Now, in the week of Imbolc, a time of introspection, dedication and initiation, we receive our second ever visit from the Hermit. The Hermit is a powerful card about going within oneself, and listening deeply regarding 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.
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. And it is a perfect representation of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ essay I shared last week.
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 beacon, holding up his lantern of wisdom within which are the shining six-pointed, intersected triangles which form the Seal of Solomon. He both searches for the truth, and himself stands as an example of it for others. Like The Fool, he stands at the precipice. Does he pause in his journey and contemplate his next move? Or rather does he challenge us, as the Guardian of the threshold?
The Hermit reminds us 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 Twittering, texting, cell calls, and entertainment only grows when the spirit is not nourished.
As we celebrate this contemplative holiday, 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 a reminder that we may 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.
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 turn to you, for your insight and truth-telling? In what ways is it time for you to be the “Soul on Deck,” and shine for the inspiration and healing of others?
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. Be willing to ignite and shine the light of your authentic truth, because your illumination is necessary.