Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 9: THE HERMIT & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 9: THE HERMIT/ EL ERMITANO
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 9: THE HERMIT & The Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 9: THE HERMIT/ EL ERMITANO

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth Tarot-, key 9, The Hermit: is attributed to the  Hebrew letter Yod, meaning, hand and it is this excellent hand of creativity that is the center of this illustration.
The Hebrew letter Yod(bottom left of card) is the foundation of all other Hebrew letters, which are combinations of Yod in various ways.

Being the first letter of Tetragrammaton, "The Secret Name of God" (YHVH), Yod represents the The Father who is Wisdom (Chokma); he is the Highest form of Mercury, represented in Tarot as The Magus and the Co-Creator of all worlds. Co-Creator, because the Logos is  a masculine "Will to Force" and must join with "Will to Form", Binah /understanding. 
Therefore the physical symbol for him is the Spermatozoon where One Alone fertilizes the egg. Thus in the Thoth Deck Hermit card we have the symbol of the Spermatozoon, and the Orphic egg (the Universe or "Egg of Akasha") encompassed by a many colored serpent that represents the iridescence of Mercury and the Caduceus-staff of Mercury, as shown on the Barbara Walker Tarot-Key 9- The Hermit.

On The Thoth Tarot card, the Hermit is arranged in the form of Yod carrying a blazing lantern, whose central sigil is in the likeness of the Great King of Fire (Yod is the secret fire) and is the Sun itself. He wears the colored cloak of  Mother Binah/Understanding, in whom he gestates.

On the Barbara Walker Tarot Hermit card, he is shown dressed in the gray colors of Chokmah (the 2nd Sephiroth-Wisdom), while holding forth the blazing lantern.

By realizing this symbolic card, we know that the Hermit is both creative and is the  fluid essence of Light, i.e. the Life Force of the Universe. On the Thoth card, his fertility is shown by the back ground of wheat sheaves. On Barbara Walker's card, he holds the Red Phallic Wand of the Fiery Father, wrapped in the twin serpents of Will to Force (masculine aspect of energy) and Will to Form (feminine aspect of energy).

The Hermit card is attributed to the sign of Virgo, which is the most receptive form of feminine earth and reinforces the concept of fertility. Yet again, is this theme of receptive- fertility repeated as zodiacal Mercury rules Virgo, and exalted therein.

As Psychopompos (Psychopomp), Mercury as The Hermit, is here shown as the guide of the Soul through the lower regions. His serpent wand that is growing out of the Abyss reinforces this image of guiding light.  Following him, on the Thoth Card, is Cerberus the Three Headed Hound of Hell (I-AM-ME) who is tamed by his presence.

There is a reason the Trump, Keys, are called the Major Arcana, (major secrets) as yet another Thoth Deck Card, Key 9, The Hermit, show us a pictorial representation of the entire mystery of Life in its most secret workings. We are looking at the "First Fertile ejaculation of  Spiral-Solar energy as visible Light" in the dark energy universe.

The mysterious formula of the Hermit is known in the Hermetic Qabalah as: Yod=Phallus=Spermatozoon=Hand=Logos=Virgin. To help in understanding of the extremes of both the manifestation and The Method, we must realize that the Dark matter of Space is impregnated by the Solar microwave ejaculation of "visible light" but it is a type of self- gratification, as the Hermit exist "Within" the Dark Mother and not outside of Her, just as the consciousness exists inside the dark unconscious. 
To some this is more confusing than to others, so by contemplating the image of the Sun in dark space, we may gain some insight. Obviously much study outside of indoctrination is require to understand the Major Arcana.


The beauty of the Tarot Trump, is that they require a deep inner contemplation to begin understanding the flow of Force and Form in the 99.6% invisible Self (only.4% visible light). For instance, Yod  means Hand  which is humankind's most creative tool, when linked to imagination, the most creative Mind. The open hand  represents the primal beginnings of manifestation since before anything can be built by human beings the hand must be open to grasp the tools necessary to begin.

In the both the Barbara Walker Tarot and the Thoth illustration, we can see the Hermit has grasped the Light. Thus the Hermit represents the Hand of God. This is emphasized in the Barbara Walker Tarot Hermit, for the lantern is in his right hand (right-hand path of the Father). This lantern is in the left hand of the Thoth-Hermit, emphasizing the Electric-Father union with the Magnetic Mother, creating the light radii of the sun-lantern. Hence, before anything is created by the Divine Creative or humankind, one must have the idea and then the conception/understanding of a thing, that peculates out of the vast sea of consciousness know in Qabalah as Binah (In Her Scarlett Womb-man phase) who is represented by the Red Robes of the Hermit. The hand of God is a title also know to be that of Moses, dressed in the Red-White-black robe colors of the Great Mother, who led his people out of the desert into the promised land, a metaphor for idea being led out of the dark Unconscious Sea, into the light of conscious- reason.

