9 The Hermit

9 The Hermit

The Hermit divinatory meanings

The Hermit is about seclusion, withdrawal from society, as in a Monk or living in a hermitage. In fact the Hermit chooses to live a solitary life, but he is still engaged with society. People come to him for advice on all kinds of personal problems, and he is able to pronounce based not upon the dogma of the religious establishment he is attached to, but on the practicalities of life. His advice is purely for that person, and not a generality. After all, how many people go to a happy couple for advice on relationships? He is inner directed, and unless asked, he keeps his counsel to himself. The Hermit works from within, spiritually and magically. The problematical side is seclusion, feeling isolated or unable to interact with other people. There may be an obsession with secrets, or  secrets within the cards around it. The patriarchal prejudices against women and femininity come to mind, for it is associated with Virgo, the sign of the Virgin, but September is the month of harvests and fruitfulness.

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Image of The Hermit Major tarot card - Rider-Waite deck
The Hermit – Rider-Waite

The variation from the conventional models in this card is only that the lamp is not enveloped partially in the mantle of its bearer, who blends the idea of the Ancient of Days with the Light of the World It is a star which shines in the lantern. I have said that this is a card of attainment, and to extend this conception the figure is seen holding up his beacon on an eminence. Therefore the Hermit is not, as Court de Gebelin explained, a wise man in search of truth and justice; nor is he, as a later explanation proposes, an especial example of experience. His beacon intimates that “where I am, you also may be.”

It is further a card which is understood quite incorrectly when it is connected with the idea of occult isolation, as the protection of personal magnetism against admixture. This is one of the frivolous renderings which we owe to Éliphas Lévi. It has been adopted by the French Order of Martinism and some of us have heard a great deal of the Silent and Unknown Philosophy enveloped by his mantle from the knowledge of the profane. In true Martinism, the significance of the term Philosophe inconnu was of another order. It did not refer to the intended concealment of the Instituted Mysteries, much less of their substitutes, but – like the card itself – to the truth that the Divine Mysteries secure their own protection from those who are unprepared.

Divinatory meanings

Prudence, circumspection; also and especially treason, dissimulation, roguery, corruption.

Reversed meanings

Concealment, disguise, policy, fear, unreasoned caution.

Book of Thoth: The Hermit

Image of 9 The Hermit Major Tarot card in the Book of Thoth deck
9 The Hermit – Book of Thoth

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.

Be not moved by aught without or within: keep Silence in all ways.

Illumination from within, secret impulse from within; practical plans derived accordingly. Retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration, hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

More information

Golden Dawn – The Magus of the Voice of Light

Wisdom sought for and obtained from above. Divine inspiration (but active as opposed to the Lovers).


Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

Reversed meanings

Over-Prudence, Timorousness, Fear.

Etteilla: TRAITOR

Treason, Disguise, Dissimulation, Hypocrisy, Deceiver, Corrupter, Seducer. Trickery, Impostor.

Traitor reversed meanings

Hermit, Anchorite, Hidden, Concealed, Disguised, Clever, End.

Thierens: IX. Sagittarius.

P.: “Humanity fulfilling the function of God the Holy Spirit. The human creative force.” Indeed this is clearly Sagittarius for every astrologer. The author might have mentioned in the same line that the Hierophant (Leo) represents God the Son.

The Hebrew letter Thet represents a roof and suggests the idea of safety and protection… protection ensured by wisdom.” The astrologer says: the Ninth house is the house of the Master — idea of wisdom and protection in one; the Master in fact shields his disciples like a roof… in some way.

9. L’Ermite – Paul Foster Case

Corresponds to Yod and the sign Virgo. In its deeper occult meaning this card is closely connected with alchemical symbolism, through the rulership of Mercury in Virgo.

Well-dignified L’Ermite

Light and guidance from higher realms. Aid from superiors and inferiors. Good for Health.

Ill-dignified L’Ermite

The Querent will suffer from misunderstanding and isolation; may expect active opposition from superiors and inferiors; may have to engage in unpleasant or menial occupations; and will be in danger of illness.

Ouspensky: IX

“Man”. The Path to the Initiation. Seeking for truth in the right way. Inner Knowledge. Inner Light. Inner Force. Theosophy. Occultism.

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Hermit Tarot meanings - Withdrawal, Seclusion
The Tarot Hermit is about seclusion, withdrawal from society, as in a Monk or living in a hermitage. In fact the Hermit chooses to live a solitary life,

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