The Hermit is solitary figure who has retreated inward to go on an inner journey, reach a new spiritual level. She shines her light for others, from the heart. She doesn’t teach a lesson to others, she is the lesson.
I did today’s sketch on an iPad app called Paper which I absolutely LOVE. You get to create tiny little moleskine like sketch books and fill them with notes, drawing, whatever you like.
The light comes from the heart
Neil Ansell spent five years living alone in the hills of Wales totally and completely alone.
‘I lived alone in this cottage for five years, summer and winter, with no transport, no phone. This is the story of those five years, where I lived and how I lived. It is the story of what it means to live in a place so remote that you may not see another soul for weeks on end. And it is the story of the hidden places that I came to call my own, and the wild creatures that became my society.’
This is the story of how he journeyed into himself learned to become completely self-sufficient and self reliant and having done so found that rather than uncovering his one true inner voice he began to forget himself. His focus turned wholly outward rather than inward. His journal shifted from a record of all the things he’d seen and done to something more akin to an almanac – the passing of the seasons marked by the comings and goings of birds etc.
Perhaps this is the greatest lesson of The Hermit. Sometimes solitude is needed to move forward. Sometimes an inward journey is necessary to find wisdom, to heal, to find your truth. This will give you a certain peace, self sufficiency, an awareness of your place in nature, but the eventual end may be the annihilation of the self. Is that your path? Or do you have more to give by coming down from the mountain and living your life in accordance with the things you’ve learned? The Hermit carries a lantern which shines outward for others. He emerges from his solitude a guide and a teacher – an example to follow.
I’ve just ordered the book from Amazon so haven’t read it yet, but you can read more here from The Guardian.
How does The Hermit turn up in your life? How are you with being on your own?
Shine your light
Today’s card exploring what gifts/lessons I’ve received from tough times is The Hermit. I’ve always loved this card and identified with the solitary figure, shining his lantern for others. It’s not for himself, his gaze is averted. This card speaks of solitude and this is something that resonates strongly with me. I’ve learned over recent years to be comfortable with my own company.
Last summer I did a long-distance trek across Scotland for a week, just me, a large rucksack and my dog. The most common question I received from people was, ‘Didn’t you get lonely?’ No. Not at all. Not even for a second.
The Hermit, number 9 of the trumps, also speaks of coming to an end of the first phase of the Fool’s Journey – the end of a period of change. The Hermit doesn’t just have lessons to teach, he is the lesson. It reflects the need to withdraw from the company of others in order to journey inward and to really know yourself.
Retreat and solitude are sometimes necessary for growth. This gives me hope because I’ve spent long periods of time in solitude and am ready to emerge from my cocoon.