An age is called “dark,” not because the light fails to shine but because people refuse to see it.
The previously seldom seen Hermit seems to have become, not only our Card of the Year, but of the past three months. He has made an appearance in November, December, and now January as the Card of the Week. What is his insistent message to us?
The Hermit reminds us that there are times when we must go within, and listen for the truths of our existence. He often appears when we are on the brink of change, for the Hermit precedes the great turning point in the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune.
The Hermit is a very important archetype, the European equivalent of the yogi ascetic. He has removed himself from the community (and the organized religious institutions), choosing to understand himself and encounter the Divine directly and alone.
He (or she) traditionally plays an important role in countless myths and stories, usually being the giver of shelter, healing, wisdom or magical gifts to questing knights, lost children, and other seekers.
The Hermit is not in beggars’ rags, but wears the robes of a monk. He does not hide in his cave or hut. He is a pilgrim and a guide, holding up his lantern of wisdom within which are the shining six-pointed, intersected triangles which form the magical sigl of the Seal of Solomon.
Soul On Deck
He reminds me of the powerful message of Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, in her Letter to a Young Activist in Troubled Times:
…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. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires … causes proper matters to catch fire.
To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both — are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
He may remind us of the historic ancient Greek hermit, Diogenes, who searched both day and night with his lantern, looking for an honest man in a world of fools.
He both searches for the truth, and himself stands as an example of it for others. Like The Fool, he stands at the heights, but blind faith has been replaced by contemplation and pause. Does he challenge us, as the Guardian of the threshold?
The Light of Rebirth and Transformation
This week, we are, ourselves, on a vital magical threshold. This is the final week before the U.S. primary elections begin and when Mercury stations direct (hallelujah!).
We are now preparing for the rites of Imbolc, arriving Feb. 1-2, depending on your tradition. Imbolc is a Cross-Quarter holiday that celebrates the returning Light and the first awakenings of Spring’s promise.
At this holiday, we observe the great Mystery, as the Crone Goddess, who has challenged and taught us since Samhain, now is reborn as the young, beautiful Maiden.
Although the dark cold of Winter hangs fast, the longer daylight hours and the first births of the livestock assure that its grip is lessening and Spring is on the way.
As we prepare to celebrate this contemplative sabbat, we begin to dream of the seeds we will plant in the spring, the studies we will undertake for a year and a day, and the vows we may make as initiates or devotees to our Beloved One(s).
The Hermit is important guidance that our world of incessant busyness, electronic chatter, information overload, and constant stimulation does not foster wisdom. The void of loneliness we seek to fill with unceasing Facebooking, tweets, texting, cell calls, and entertainment only grows when the spirit is not nourished.
He urges us that we need space and distance from our busy routines and even community responsibilities in order to see the big picture of our own truth. There are times when everything depends on turning away from the world, and going within. We must learn to embrace simplicity and to sit quietly in the stillness.
And his repetitive weekly visits, in addition to this being his own Year, add weight and urgency to this message.
Take A Peace Break
This is not the best week for partying or whirlwind socializing. Instead, take some time for inner and outer quiet. What clear-headed, unbiased evaluations do you need to contemplate?
What information do you need, before choosing the next phase of your journey? Who are your trusted teachers, and what sage advice might you need? Who might you turn to, for the insight and truth-telling you hunger for?
In what ways is it time for you to be the “Soul on Deck,” and shine for the inspiration and healing of others? How does your own light hold the danger of a dark age at bay?
This week, seek and you shall find. Understand the lessons you have been learning in your life and take the time you need to integrate them into your everyday habits. Wisdom is now of the highest priority.
Your special gifts are like no other before you, or that will ever be again. Ignite your lantern and hold it up from the highest mountaintop, for you’ll discover that the light you seek is already within you.