In the Hermetic Qabalah the esoteric meaning of the Hermit card seems to suggest that we need to first withdraw from the extremes of society and practice asceticism as an advance towards perfection. In fact, the very word Hermit is derived from the Greek word for Desert. Here the word desert (έρημο) suggests a crystallization of idea out of Binah's (Mother God) vast Ocean, a kind of island in a wine-dark sea, by one lone traveler. But these explanations are as dry as the desert and need more intimacy to internalize them, therefore The Child,microcosm, must receive them from the ParentMacrocosm.

So no matter how the Hermit is described, it is a communion of Spirit, Mind and Body, a preeminent union of Fiery Father Force from Kether (the Crown) with magnetic Mother Binah, then communicated to the Child through the messenger Mercury as the Hermit.  When The Waters of the Universal Collective Unconscious are disturbed by "Will to Force" into waves of the electromagnetic spectrum and the birthing of Form as Beauty, the "weaving of sine waves" into a Harmonic called- Tiphareth- the Christ-Buddha  Sun/Son -center of consciousness, from the first point of awareness by the  the Supreme Spiritual Self, can only be explained in the most erotic imagery; usually an erotic dance of Creator and Creatrex. 

Yod itself, represents the mechanism of Phallic force that ejaculates its fiery vibration of "Will to Force", into the Vast Wine Dark- Red Sea of Binah that represents the Primal Womb of conception of all Form.That fiery vibration is often called the Word of God (Greek term: Logos), which in biblical tales, was spoken to Moses via a burning bush. Here the word of God is not issued directly, but comes through Moses as an intermediary, which is the function of the Logos as Mercury, so Moses may be considered the tool of God or to more explicit, the Hermit is the  Phallus of the Logos which carries it's communication of Logoic vibration called the "I" (vibration/identity) into the vast Dark Red inner Womb/Ocean of Binah, forming the "I AM" who then passes on to the Child (ME) born of understanding, via Mercury,  the Identity of I AM as existence.
The spermatozoa is shown on the Thoth Hermit card, next to the light of the Lantern that is held by the Hermit, suggesting this very interpretation.

Also in the light of the Hermits Phallus-Solar-Lantern, is the three headed dog guardian of the Gates of Hell,  a Greek symbol known as Cerberus, who in this card is tamed by the Hermit and can be compared to the Passions of I AM ME, tamed by the Hermit that if are untamed can become a chaos of Hell run by the animal survival mind of the body. The one Head of Cerberus looking back, is representative of keeping past memory while the two heads forward, suggest a Union that is progressive. 

The mysteries of Life are truly shown in the Hermit as we have Yod=Phallus=Spermatozoon=Hand=Virgin (Astrological sign Virgo). The Virgin conceptual meaning of ever-pure and totally innocent. The Hermit card is also considered the Bridge between the gab of Macrocosm  (Macroprosopus) and Microcosm (Microprosopus) which simply means between the Invisible and Visible cosmos. This Bridge between the seen and unseen can also be called the Human Body, who is itself, in a vast desert of its own reality while floating in the Great Sea of Conscious energy known as the Universal Collective Unconscious.  This is because we imagine who we are, and then imagine who "other" is by transferring that identity to all that we view. In Reality, no one is really there but your own self-conceptions! We never are made to think or feel  by "another", our body is a conscious Hermit in our Unconscious and feels only what we think we feel. Hence, one cannot feel another person's  thought! One may react to their thought, but that is one thinking about the meaning of their Words and reacting to one's own thought; therefore, not  a truth, not a real, just a self-centered perception of ourselves! If we fear (fear failure, fear inferiority, fear ability etc) more than love ourselves, we are living in Hell! Know this self-love must be virginal, pure and innocent without narcissism which is a superiority complex; another domain of Hell.

