The Hermit tarot card is the ultimate example of a personal quest. Finally, honest enough to understand their own limitations, the hermit is trying to shut the world away for some time, long enough to focus on the problem they have to overcome without suffering from outside distractions.
Keywords associated with the Hermit Card
Upright: Mystery, introspection, secrets, wisdom, truth-seeking, sabbatical
Reversed: Isolation, loneliness, escapism, depression, and withdrawal
Traditional Representation and Description of the Hermit Card
The Waite version of the card shows an old man, standing on a mountain peak, carrying a staff in one hand and a lit lantern containing a six-pointed star in the other. In the background is a mountain range.
According to Eden Gray, his lantern is the Lamp of Truth, used to guide the unknowing, his patriarch’s staff helps him navigate narrow paths as he seeks enlightenment and his cloak is a form of discretion.
Modern Representations of the Hermit Card
Like the eponymous character depicted on the major arcana cards, the Hermit is taking a break from the outside world to focus on the matters at hand in a swifter and more effective way. This is a call for introspection and timely thinking. A call for prudence against swift reactions and hot-headedness.
The Mythic Tarot (1986)
The Haindl Tarot (1990)
Osho Zen Tarot (1995)
Law of Attraction Tarot (2011)
Spellcaster Tarot (2016)
Ostara Tarot (2017)
Upright Hermit Card Meaning
This is one of the most easily recognizable tarot cards from one deck to the next. The Hermit in tarot is usually an old man, alone, on a clear background, wearing a long robe, carrying a wooden stick, and a lamp (or a candle) in his hands. This is the traditional image of the wise old man cutting himself off from the world in order to better understand it or understand himself.
As was said above, the meaning of the Hermit card is a quest for knowledge and wisdom. A metaphor for meditation and introspection, the Hermit removes as many outside stimuli as they can in order to focus on the matter at hand.
This is also a card that could represent a passive mentor, someone who will show you the way instead of telling you how to walk. The lantern he holds in his hand represents both his own quest for enlightenment, away from the world, and his readiness to share what he has already learned, the lantern acting as a beacon to guide younger and less experienced people to him for a bit of guidance.
With the Hermit, you are trying to understand yourself and to find a deeper meaning to life itself.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
The number 9 card of the Major Arcana, the Hermit, represents the time we need alone, so we can delve deeply into our thoughts and feelings about the relationship, whether we are in one or not. This card encourages you to take some time to yourself with the intent to meditate on the issue of love/romance and how it has played out, is playing out, and you want it to play out in your life.
If you are single, this card will ask you to turn off any online dating service accounts and take a break from the dating scene. Make a point to disengage from an active effort to meet someone and just really be, truly single for a period of time, perhaps for a full month. Really let yourself retract from the pursuit of love/romance, and focus on your work, friendships, or family.
If you are in a relationship, this card encourages you to get away, for as long as your responsibilities will allow you. In your situation, the most you might be able to manage is a day, but a longer period works best to get the full value of this archetype as a way to understand yourself, your relationship, and yourself in the relationship. The Hermit is real detachment for a period of time; no cell phone, TV, or internet. When you come back from your time alone, you will know so much more about your relationship: if it is working or failing, where it needs attention, and what it means to you.
In a Question about Career and Work
Career encompasses school and education if that is your current stage; work that is necessary, but not what you would consider a career path; and your actual career path. Regardless of your current stage of development, the Hermit represents a need to take some time off from school or work; you need an extended break to assess how you feel about your academic path and current work.
If you are a student and this is your card, then you need to consider taking a semester off or maybe even a full year. Get away from your studies and see how you feel about them while you are disengaged. Do you miss school after a period of time or realize that your passion for school is gone and you really need to find a new path, either a new major in school or just start finding work?
If you are working, but not doing something you would consider a career, then this card will encourage you to use your vacation time in a very specific way that is less about vacation and more about whether you want to continue in your current vocation. Use the time off from work to assess how you feel about where you are in your work life and if you want to return to what you have been doing or look for something else.
If you are in a career path, then this card can encourage you to take extended time away so you can recharge and rejuvenate your passion for your career. Use your success to allow you to take a significant break and see what you discover with regard to your career path. If you are still passionate about your career, you will return with renewed excitement. If you discover you are happier away from your career, then that journey is ready to end so a new one can begin.
Reversed Hermit Card Meaning
The Hermit card can almost be dangerous when reversed because the quest for understanding and inner enlightenment can soon turn into a trap for the ego. Left to his own devices, the Hermit could just as well enter an ego trip and start believing himself better and wiser than the rest of the world, eventually blinding him forever to the end goal of the journey he had come so far on.
Alone, the Hermit can also be a traitor preparing a coup away from prying eyes. Make sure that you are safe and that none of your friends are about to stab you in the back. Do not use it as an excuse to overthink every decision, however, because you would waste too much time planning everything ahead.
In a Question about Love and Relationship
Reversed, this card certainly can indicate the need to escape the relationship, a painful secret revealed, or a feeling of isolation within the relationship. If you are single and this card comes up, it can indicate that you still need to do some personal work on yourself before going any further in your search for a partner. Friendship or professional help could be the best interactions at this time.
In a Question about Career and Work
When this card appears reversed in a question about work or career, then you want to be aware you do not have all the information you need to work effectively or understand the difficulties you might be facing at work. It could also indicate that it is time to leave the job or change careers due to a lack of fulfillment or appreciation.
The Fool’s Journey
Growing further into adulthood, the Fool now starts to take a step back on their youthful optimism and boundless energy and drive. They start asking themselves questions about the meaning of life and existence, the reason behind their own actions, and what their place in the world can and should be.
This is a time where experience turns into introspection, and where the Fool learns to listen to their inner voice. This often starts as a drive for solitude (that should not turn into loneliness), which can either make the Fool stronger as an individual or push them to look for an outside teacher or mentor to help them on their path of wisdom.
Meditating with the Hermit
The hermit is one of the best major arcana cards for introspective meditation. Just like the character in the picture, try to find someplace as empty of any distractions as possible. Light a candle to represent the candle or lantern in the drawing. Try to look straight at the flame for at least 5 seconds (unless you have a serious eye condition). Then close your eyes and see the remnants of the flame still burning their image onto your brain, as if the fire was behind your eyelids. Use it as your new focus point for the end of the exercise.
Try to concentrate on that flame, and then think as hard as you can about the particular question currently bothering you. Try to clear your mind and then fill it back with ideas related to your problems. Choose the one that seems most easily achievable for you (at first) and do it. Once it is done, repeat the process with another goal. If you cannot find a solution right away, do not panic. These things take time, but they are oh so worth it!