“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”
― Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
Introspection, solitude, guidance, wisdom, analysis. A lone figure crosses the bridge, with only his lantern and the moonlight to light his path. Alone with his thoughts, he has sought out this moment of solitude, accompanied only by gentle lull of the water and calm night breeze. The Hermit is in search for the truth; a beacon of light that cuts through the darkness. There’s a good chance he may not be comfortable with what he finds, but he is able take what he has learned, use to better himself.
With everything constantly buzzing around us, our subconscious sometimes craves silence; the opportunity to dig inside, and allow our inner wisdom to sort through the noise. There is nothing wrong with wanting to take time out, and do some soul-searching. The mind is a powerful tool, but it’s hard to use when you can’t even hear yourself think.
The problem with our thoughts is that when left alone with them in the silence, they can be overwhelming. It takes time and patience to search within, and but you feel more at peace when you come out the other side. There will be ideas and notions you may have to shed, but isn’t that what the journey towards truth and wisdom is all about? Contemplate. Meditate. Drop the judgement, and open yourself up to seeing the truth.
The Hermit can also be someone who is offering guidance or mentorship. A person who has gone through the experience, who has reached that certain plateau, and who can help you traverse your rocky path.
The Fountain Tarot (featured on the right), much like the Rider Waite Smith, paints a bit of a darker picture. A dark backdrop and snowy terrain, it feels cold and unwelcoming (and maybe some of our inner selves are). The Hermit presses forward, fearless in his pursuit – and sometimes to get to the heart of our problems, that’s exactly what we need to do.
In the Idiosyncradeck we get a much happier picture, but the meaning remains the same – journeying into the depths, and away from the noise.
One thing that I find interesting is that in that in all cards featured, every single one has beams of light – whether it be a lantern, flashlight, or rays of sun. I think the light can be seen both as truth and guidance.
As someone who regularly needs time away from the world, I find the Hermit to be a very comforting card. He doesn’t look exciting, and seems rather sombre, but the revelations you can find while searching within, can be so rewarding.
The Hermit is more than a solo journey through the cold. It’s pausing for a moment, sitting alone in a calming place – by the water, on a sunny patch of grass, under the moonlight – and allowing the mental knots to slowly untangle. And when you do that, you walk away with a newfound sense of calm. You’ve moved on, you’re over all those weights that were dragging you down.
It’s that person who always seems right. That friend who tells you the honest truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. Listen to them.
It’s getting into some shadow work, meditating, digging deep, and not being afraid to shine light on your inner demons – to come to terms with the fact that they are there. To face them, not in battle, but with wisdom and compassion. Use the tools you’ve been given for support.
It’s giving into the urge to cover your ears and tune out the world around you. Those nights when you choose to retreat from society, wrapping yourself in a blanket, staring out the window, aimlessly observing passersby.
Even if we’ll never have all the answers, it’s important to keep searching for them.
When you need to do some soul-searching, what sort of method do you turn to?