Somewhere in this universe, (and in all others), there is a cave. At the mouth of the cave, it is dark and unapproachable, yet despite this, anyone who visits finds themselves unable to resist the curiosity of what waits inside.
This cave is the cave of the Hermit, and while it is not a physical place, it is very real.
Taking his place as number 9 of the Major Arcana in most traditional tarot decks, the Hermit shows up after Strength. His arrival comes as a beacon for us to follow, and his presence in a reading signals that, willing or not, it is time to embark on a period of internal solitude in exchange for a deeper understanding of yourself.
Like some of the other Major Arcana, the Hermit is often misunderstood (looking at you, Death, Hanged Man and Devil) because of the negative associations of the word. In day to day conversation, the word “hermit” is used to describe a loner. Somebody who stays home, shut in away from the real world. The word has come to mean something undesirable, something to shy away from.
Here is where our dilemma lies. While it is natural to feel nervous when the Hermit first shows himself to you, his placement is, in reality, a blessing.
When the Hermit makes an appearance the highest message you are being delivered is that there is knowledge and information available to you. He means you have made the right enquiries and chosen the right pathways to lead you to this place, now, where you face the last obstacle between you and the insight you are seeking.
The Hermit resides in a cave built only with enough space for one. It is into this cave we must go to complete the vibrational change needed to access enlightenment. The world we have curated for ourselves often means that solitude is uncomfortable. It is easier to make decisions and face things as a collective instead of taking the responsibility of knowing yourself and what you need.
It is solitude that makes the Hermit an uncomfortable card, but he offers nothing but gentle encouragement. He will not show himself to you unless you are ready for the information being made available.
The time you spend in the cave does not need to be lonely and shut off. You are being given the chance to understand things about yourself which ultimately help you achieve your highest state of joy (even if it shows up as the shadow first).
As we all step collectively into the new year, the Hermit serves as our guide. Looking forward with hopes of fresh starts and promises can be distracting. In the times when things aren’t going as we hoped the Hermit urges us to remember ourselves first, and that answers can be found if we turn inward.
Challenge yourself to find the cave through meditation, walking, or writing. Choose whichever form of the Hermit feels most comfortable you, be it man, woman, being or animal. Regardless of how they look, the message is the same. Know that time spent with the Hermit is a luxury. Welcome this into your life, and remember that the ultimate desire of the Hermit is only to help, never to hinder.
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