Let what distracts you cease.
Let what divides you cease.
Let there come an end
to what diminishes and demeans,
and let depart all that keeps you in its cage.
from Blessing in the Chaos, by Jan Richardson
Now, in the week of the Full Moon, and as we may already feel the turning of the year to Imbolc next week, we are invited to take a moment for introspection, preparing for our time of dedication and initiation. Let us welcome this relatively rare visit from The Hermit.
As you can see, the Waite-Smith artwork is not very complex. A grey-cloaked, white-bearded man stands on a snowy mountaintop, with a staff (or wand) in his left hand. With his right, he holds forth a lantern. Is he gazing down, or is he deep in thought with his eyes closed?
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 (symbol for Fire) is conjoined with the downwards pointing triangle (Water) and represents the magical union of masculine and feminine.
It is a form that is found in a variety of occult and magical traditions, right up into modern times.
Also note that The Hermit is not in beggars’ rags, but wears the robes of a monk. He does not hide in some cave or hut. He is a pilgrim and a beacon. 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?
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.
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 ninth trump card precedes the great turning point in the Major Arcana, the Wheel of Fortune.
And what bigger changes could be underway than the ones currently occurring in the climate, the economy, and our very government? Plus, as mentioned, we are on the brink of the great turning of the Wheel of the Year from Winter to the first hints of Spring, and the time of the Crone Goddess to Her rebirth as the Maiden at Imbolc next week.
The Pause At the New Realm of Being
Then there is the turning of the age now occurring in the astrology of our planet.
In Part One of his discussion regarding this week’s Leo Full Moon, Robert Wilkinson notes:
We’re now officially launched into a new 20 year and 200 year era! We “graduated into a new realm of being” last May, navigated the nonstop storms of July through October, and now have preserved what we need to move forward. In 2019 and 2020 we built the structures which we’ll use in 2021 and 2022 to grow into a greater contribution to our world and lives…
… We have now entered a new chapter in our spiritual journey at a fork in the road of our collective destiny. 2020 was about forging our connection with the World Soul, our Wisdom, and our greater dedication. We’re all wiser than we used to be, have been given ample opportunities to value our heart connections with our friends, and display the vaster spiritual awareness we share with our Brothers and Sisters.
More immediately than the aeon shift, the astrology for the days ahead is far from tranquil. Thursday’s Full Moon is in gregarious, happy Leo. And, as if that was not enough, consummate astrologer Elisabeth Grace explains that there is a LOT of additional potency zinging around this week, thanks to a pile-up of Sun, Uranus, Jupiter, and Mercury energies right now, along with an extra zap from a Venus-Pluto conjunction.
In short, for the coming week, we are looking at multiple energy surges — “Soooooo much energy..” she tells us.
So a quiet step back might be wise, especially since Annie Heese cautions:
With the Moon full and bright in the sky, symbolic illumination occurs in our own lives. However, these new feelings and revelations are emotional ones, as there is a sense of emotions bursting forth into our consciousness. It’s time to express ourselves, and to let things out of our systems…
Of course, we might want to exercise some care while doing so, knowing that what is coming out of us is not particularly rational as yet.
And this is especially true since Saturday kicks off the first Mercury retrograde of 2021. We are already in the “shadow period,” in which the planet of communication, travel, technology, and business endeavors appears to change direction in its orbit (from our viewpoint on Earth).
These matters begin to go haywire, and all those Full Moon emotions we feel like we just cannot sit on one more minute are more likely to come out all wrong.
Thus, our Hermit advises that we take this time for inner and outer quiet.
The Call to Stillness
The Hermit is a very important persona, the European equivalent of the yogi ascetic. He has removed himself from the community, as well as most organized religious institutions, particularly those run by Hierophants. Instead, he chooses to turn within himself, as well as 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 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 tweeting, texting, cell calls, and entertainment only grows when the spirit is not nourished.
As we prepare for next week’s contemplative and initiatory holiday, we may 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).
We receive this reminder in exquisite timing, for he shows us that we have a moment of clarity available in which 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.
Perhaps he holds up his lantern to reveal the part of ourselves that has been traumatized and exhausted by the chaos and suffering of the past four or five years. He challenges us beam our light on the beleaguered and trampled-upon truth.
But this is no confrontational visitor; look closely at his face, and see the gentle, patient compassion there.
What clear-headed, unbiased evaluations do you need to mull over? 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.
Your own solitary, beautiful illumination is the only one of its kind, and it is utterly necessary. Wisdom is now of the highest priority.
Now, on the edge of everything, let us stand tall, beacons of love and truth for all the world to see. With our lanterns held high, let us join together and melt away all darkness that conspires to keep us in its cage.