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Tarot Perspectives: THE HERMIT

What inner wisdom guides me? That's the question asked by the THE HERMIT cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective 9th of the Major Arcana trump cards.


Smith Rider-Waite shows a simple image of an old bent man in a grey cloak, holding a staff and lantern with a star in it, standing on what seem to be the rocks or snow of a mountain top. The star in his lantern is held high, shining to light not only the Hermit's path but also his thoughts. He gazes at the ground introspectively, holding the lamp out in front of him, almost as though his enlightenment precedes his identity. His simplicity, introspection and age are his key features. He also leans on his staff though he seems erect except for his heavy head (Pamela Coleman Smith has drawn his back as a perfectly straight line)- perhaps he only thinks he needs assistance, and is actually overly-precautious about walking alone without help.

Haindl's Hermit is accompanied by the Hebrew letter Yod or "Hand", the hand that holds the lantern is the Hermit's left hand, traditionally associated with receptivity. The Receiving of wisdom is a theme of this card. The rune Is or "Ice" is also present, ice as a preserver, a coolant, a chill-out process. Also present is the symbol of the sign of Virgo- a cautious and meticulous detailer of all things, Virgos take their time making sure everything is just right and all accounted for. The sign of the virgin, Virgo may also indicate a chastity or abstinence from the worldly pleasures. An overwhelmingly bright moon shines above, along with a lantern held by an old man rejoicing in the light of both. He stands on a cliff surrounded by owls in the night, symbols of wisdom and knowledge. In the Hermit's right hand, he holds a shepherd's staff, used for catching wayward sheep, symbolizing one who has the wisdom and knowledge to keep others from turning towards dangerous paths, but who does not use his power to control or profit from his flock. He is merely their steward, keeping them safe as they graze. Eyes peer out of the darkness, one of which is in a pyramid, the eye of higher power, peering out at the Hermit, approving his joyful reveling in the light of wisdom.

Collective Tarot shows a smiling figure with one hand on their heart and one holding up the Hermit's lantern, a gesture that the light of the lamp comes from within them. They walk with stars in their eyes, a skull in one ear and a feather in the other, symbols of this deck's air suit and earth suit. The Hermit's mind is situated between the tangible realm and the mental realm. A key around their neck, symbol of this deck's fire suit, and a river that guides their path to indicate water, shows us that this figure has considered all the elements in taking their silent retreat. It is an active retreat- they are walking, shining their starry eyes and lantern light for all to see. A knife at their belt is ready to cut through rough territory, this person knows that the path to self-knowledge isn't always smooth.


Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge on Instagram!


#thecollectivetarot #collectivetarot #haindltarot #riderwaitesmith #tarot #divination #cartomancy #thehermit #hermit

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