Therefore the Hermit cards suggests that to manifest in your purity of bright,warm, intelligence, a Christos, or Buddha-Self, you must have intercourse with the Vast Dark Sea of Binah, the Mother of all Form and the Fiery Passion of the Father and know you are The Beautiful Child of Goddess-God (The Divine Creative).  When your "I"'s (identity of three- I AM Me-the three heads of Cerberus), you'll recognize your Beauty in others, as your eyes ("I"s) are now enlightened by the Inner Love that created you.
 Hence, from the deep solitude of inner contemplation, we learn that there are no "others" just "anothers" as all that we see is "another way to be me". When we are isolated in our own visions and demanding that everyone else worship them as we do, is to create Hell. 

It's best to understand that "only to thine own self " can we be true. So is best to treat others as you wish to be treated and enjoy the different perspectives of Self as fascinating experiments in Self-Awareness.  As the Hermit card suggests, you can only achieve this bliss, by traveling the solitary inner desert of the ascetic and learning the comfort and peace of your own Inner core of Self. When I AM comfortable with Me, I find that I Am equally comfortable with You! So once again, we must know ourselves, for in truth, we can only see ourselves projected as a reflection in the Mirror of Binah's Vast wine dark Sea of unconsciousness. Therefore, we are transmitting our reality upon another, as if we created them. The Hermit can only "See itself" in the vast desert of mind and it helps to carry the Light of Love---to see where you are going---Heaven or Hell, they are both a journey in self-conscious perceptions/projections.

The Path of Yod on the Tree of Life, the shape of which the Thoth figure is posed  on the Hermit card,enervates to  keep the world in order, a stimulus that could be described as a fertilization. Thus, the world on both the Thoth and Barbara Walker Card, is shown as barren but with potential, as the Hermit begins his "vibratory Walk' upon it. 
 Again, Yod is linked with the First Sephiroth Kether [The Crown] the Highest Point of the Logos, i.e. the Primary energy from which manifestation derives and/or The One Energy that can not be created nor destroyed, only transformed.

The lantern represents the Sixth Sephiroth-Tiphareth (Beauty), and makes a metaphysical statement about the Harmonic nature of Light. Most of us know that everything is made of Stars and of the Light of Stars. Light, being composed of sub-atomic particles, is the principle of manifestation, or energy on which all Creation is built. Hence, The Hermit's lantern represents "His own Sun" or the Core Sun that all Selves come from. The Fertilizing Light, that makes the barren fruitful. The Hermit represents a glyph on the nature of primal manifestation beneath the Abyss. He is an representation of the relationship between Light and the Sacred Fire symbolized by Yod.

To those who are on a mundane journey where a better credit score is the ultimate quest, this card has mundane meanings in  a reading, but as a meditation device, skyring this card will aid in understanding the God Trinity of THE HERMIT -YOD, THE EMPEROR-HEH, AND THE HIEROPHANT-VAU. There is a clue to a deeper understanding in the placement of the letters, Yod, Heh, Vau, on the Tree of Life, as the letters work together as a trinity from Chesed (Mercy) to Tiphareth (Beauty) to Chokmah (Wisdom) and back to Chesed. Many rewards come to those who research and study.
As stated:
THE Thoth Tarot-HERMIT-key 9; connects Tiphareth (6th Sephiroth called: Beauty) and Chesed ( 4th Sephiroth called:  Mercy). In other words, the Path of Yod connects the Christ-Buddha intelligence to the Architect of Manifestation,  Chesed/Mercy. The Hermit therefore represents the self sustaining point of primal beginnings in the Universe. It is the coming of the Light of manifestation through the Microcosm; the manifested Universe in direct contact with the Source of All.

Therefore the Hermit- Path of Yod, is from the Demiurge out of darkness and is known as the Intelligence of Will. The Hebrew letter Yod, means Hand and according to the text Sepher Yetzirah, Yod is a simple letter that is attributed to sexual love. (Needless to say, sexual love and hands do go rather well together, especially when one realizes that The Divine Creative is a result of a marriage between "Will to Force" and "Will to Form").
Even the letter Yod is phallic in shape and is considered the Male-Fire which rushes out toward the Female-Water.

These meanings may seem curious at first, since the sign of Virgo (the Virgin) is attributed to this Path, giving us the understanding that the Hermit is to be ever-virgin, pure and totally innocent. Reminds me of the Christ as the "Light of the World".

The same intelligent energy suggested by the FOOL card, also expressed the HERMIT, as  the wise old age of the Child (Daäth- which means Knowledge and is the Womb of the High Priestess) and The Virgin Mother (High Priestess) beginning of a new sequence; from Macrocosm to Microcosm. Here the Psyche is seen as the purity and innocence of the Fool that is transformed by its "passing through" the Ocean of Binah. In other words, the purity of idea, transformed into form by the Understanding of Binah, the Mother of Consciousness.

