The Thoth Key 9- The Hermit:
The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself.
-Michel de Montaigne: Of Solitude
The Hermetic Thoth
card of The Hermit, represents the Universal Principle of completion, contemplation,
The Hermit symbolizes the "wise-way-shower" who
lights the way of wisdom in the experiences of life and is an invaluable
inner resource for assisting us and others in our daily lives.
The tree headed dog,
who is the Greek Cerberus, guardian of the underworld, signifies the
part of our nature that things are complete (one head/subconscious looking behind, Conscious and Unconscious looking forward)
before we move our attention forward. Cerberus, represents the dark
inner and unknown parts of ourselves that we should explore and
incorporate before wholeness of self can be experienced.
The burgundy cloak
is the Egyptian symbol of blood, that represents the inherent honesty
and integrity (virtue) within all of us. It pays to remember that we
inherit the great Wisdom, Integrity, and Virtue of the Divine Creative
and through introspection and contemplation we can "Remember our
Astrologically, the Hermit is Virgo ( the wheat in the back ground)
, the sign that represents attention to details, organization, and beauty.
The egg wrapped in the serpent, is called the Orphic egg and
symbolizes the ability to give birth to new spiritual and physical
In the Philosophy of the Hermetic Qabalah it is an established fact that The Path of Yod (Hand) which
is THE HERMIT card, is the Path of Spiritual Fire into the Microcosm
(Microprosopus) . The Yod is the All Father, Chokma and the PATH OF
YOD, is the manifestation before the Abyss which is related to the Logos
(Word), that is objectified as Tiphareth on the Tree of Life.
To some the term Logos or Word, is confusing; However, the Word/logos represents that vibratory will/ force which continually stimulates manifestation.
This continual stimulation also energizes the principles of form (Binah) which it has produced. Thus Kether, the Crown, the origin of Fiery Spirit, is seen as the One that from itself produced Two which
refers to the Electric (Male) and Magnetic (Female) aspects of the One
Electromagnetic Energy. There is a lot to wrap your brain around here,
but that is mostly true of all the symbolism of the Major Arcana.
Often, the Hermit, who is Grandfather of the masculine trinity of Son, Father and Grandfather, is related to the Christ figure,
but he is better related to the Hebrew pathfinder Moses, who led his
people across the Egyptian desert. In fact, an early Gnostic sect, The Simonion Gnostics, that had taken its name from Simon- Magus, first described in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Logos was objectified as Moses. These second century Gnostics taught that the Book of Exodus
was an allegory of the soul being led by the Logos (Moses/Hermit)
through the desert of human life into the spiritual promised land. Many
of us of the Western culture, know the story of Moses as a Thaumaturge
(Arch-magician), whose staff is a wand of enormous power that can
strike water from rock and turn into a serpent upon his bidding. The
"Magi's wand", turning into a serpent force, is an allegory that refers
to the use of Kundalini (Yod) force by the Adept Magician.This
serpentine force is a Sacred Fire that is the essence of the Logos transmitted by the phallic wand. To a Tantric, this wand would be called the Divya Linga: Divine Lingam.
Other references to Moses
and the Sacred Fire, is the told as God interacting with Moses through a
burning bush. Making Moses an intermediary or tool of the Supreme
Father. Thus, Moses is the Hand (yod) of God, which emphasizes the
meaning of the Hebrew letter: Yod as hand
. In Fact, the hand of the Hermit is open,
as opposed to the closed fist meaning of the Wheel of Fortune (see past
blog), and means ultimate Power while also depicting innocence, as an
open hand can give or take with out the impediments of thoughts or moral
The Thoth Deck Hermit card
shows the lone figure cloaked in the Red of Binah, showing that he is
rooted in the Great Red Mother, thus describing the motion and activity
that is essential to the Yod which is the Intercourse of Chokma and
Binah and the purifying flow of menstrual blood, a universal substance of rejuvenation
The Masculine aspect of Universal-blood, flows to She as semen (idea/seed), she then
conceptualizes energy into form (Understanding). Here, Wisdom (Chokma)
is objectified by Understanding (Binah).
Cerberus, the Greek three headed dog
who guards the gates of Hell, is tamed by the Hermit and is a willing
companion. The Dog, guardian, represents the "mind of the body" which is known as the "subconscious" and/or the "Collective Intelligence of every body cell". There is also a interesting connection here to the Goddess
Hell-Aine (Red Womb), and Her Three Yoni (Vagina: Maid-Mother and Crone and the fourth feminine of manifestation-the Whore: Red/ Womb/Graäl), but I'll leave further explanation up to the investigative student of magic, as I don't wish to offend the the flesh-o-phobes of our dogmatic culture, whose delicate personalities can't stand the shock of the Universal intercourse, let alone the fact that Creation is of the communion of Male and Female.
