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The Meaning of
the "Hermit" Tarot Card

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What is the inverted meaning of
the "Hermit"?

The Meaning of "The Hermit"
Tarot Card

The Symbolism of the Hermit Card

On The Hermit tarot card a hooded, robed figure gazes downwards. He holds a lantern before him, which has a six-pointed star shining inside — representing wisdom and knowledge.

Under dark skies, the lone figure stands erect on the summit of a mountain. He looks down at the world below in silent contemplation, and steadies himself with a long wooden staff.

... he has little interest in material posessions or worldly goods. The Hermit lives in the world of ideas.

The figure's long grey beard and stooped posture reflect his many decades of experiences and accumulated wisdom. His clothes are grey and simple, indicating he has little interest in material posessions or worldly goods. The Hermit lives in the world of ideas.

In the distance, snowy, white mountains lie at his feet — as if he has risen above all challenges. His only posessions, his staff and the star seem to mirror the numeral 'IX' at the top of the card.

How to Interpret the Hermit Card

The Hermit has attained his knowledge of the universe through solitary contemplation and isolation. His wisdom comes from within. Time alone, and long periods of meditation have given him great insight into consciousness and spirit.

When the Hermit makes an appearance in a reading, it can have a few different meanings — but most deal with the dual concepts of withdrawal and enlightenment.

Minimalism and simplicity are powerful secrets to a stress free existence and a deeper connection to the universe.

There are times when distractions, daily pressures and competing voices prevent one's inner voice from being heard. In many cases, we have the answers to our problems within us already, but those deeper answers remain hidden to us.

The Hermit reminds us that withdrawal and alone-time can be the best medicine for connecting to our inner selves. More importantly, the Hermit warns us that losing that connection to our inner selves could be leading us to poor decisions and a disconnect with what is truly important to us.

Another message that the Hermit brings us is to question the importance of material things. The card asks us to consider what we ultimately value the most; What do we really need? Would we actually be happier with a simpler existence?

In many cases, the message of the Hermit is simply to scale down and enjoy life's simple pleasures. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with consumer messages and images of wealth. We are told that more is always better. The Hermit reminds us that this is almost always untrue: Minimalism and simplicity are powerful secrets to a stress free existence and a deeper connection to the universe.

The Hermit Card Inverted

The reversed Hermit tarot card has two primary meanings, both of which serve as gentle warnings.

The first, and most common interpretation of the inverted Hermit is that someone is spending too much time at work or being social, and has lost touch with themselves.

... our own judgement is flawed in some way — and what we really need is to consult with a trusted partner.

A serious disconnect with one's inner self has led someone to a place that really isn't them. Perhaps too much exposure to social media, or too much time around people with different agendas has led to a place where the surface mind is miles away from the true self.

We all lose ourselves occasionally, as we explore different aspects of ourselves and the world around us, but the appearance of the reversed Hermit suggests that someone's disconnect may have reached a critical level.

The second possible meaning of the reversed Hermit card is that someone may be spending a little too much time on their own. This may mean too much time in literal isolation, but it may also mean too much time making decisions on one's own without consulting others.

We all like to believe that we know what's best; Our own wisdom and our own insights will almost always seem correct to us. When the inverted Hermit shows up in a reading, it may be an indication that our own judgement is flawed in some way — and what we really need is to consult with a trusted partner.

Alone time is a vital way of connecting with our inner-selves. But too much alone time can lead us to biased positions and rigid thinking. Think of the Hermit card reversed as a spiritual "tap on the shoulder" reminding us to run those plans past someone else.

Common Symbols Found On the Hermit Card

Tarot cards often use a a symbolic language to communicate additional information about how the card should be interpreted. The Hermit makes use of at least two common, repeating Tarot symbols. Each of these symbols which repeat throughout the deck can add additional layers of meaning to the card.

The symbols which appear on the Hermit card are:

  • Mountains

    Mountains symbolism appears on the Hermit card:

    Mountains in the background are some of the most ubiquitous symbols appearing in the Tarot. In broad strokes, mountains indicate trials which must be passed, and hardships which must be overcome. Depending on the specific Tarot card, these hardships may either reference future circumstances which lie along the current path, or they may represent past trials and contests which have already been completed prior to arriving at this time.

    NOTE: The mountains on The Hermit Tarot card are a little different from mountains appearing elsewhere in the deck. The Hermit himself is depicted alone on top of a mountain. This is not a mountain range far in the background. The mountain on The Hermit card serves to illustrate the Hermit's chosen state of isolation and life of hardships. For him, the world is isolated and spartan by choice.

    Read more about the symbolism of "Mountains" in Tarot  

  • Night

    Night symbolism appears on the Hermit card:

    Just as our vision is better in the day than it is in the night, cards which feature a nighttime scene typically share a some connection to mystery or the unknown. The level of darkness in "night" Tarot cards varies. Some "night" cards depict completely dark scenes, while others depict an evening setting or a setting illuminated by moonlight.

    Read more about the symbolism of "Night" in Tarot  

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