THE HERMIT-key 9, is known as the 12th Path of Yod on the Tree of Life, and connects Tiphareth (Sephiroth called: Beauty) and Chesed (Sephiroth called: Mercy). In other words, the Path of Yod connects the Christ-Buddha intelligence to the Architect of Manifestation, that is Chesed (Mercy). This is 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.
The 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 Qabalistic 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...as if I could resist that!)
The letter Yod is phallic in shape, and the staff in the hand of the Hermit and is considered the Male-Fire which rushes out toward the Female-Water. These meanings 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.
The very word itself, Hermit, comes from a Greek word meaning desert, the place where extreme ascetic monks lived in walled up rooms with one window. Which seems to add to the very mystery and solitariness of the Hermit figure standing alone, in both the Druid Craft Tarot and Thoth Decks, holding its own source of light, with his dog companion.. which represents the Instinctual Mind and/or Animal Mind of the Body. The Hermit, reminds me of the Christ as the "Light of the World" but the image of Moses is far more compelling to me, as this "light of the World".
This image of the desert is a compelling one, as it is conceptually a vast expanse of earth, seemingly as vast as the Ocean. Binah, the Great Mother is often called the Great Ocean Mother Mari, and is seen in the image of the dark, deep, endless waters of the Universal Collective Unconscious. The Druid card suggests both desolation and Ocean/water/ goddess, with its crescent moon, and winding river in a vast waste land. The promontory of stone upon which the Druid Hermit is standing, with the predominate green color of the card, suggests the fertile earth and thus, his "light of the World" concept. Therefore, we can envision the desert as a conceptualization of crystallized precipitation out of the Vast Ocean of Binah....which is called "Space", the crystallized precipitation that builds the river is "Time".
It should be noted, that the Higher the card is on the Tree of Life, the more important it is that we let the card suggest such images as they will. So once again I heartily suggest skrying the cards as an aid for deeper understanding.
The same intelligent energy suggested by the FOOL card, also expressed the HERMIT, as the wise old age of the Child (Daath- which means Knowledge) and the virgin beginning of a new sequence; From Macrocosm to Microcosm. Here the Microcosm 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, which actually represents energy and life, for energy is constantly transforming itself, by "eating itself", as does Life, which "eats itself to stay alive".
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 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 Thoth Hermit, the descriptions are many, but it must be remembered that this Key or ATU-9 Card is primarily about union, representing the first point of awareness of the Supreme Spiritual Self, a union that is often explained in the most erotic of imagery as it is a copulation of multi-dimensional Intelligence; an action from which the Microcosm is born. This birth, is shown as the Orphic egg or serpent wrapped egg and the spermatozoon as his "Pan-spermatic" power. Hence, the concept of the Cosmos encircled by the Fiery Spirit (Yod), is shown in the Thoth Tarot by the Orphic egg, wrapped in a serpentine image of the spiral energy.
On the Tree of Life, Tiphareth is the Objective Solar Logos, the center of objective energy produced by the 4th Sephiroth- Chesed (Demiurge) as a direct link of the lower to the higher. 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, (shown as the Lantern on both Druid Craft and Thoth Tarot Decks), toward Chesed,(shown as the Staff on both cards), 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".
To reiterate, 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-microwave frequency), that is objectified as Tiphareth on the Tree of Life. To some the Word, is confusing:However, the Word is that vibratory disturbance of Space, caused by the "Shouting Out loud of Kether, "I Will Be", which is the force which continually stimulates manifestation and this description leads to the Hermit often being called "the First Earth". This stimulation also energizes, ideas, the principles of form (Binah-"Will to Form") which when Understood, becomes knowledge, which is the paradigm of manifestation. 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) and the represents the Quantum Physics String Theory, where one "string" enters this universe, producing a negative and positive particle. There is a lot to wrap your brain around here, but that is mostly true of all the symbolism of the Major Arcana. I have found the best way to understand the infinite making itself 2, comes from visualizing an 0, twisting upon itself becoming an 8 and/or a Mobius Loop. It is still the infinite Pi, yet there are 2 images in one unbroken line. Hence, He/She.
As I insinuated, often the Hermit is related to the Christ figure, but he is better related to the Hebrew pathfinder Moses, who led his people across the Egyptian desert. The Druid Craft Tarot seems to have kept the Moses image. 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) 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 told as God interacting with Moses through a burning bush. Making Moses an intermediary or tool of the Supreme Father. Thus, Moses was considered "the Hand of God", which emphasizes the meaning of Yod as hand. In Fact, the hand of the Hermit in the Golden Dawn card (not shown), 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 restrictions.
The Thoth Tarot Hermit card, shows the lone figure cloaked in the Red of Binah, the Blood of the Goddess, showing that he is rooted in the Great Mother, showing the motion and activity that is essential to the Yod which is the Intercourse of Chokma and Binah. He flows to She who then conceptualizes energy into form and/or Wisdom (Chokma) which is subjective is then objectified by Understanding (Binah).
The Thoth Deck card also illustrates Cerberus (means, spotted), the Greek three headed dog who guards the gates of Hell, who is tamed by the Hermit and is a willing companion. His three heads imply the movement of life, for the forward face is the future, the middle face is the moment, and the backward face looking into the past. There is an interesting connection here to the Goddess Hell-Aine, and Her Three Yonis (wombs- Maid-Mother and Crone)), but I'll leave further explanation up to the investigative student of magic, as I don't wish to offend the delicate flesh-o-phobes of our dogmatic culture.
The image of the spermatozoon, on the Thoth Deck Hermit Card, 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 as a Moses; as his "tented robe" would suggest a certain fecundness. The Spiritual Fire and wand, of a Magus is depicted in this illustration,....before the flesh-o-phobia of Division- ism became popular. The truth is that God is Sex, and to divide the Sexual Self from the body by dysfunctional definition, is to divide the Spirit from the Body. Spirit is the Vital Sexual Force of Life!
I wonder, has it ever occurred to common man, that if you divide the spirit (Will) from the sacred- body, that it only leads to enslavement? (Illustration of Bodhidharma 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 worked for over 14.7 billion years to build living form, in the Malkuth World of Physical Mater, and even a Divine Image called Hu (Chinese for God ) Man (Hindu word-Manas: meaning mind) i.e. YOU; will help you emotionally and mentally establish Spirit body Union and the axiom "Above all things know thyself!" that will then become living data of the Inner Buddha, the personality of our Soul. 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 yourself image so that you could be ruled by those who can't rule themselves. Something to ponder, as your self value flounders around in debt-slavery, trying to make "ends meet".
When the Hermit card is thrown during a reading, it implies that:
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