The image of the
represents the Yod energies in the world, while the staff which
transmits sexual force (Kundalini) is totally hidden. Which is not the
case of the Japanese ink scroll depiction of Bodhidharma (470-543 CE.),
the first patriarch of Chinese and Japaneses Buddhism who himself was considered a Moses and/or Pathfinder. The Spiritual Fire and wand, of a Magus is depicted in this
illustration, as Divinely Created, before the flesh-o-phobia of body fearing division-ism
became popular. But enough of "shock and awe", let's just say that what has been erased from mundane intelligence, is that the body is the Sacred Temple of the Logos/ Spirit, and it is the "Magic implement" of all Implements. For it is composed of the Hermetic magicians implements of Cup, Sword, Wand, and Pentagram. Think about it!
I wonder, has it ever occurred to common man,
that if you divide the spirit (logos) from the sacred- body, that it
only leads to enslavement? It certainly has occurred to those who enslave the minds of the many!(Illustration from the Book: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EROTIC WISDOM by Rufus C. Camphausen.)
As Crowley states in his BOOK OF THOTH, "In this Trump is shown the entire mystery of Life in its most secret workings. Yod=Phallus= Spermatozoon=Hand=Logos=Virgin".
Finding out why the Divine Couple of the Universe/Above, worked for over 14
billion years to build Below, the Malkuth World of Physical Mater, which is a
Divine Image called Hu (Chinese for God ) Man (Hindu word-Manas: meaning- mind) i.e. YOU as Holy Spirit,
will help establish Spirit body Union and the axiom "Above all things
know thyself!". A lot of Divine work went into the making of You, and a
lot of man-made history has been devoted to the Pavlovian process of
demeaning your physical self so that you could be ruled by those who can't rule
themselves; slaves are but profit to the "money counters". Something to ponder, as your self
value flounders around in debt-slavery, trying to make "ends meet", completely unable to see the Value that The Divine Creative has created you as. Unless you "know thyself",it is futile for
you try to understand the mystery of the "Holy Spirit". One Clue for
understanding, is that All Being is of The One Spirit, and if you don't
have a Human-Spirit Body---you aren't whole Spirit! One can only be "Wholly Spirit" if one has all the Being of the Entire Spiritual Tree of Life, made Manifest!
The Jungian Tarot of Robert Wang, depicts the Grandfather as pathfinder and/or teacher archetype.
Illustrated is the original staff of Moses, linked by lightning; electric-Male Force beingthe ancient symbol for the Grandfather Gods, such as Zeus, Odin, etc.
Robert Wang, who is also the artist of these cards, shows the "burning wand" of Logos interaction, and the lantern of the Path finder. Hence, the axiom of "follow your inner light".
Here the Hermit is leading us out of the inner desert of despair that divides the Unconscious and consciousness, a terrible psychic pilgrimage aptly described by "St. John of the Cross" as the "Dark night of the Soul".
Rather than being a Teacher of Law, as the Hierophant, or the Protector of Souls as the Golden Warrior of the Chariot, the Hermit is the wise teacher and guide of Souls; in Toto, they are the Emperor.
Hence, the Hermit is the wise old man archetype of the folk tales, and the Merlin of Arthurian legend. This archetype is a comforting guide, encourages us onward even when we see only futility, who helps us up after we occasionally fall, forgives us our transgressions and most of all, knows what we don't.
The black and white six pointed star, is the Hermetic Symbol used to symbolize the Divine Feminine/Masculine union. Which is also the "light and Shadow" depiction of the union of opposites.
What one may not see, is that the Hermit has also an evil Sorcerer shadow side, whose archetype is that of the Sorcerer of the Rocks. In his shadow state, he delights in leading us astray and into danger. Sounds horrible, maybe even terrifying. However, if the student gets so lost in the darkness of self absorption, where eyes can only see their pain. Severity is necessary as a corrective.
To stop walking the path of self absorbed misery, we must often suffer a "broken leg", and while we pause to heal, we may be able to see the "light", and begin following our Soul guide again. Hence, the need for the Shadowy evil Sorcerer aspect. Which is also depicted as the red Geburah (severity) robe on the Thoth Hermit, for often severe outer situations must happen to those locked in inner turmoil.
When the Hermit card is thrown during a reading, it implies:
- That knowledge is needed, meditation and prayer are to be used to hear the inner self.
- A deep desire to follow that which is meaningful and/or heartfelt to you.
- Time to gather enough data and information in order to sort things out.
- Introspection which may require you to withdraw from others or the usual environment in order to gain the perspectives needed.
- A stage in life where Wisdom is sought.
- This is a great card for skrying, as it is of the Inner Wisdom that we so much need to KNOW OURSELVES!
- That knowledge is needed in the querent's life and having the need to listen closely to the "master within.
- Contemplation, introspection by means of meditation or skrying, is a method of achieving such a goal of inner wisdom.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!