The Hermit Tarot Card Meaning
Keywords: Solitude – Seeking – Pilgrimage
The Hermit stands alone on a mountain top or, in some cards, in a gray desert. He holds a small lantern to illuminate the night around him. He illuminates the path ahead of him for himself and possibly another seeker. Inside of the lantern is a six-pointed Star of Solomon symbolizing wisdom. The Hermit represents the archetype of the old-wise man in a cave. A mysterious guru in pursuit of spiritual knowledge while hiding away from a materialistic society. He is self-sufficient. A staff to lean on his all he needs on his journey. In some tarot decks, a snake is wrapped around his staff symbolizing the healing staff of Asclepius of Greek myth.
The Hermit represents wisdom found through quiet reflection. Look to yourself to find the answer.
Upright Meanings for the Hermit Tarot Card
The Hermit card often represents a quest to find your own truth on your own terms. There’s an underlying discomfort you’re feeling with the solutions you’ve been presented with. This is especially true when you’re feeling discontentment with the answers society is giving you. Whatever the reasons for these conflicting thoughts, the solution is clear: look to yourself for the answer.
The Hermit card indicates that you may need to step out of a situation or environment to get the perspective needed to see it clearly. Don’t rush yourself into making a decision. Take the time to think things through. Don’t completely rely on the opinions of others right now. The right course of action is up to you, and you alone. Carve out quiet time, like a solo vacation, sitting in nature, or a brisk walk, to allow the answer to unfold.
Similarly, this card can indicate a need for, or state of, solitude. You may already be indulging in some hermit-like behaviors. And, this might be the best course of action right now! There are times in your life where you need to take a step back to reflect, understand, and heal. There’s no shame in putting up some boundaries around your personal time. Being comfortable by yourself gives you time to tune into your true inner voice and intuition. In the reversals section, we’ll talk more about the negative aspects of isolation.
Make time for yourself to engage in introspective activities like journaling, gardening, walking, sitting in nature, and meditation. In this context, The Hermit is urging you to explore self-reflection and delve deeper into your personal spiritual studies.
Underlying all these elements of seeking and solitude is a feeling of pilgrimage. I’m always excited when this card appears for a querrent. It signals that you’ve reached a powerful moment on your journey. This is the time where you can begin to assess all your experiences and beliefs (both the ones you personally hold and the ones society projects onto you). It’s time to synthesize all these elements into your own path. So much of our interactions with each other are projections of our own desires and fears. Case in point, imagine telling your family and friends that you’re making a career change. You will get a wide variety of feedback -some encouraging and some outright negative. At the end of the day, with all the competing and contradictory voices out there, it’s your life to live. You are on an individual path that others may not always understand. The Hermit encourages you to find and follow your own truth.
Love and Relationships
You know how after a relationship ends, the common advice is to take time to work on yourself? That’s the Hermit card in action. Relationships represented by this card need breathing room. This can sometimes be preceded by conflict or stagnating a relationship. In that case, ask yourself whether you should give yourself space or whether the relationship would be strengthened by more quiet time together? For example, if you’re married with kids, take a vacation with just you and your partner. If that’s not possible, steal away time for a low-key date night. Find quiet, peaceful moments where you can engage in calm, heartfelt communication.
Of course, this card can also indicate a healthy relationship between two highly introverted individuals. Problems can come up if one of the individuals has difficulty connecting to the other. But, if both parties are satisfied with each other’s need for independence and space, it’s by no means a negative indicator card. It’s position in a spread and surrounding cards can give you more insights on how this is affecting the relationship.
If you’re looking for a relationship, the Hermit is a sign that you might not be there quite yet. Taking a break is the best course of action right now. It’s a call to continue to examine your past dynamics within relationships. There’s still a revelation waiting to be discovered. Be comfortable with yourself without needing to be in a relationship. In a lot of ways, it’s an anti-rebound relationship card! Without giving yourself time, space, and self-reflection, you’re doomed to continue to repeat patterns of behavior that aren’t serving you.
Career and Work
The Hermit card typically represents work or workplaces that are quiet and involve a lot of solitude. An introvert’s dream job! It can point to work that involve a lot of independence, researching, and self-direction. This is usually a good thing. It suggests that management takes a hands-off approach. Depending on your expectations, you could feel adrift without direction or guiding feedback. This card can appear in jobs that require you to develop your own systems to implement.
Careers and jobs represented by the Hermit card are often tied to truth-seeking and knowledge. This can represent investigators, journalists, librarians, bookkeepers, and spiritual teachers. It can also represent work on a personal or solo project.
People and Personalities
This is a card of introverts, old souls, and mentors. Individuals represented by the Hermit card are often pragmatic, analytical, and quiet. They aren’t driven by a need to impress anyone. But if the frankness is tinged with negativity, it could come across as off-putting to some. People represented by this card feel like old souls. They’re great listeners and advisors.
