Let Your Dim Light Shine

A wonderfully bookish Hermit by Dave Palumbo; the Sibylline Hermit from the Vanessa Tarot by Lynyrd Narciso; the Shaman/Will from the Elemental Tarot by Caroline Smith.

This post suffers from a severe lack of focus. Needs more Magician! Too bad he’s away at a “conference”, which I strongly suspect is hyperbole for “playing ‘Guitar Hero’ and drinking Red Bull in a friend’s basement for three days straight.” Fucker. He’ll be back, large black sunglasses and all, and we’ll watch ‘Supernatural’ re-runs and he’ll pretend he’s Dean and I’ll humour him and I’ll drink too much wine and then he’ll look at me in _that way_… It’s always the same.

See? Fo.cus. Lack thereof.

The most recent Tarot Writing Prompt at Cat ‘n’ Owl is on filling in for the Hermit on his sick day. Irini asked what light source we would use, if we were called to do the job. While pondering the merits of my Hello Kitty lantern versus glow-in-the-dark nail polish (there is nothing like being woken up at 2am by your own nails AARGH!), I realised that I have been neglectful in examining/reflecting on the Hermit.

This is probably because I identify so strongly with the archetype that it doesn’t seem to need closer inspection. I’d love to pretend I’m the High Priestess, all mysterious and enigmatic and sexily feminine, but that deluded I am not. Despite all the air and water rushing around my system, there’s enough earth in there to pull me down firmly into cave-bound Hermitdom (mmmm, goats ) It’s not even just about personality – I am very much a Hermit by nature as well. If I could wall myself up in a library for the rest of my life, that would be just swell. Hermit and Hierophant sat.is.fied.

Not a huge surprise then that 9 figures prominently in my numerology. As my Destiny number, it:

sheds light

      (HA HA HA!)

“on those things you must accomplish in your life to be fulfilled.

[My] destiny is to learn how to love all of mankind without condition. You do truly want “peace on earth and good will toward man;” and will work to make those conditions a reality. Whether through some art form or your touch, you are destined to heal those who come into contact with you. For you, life’s horizon is limitless. ”

It also just so happens that this month is a 9 Personal Month for me – Ha! – a month in which I should “clean up loose ends, let go of the past and prepare yourself for the future. “ DONE! And I have my Reiki class next weekend to cover the whole healing-through-touch-peace-and-goodwill thing. Even more telling is that my Karmic Debt numbers – 14 and 16 – point to abuses of Freedom and Love. My Life Path (5) = Freedom and my Destiny (9) = Love. I don’t know how this shit works, but it’s really, really cool when it does.

So, how else can I clutch at straws and bundle them together in a back-breaking 10 of Wands burden of personal significance? The Hermit is the cross sum of the Moon (1+8=9). My Moon is in Virgo! Virgo who rules… the Hermit. Where else do I have Virgo in my chart? In the ninth house. And Virgo is ruled by Mercury, which also rules Gemini, which is very strong in my natal chart. Double-whammy. I don’t know enough about astrology to interpret (ie. bend & stretch to suit my needs) my chart any further than that, but the numbers are there.

And I always seem to get the Hermit confused or blended with the Hierophant. I’m trying to figure out where and why this is happening. They are related, right? Sort of an inside-outside pair. Or is the Hermit the place where the previous 8 cards naturally end up when their day jobs wear them out (including Justice here)? Probably the most important light bulb (heh.) moment I’ve had with the Hermit is from Thirteen’s observation that:

“One of the important things about this card is that the Hermit is always shown on the move. He’s never locked away in his reclusive cell, he’s always out wandering, searching.”

Damn. She’s right! While some interpretations of the card do show the Hermit secluded in a cave or library (still gets my vote), the original shows him on the mountaintop, outside. It gets even more interesting when you trace the image back to its origin in a painting by William Holman Hunt titled “The Light of the World”, which inevitably – at least for me and my spiderweb search method – leads to Led Zeppelin IV and wee Magician, Jimmy Page. And Led Zeppelin IV is directly related to events and ties from half a lifetime ago; things which I seem to have freed myself from with relative ease. I Willed it and it was so.

