matters and old grudges to the bargaining table. Saturn and Neptune rule a great many things between them, but if I had to sum it up, we might say that Saturn represents the ideological right, and Neptune the ideological left…”
The brilliant Elisabeth Grace echoes this, writing, “Emotions are on the rise against the wiggy backdrop of this Thursday’s Saturn square Neptune … The Full Moon in news-junkie Gemini on Wednesday evening may create quite a buzz. Patterns leading up to Wednesday’s illumination and release feature Mercury (mindset, communication) in touch with Saturn, Neptune and Mars; i.e., structure/control, vision/delusion and action/aggression.
“Translation: heavy ambitious righteous opinion acted upon in connection with a vision or belief system, which may or may not be delusional.”
So when that right-wing nut case in the family starts going off at the dinner table and pushing all your buttons, take your cue from The Hermit. Gently excuse yourself from the drama and get some space and quiet perspective.
Be The Peace You Want to See In the World
What other quiet time are you in need of? Turning away from the intense demands of the world may not be easy. We are deep into the glitz and glitter of the annual acquisition frenzy, as well as the hypnotic cycle of fear pouring out of the Daesh stories.
But cultivating a peaceful spirit is critically important for you at this time. How might you offer yourself a gentle retreat, or pad your schedule with nurturing solitude breaks?
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. Alone time heals 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 when we must stand apart, it can be lonely. But our light may make all the difference to those struggling around us.
Even if dark times fall, let us each, in our most true ways, illuminate the world.