The Hermit card can represent Virgos (born approximately August 23rd to September 22nd). Along with that Virgo energy, comes a little bit of perfectionism. They are hard working and strive for excellence.
The Hermit Reversed Tarot Card Meaning
Isolation – Exposure – Denial
Reversed Meanings for the Hermit Tarot Card
The Hermit reversed can indicate that you’ve been indulging in too much seclusion. At this point, pangs of loneliness are plaguing you. While taking time out is rejuvenating, don’t let fear or indecision prevent you from getting back into the world. When reversed, it can signal that you’ve come as far as you can by yourself. Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and get back into the game.
Similarly, the Hermit can signal a time to open yourself up to vulnerability and exposure. If you’ve been working on a project, it’s time for feedback. This is a powerful card to show up in a reading where you may be ready to teach or launch a business. Bring your gifts out into the light.
The Hermit can suggest that there is still something you’re denying. Don’t be afraid to shine a light on the truth. It can be scary to see a person or situation for what it really is. But if you don’t examine it fully, you’ll continue to be bound by it. The Hermit reversed in this context suggests escapism and distractions. In our world of smartphones and social media, which are purposefully made to be addictive, it’s easy to check out when things get difficult. Resist the urge to indulge in immediate gratification and distractions.
Like denial, the Hermit can suggest stubbornness. If you’re continually receiving the same feedback over and over from a variety of sources, then it’s time to seriously consider it. You will always hear contradictory feedback -everyone has a different opinion. But if you’re stuck and many different people have pointed out a way out, stop ignoring it. Sometimes no matter how much we examine something, we still have a blind spot. Ignoring them can be a recipe for disaster.
Reversed Love and Relationships
The Hermit reversed is a good indicator that you’re ready for a new relationship. It’s time for you to get back into the scene after a period of retrospection.
Isolation usually precedes this card. Look back on the lessons you’ve learned during that period. Reflect on what you now want out of a romantic or platonic relationship.
Reversed Career and Work
The Hermit reversed can suggest work that’s public-facing. This can be a good thing if you’re an extrovert or hate being stuffed up in an office. For an introvert, it can present a challenge if social interactions are draining for you. This also suggests that you need to be seen to move ahead. Don’t keep your knowledge and talents a secret!
This card can also suggest bringing a personal project into the spotlight. You might be at a point where feedback is needed to further refine your vision. Still, be mindful of who you are asking for feedback. Try to get input from a mentor or trusted peers.
Reversed People and Personalities
The Hermit reversed can indicate someone who is having trouble following their inner compass. It can be a person confused by conflicting agendas. Sometimes it can suggest bad advice from a mentor. If this is you in a reading, go back to the messages of this card reversed. Take time for yourself to figure out the right course of action.
Negative aspects of this personality can be inflexibility, being judgmental, and issues with perfectionism. On a lighter note, it can suggest an extrovert or gregarious personality.
I am guided by my own truth and inner light.
Some of My Favorite Examples
The Wild Unknown Tarot uses a tortoise as a representation of the Hermit Card. The familiar motif of illuminating light is still present as a candle sitting at the top of his shell. I love the suggestion of wisdom and self-protection of the tortoise. These animals live to be 80-150 years old That’s a long time to gather the wisdom of their world! Their shell offers both defense and refuge. Often the Hermit card’s appearance is a response to that need for self-preservation and recuperation.
The lovely, minimalist Mesquite Tarot uses the simple imagery of a hand holding a lighted jar. It reminds me of catching fireflies as a kid (and letting them go, of course!). Those times were a lot simpler. The Hermit can suggest a spartan time of going back to the basics. Although ruled by Virgo, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that depictions of the Hermit resemble Old Man Saturn -a master of cutting down the old for new growth. Presenting this illuminating light in the palm of your hands, the Mesquite Tarot suggests that the answer is yours to discover.
The Delta Enduring Hermit card is one of my favorite for creatives. A blues player sits outside on a quiet night to play his guitar. He spends many hours alone in practice before he becomes adept enough to compose a tune. A little isolation and loneliness is natural to the creative process. Being alone in preparation isn’t a punishment. It can be a gestation period before a gift is revealed to the world.
I love the Circo Tarot’s Hermit card (and let me just say… the rest of the deck too!). It’s a colorful deck, and the muted tones of this card play homage to the muted colors found in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot. For me, this image touches on the spiritual aspects of the Hermit card. The woman on the card looks up towards the sky, suggesting a higher power or seeking an answer. The sheer veil on her face could indicate something hidden… taking the veil off would give her a clearer of what she is looking for. OR, maybe she isn’t meant to look up for the answer. The mountains and desert-like environment behind her suggest a time way from society for a spiritual journey.