I question my symptoms, which began at a very early age, long before life had a chance to work its magic on me. Is it normal for a 5-year-old to be depressed? I know which traumatic event sparked it off, but was it simply a catalyst for a condition, or the creaking open of a doorway? 5… 15… 19… 21… 30…

And the imagery each time I have a breakdown is consistent; it’s always the same pictures I get; the same place I am drawn to and the frustration I feel at not being able to reach that place is maddening! I know I’m supposed to be there! It’s so clear… all emerald green and cool grass and rolling hills for days… Swaziland in Summer and parts of the lowveld in early Autumn are the closest I’ve ever come to matching the visualisation in my head. Is it a pretty escapist construction of my differently-constructed psyche, or something more?

So I keep going in, in, in; spiraling towards the centre of the labyrinth. There is no one to teach me, no one to guide me and after all, it always comes down to you, alone, in the end. No one else can live your life or make your truth. The Hermit knows that. I’m surprised more decks don’t show the Hermit with a mirror; it would be as accurate a portrayal of the archetype as any.

Reflections Hermit

IX The Hermit – Tarot of Reflections


9 thoughts on “Let Your Dim Light Shine

    • submerina says:

      My sincere apologies ;) That’s the epic lack of focus coming into play. When the Magician gets back, I shall send him your way for a suitable berating!


  1. Kafka's Ghost says:

    *gasp* IX Hermit as mirror. wooooahhhh. I really like that. And what’s amazing is that you would still see the light in the mirror, reflecting errvrywhere, shining here, shining there. Like 10 glow in the dark fingernails pointing in 10 different directions. Which to choose? One would almost have to explore them all. But IX Hermit has time. You continue to have my admiration.


    • submerina says:

      Ooh ooh ooh! You’re onto something: the Hermit used to be Chronos (http://www.tarot.com/about-tarot/library/boneill/hermit)! Maaaaybe, the Hermit can be a sign to slow down, internally. To realise that _there is time_. Thinking here very specifically of my personality (and I think yours, if I’m not mistaken) and the need to do everything and do it _right now_ because there’s always something more (10 fingernails) and and and…

      Aaaah. Karmic lessons revealed.

      And, gracias. I am amazed you managed to get anything out of that giant ramble :D


      • Kafka's Ghost says:

        Aha, Father Time. Wasn’t his lantern mistakenly formed out of an hour-glass? Think of all the uses of time: healing, meditation, experience, wisdom. Brilliant! It’s time for some chocolate cake!


  2. Helen says:

    “to I keep going in, in, in; spiraling towards the centre of the labyrinth. There is no one to teach me, no one to guide me and after all, it always comes down to you, alone, in the end. No one else can live your life or make your truth. The Hermit knows that.”

    How does the Hermit know that? He knows it because he slows down and he is prepared to look into those dark corners, after all he does have the lantern, in order to verify if what he thinks is there, is really there at all.

    That Hermit may look as though he is doing nothing much at all, but within him lurks a restfulness, is that what you feel? and so the urge to make sense of one’s life in general is born – and so you make a start by holding up that lantern and looking into those dark corners in order to see if what you think you know is really what you know at all – this is the insight the Hermit can gain and use in his everyday life.

    Really enjoyed your “ramblings” here! Prompted me to think about the Hermit a bit too.

    Now I think I’ll just go and see if I can find him – which cave was it again? :D


    • submerina says:

      Thank you! I know you’ll have interesting observations of your own… once you find the secret cave hideout ;)

      Born restless; relentlessly restless. I think there’s nomadic blood in my genes… And I’ve been shining the lantern every which way but the right way: inside. Truly inside.


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