When we look at the HERMIT card, we see an Old Man, and nothing of the Child,yet they are one and the same. This concept maybe best understood by meditating on the image of the Serpent that eats it's own tail and or the "lazy 8",(lemniscate) which is a representation of the Mobius loop. Hereis represented the concept of One who becomes Two, as a circle twisting upon itself. Where the lines in the twist cross, is a "point in time", a Self-Image, and a virgin birth, since there really is only one making itself two, by "reflecting upon itself".

THE HERMIT  also represents communication between the Higher Self of Tiphareth, and the Spiritual Self of Kether, i.e. the Rauch and the Yechidah as they are know to Qabalists.

The Hermit therefore, is called the first of the three great initiatory cards, LUST, and THE CHARIOT being the other two. However, the experiences of  all three of these initiatory Paths may be gained on the Path of the High Priestess (middle pillar), the one that goes straight up from Tiphareth to Kether, crossing the Abyss and its devastating isolation while the instate experiences  Divine reconciliation through isolation .

Of the Hermit, the Qabalistic Tarot and Gnostic descriptions are many, but it must be remembered that this Key-9 Card is primarily about union, representing the first point of awareness of the Higher Self from the Supreme Spiritual Self, a union that is often explained in the most erotic of imagery as it is a copulation of Identity; an action from which the Microcosm is born.

On the Tree of Life, Tiphareth is the Objective Solar Logos, the center of objective energy produced by the Sephiroth- Chesed (Demiurge) as a direct link of the lower to the higher/subjective. Since Paths are subjective, the Path of Yod, the subjective link of understanding, is on the Hermit. Simply because if we are to understand the Transitional Energy, from Demiurge to Logos, we must Travel the Path of the Hermit, rising above Tiphareth toward Chesed, in order to subjectively view the Logos center!

In both Hebrew and Greek Metaphysics, Logos means 'Word", depicting vibration Power. The Greek scholar, Heraclitus , described the Logos as a "spermatic; a Divine Fire which stimulated and maintained order.The

The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself.
-Michel de Montaigne, Of Solitude

The Hermit also card represents the Universal Principle of completion, contemplation, and introspection. 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 looking behind) 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 (The Red Goddess), 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, here we can "Remember our Divinity".

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 forms.

.Correspondences: 9-The Hermit & 1-The Magus.
The association of these cards with Astrology is in the sign Virgo and Planet Mercury. Correspondences aid in understanding the Tarot.

In astrology Mercury rules both Gemini and Virgo and in Tarot Mercury corresponds to both the Lovers and the Hermit.

The astrological form of the Hermit is I learn and the astrological motion of the Magus (magician in some tarot decks) is I seek myself through what I serve.

The corresponding Rune-stones are: Hermit-Jera, the harvest rune-stone, beneficial outcomes, and the span of one year.  Also, the Magus-Algiz, the rune of protection, the spiritual warrior, the one whose battle is with himself.

The associated primary colors Yellow-Green, Secondary colors lime-green. This correspondence of the Hermit and the Magus is also associated with the Third Chakra (solar plexus or Navel chakra) which governs will power, wishes, metabolism, humor, wisdom, ego, reactions, ideas, intellectual analysis, and fear of rejection. The Third Chakra is the receptor for the spiral energy of the intellect.

The stones/minerals associated with this correspondence are: Peridot, moldavite, jade, jadeite, aventurine, green kunzite, green containing tourmalines of uvite, feridavite, verdelite, watermelon-yellow green fluorites and chalcedony.

Musical notes for the Hermit-F and for the Magus-E.
Letters of the Qaballah are: Hermit-Simple letter- Sexual Love (English translation) The Hermits Path is : Yod , The Intelligence of Will. The symbol of meaning is : Hand.

Qaballistic letter for the Magus; Double letter- Life-Death and the Path is: Beth, the Intelligence of Transparency. Symbolic meaning-House.

The plant essences: The Hermit- Sage, wintergreen, and caraway. The Magician- Dill, lemongrass, sorax or Benzoin.

The psychic energy involved in the correspondence of the Hermit and the Magus, is associated with meditation and the ability to surrender the conscious mind to the super-conscious (self to Greater Self) which unlocks exploration and knowledge of the whole self for the expansion and liberation of the personality from self-imposed limits of knowledge and understanding. In other words, the key to "Holy Spirit".

