9:   The Hermit

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The Hermit tarot card
Universal Waite
The Hermit tarot card
BOTA (Builders of the Adytum)

1.   Solitude; meditation.

2.   Introspection; self-analysis; serious, deliberate contemplation before making a major decision.   "Holding back" or "reserving judgment."

3.   Spiritual wisdom.


When this card appears in a reading, it may be telling you, "You already know the answer.   It is within you.   Seek it there."

"Now is the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock."

In some older Tarot decks, this card was "Time."

Many hero myths have the hero traveling alone through some sort of wasteland, and he arrives on the other side a wiser person.   This shows up in the Biblical account of the apostle Paul, who went off by himself to receive the full revelation of the gospel (Gal. 1:12-18).

In the BOTA version of this card (above), the Hermit's headgear is in the shape of the Hebrew letter yod ( י ), which is the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet (if the Fool is considered to be the first card in the Major Arcana sequence, then this would be the tenth card).

The illustration may have been inspired by the legend of Diogenes, who (according to legend) went abroad in daylight carrying a lamp "looking for an honest man."

The Fool tarot card
The Hermit tarot card

Note the differences between The Fool and The Hermit.   The Fool is about to step off a cliff, and doesn't seem to care; he's looking up, not studying his path, his arms akimbo.   The Hermit seems very somber, and he's shining his light down on the path before him, carefully examining it before he takes another step.   It may be a little while before he makes the next move in his life.

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