To be an excellent reader of Tarot-a Tarot Seer- we must remember that the conscious mind learns only by association. From letters, to word, to idea, all of which is an association in the subconscious mind. A correspondence that has taken effort and years to the point of automatically producing associations with out any conscious effort. 

The conscious mind functions solely through associations/correspondences in everything it learns, and thinks. Sharing common associations produces success in communication which is why we have a "school system". This is ability to see correspondence also aids the Tarot Seer in communicating messages from the Invisible (Divine) to the querent (asker of questions) so that clarity in communication is served. Messages from the Divine are in energetic form and must be given image to be understood by the process of association. To someone who is not a Qaballist, this all may seem "deep" which communicates too much effort to some, but to the diligent seer---deep is where we reside.
The Barbara Walker Tarot- Key 9: THE HERMIT:
concentrates on the Hermit as Psychopomp and/or "soul guide".
Greek Orphics  taught that  a wise man must contemplate and confront the concept of his own death and meet the spirits that would takes his soul on its epic journey.
From the Greeks "little Hermes", came the word, Hermit. Hermes was considered the one who conduct men's souls to their proper resting place.
By being properly taught, and meditating on the right Mysteries, one would become like god himself, and would be welcomed by Persephone (a form of Binah) "to the seats of the Hallowed".
The reasoning behind showing the Hermit as always beginning a journey, usually in the opposite direction to The Fool, while carrying a staff or Hermetic Caduceus, is because he was often lead by the Hermetic Serpent, i.e. life force or force of fertility.  
The number 9, is the crucial number of the Muses, who gave inspiration. Therefore, the Hermit is poised to enter into the second, Lunar sphere, carrying his own conscious light, into the dark inner world of the Unconscious and mystical.
Renown psychologist Carl Jung, note that there may be sound psychological reasons for such isolated introspection. It "results as a rule in the animation of the psychic atmosphere, as a subsitute for loss of contact with other people. It causes an activation of the Unconscious."

The phallic imagery of the Staff, has its inheritance in the Greek Mystics or "hermits" of Hermes, who practiced ritual masturbation, which Hermes invented, as another means of self contemplation of the god within the self. This was practiced in India as well, as many autoerotic practices were attributed to Krishna, the god of self-love. One will find that among Orientals and Pagans, autoerotic practices were thought to purify the body.
Often the sage's autoeroticism was thought to simulate ones union with the spirit-wife or Shakti; a sexual union with his own soul or with his Goddess (The Secret Inner Lover).  Commonly it was believed that the sage's celibate life, was that after he had tasted the love of the Goddess, he was forever unable to enjoy the favors of ordinary women.  Again, there is no way to ignore the sexual connotations of the Hermit card.

When the Hermit Card is thrown during a reading:

  • 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 is a method of achieving such a goal of inner wisdom.
  • It is about the principle of  introspection, completion and space.
  • This is representative of the deeper marriage of the Divine within ourselves, and is often a message that more knowledge is needed.
  • This is definitely a "above all things, know thyself' message.
  • The Hermit represents the inward search to find personal truth, where despair, isolation, as well as, accomplishments and gains, must be accepted.
  • Also, Personal Integrity, The I AM Me, which is always be true to you.
  • The querent is or will be soon experiencing wisdom long sought and obtained from Above (enlightenment from the Inner Self). In other words, Divine inspiration.
  • Also there is a suggestion of knowledge needed by the querent  who must listen closely to the Inner Self in order to obtain it.
  • We have here the Principle of  introspection, of completion and Space/Time.
  • The querent themselves, may be experiencing the up-welling of the inner mediator, sage, philosopher, and/or wise man, within, and thus manifesting them in their life.
  • There is also a suggestion of detaching from others, so that one may gather data and  information in order to figure things out.
  • The querent may be experiencing the need to analyze, or understand their role in life, or in relationships be they, in a group setting such as job, or family or even in a spiritual group, etc.
  • This is a card of attainment rather than a journey or quest as The Hermit shows us that we must have the strength to lose our man made outer self (our-self- of man-made definitions) before we can find the Divine Self within.
  • This card is hard to ill define...since even "being Lost" and alone in our feelings, is the beginning of "seeing the light". For being lost and alone in yourself, means you know that you "don't know who you are", which is the beginning of "letting go and letting God' reclaim your identity as " another way to be Me".

Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!

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