Above all things, know thyself!
Thoth- ATU IX- The Hermit
THe Golden Tarot-Key 9-The Hermit (Il Tempo)
From the Thirty Two paths of Wisdom: The Twentieth Path (The Hermit) is the Intelligence of Will, and is so called because it is the means of preparation of all and each created being, and by this intelligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known.
The zodiacal attribution to the Tarot Hermit card is the sign of Virgo. Virgo is an earthly sign that represents the most receptive feminine form of earth. Virgo is ruled by Mercury and Mercury is exalted in Virgo as well. Therefore, the Hermit is represented both by Mercury/Thoth/Hermes and The Virgin. One might say that the most receptive form of Earth forms a crust over Hades; Mercury, besides being Hermes and Thoth is also a form of Hades, who is also the fiery messenger of Spirit, that has descended into matter, signaling the reintegration by Spirit (a phallic symbol) into being. This is known in Western Hermetic Qabalah as the "Formula of the Princess", the mode of fulfillment of the Great Work. Therefore, the fertility generated by this event and that of Virgo itself is shown as the Dark Green Wheat background on the Thoth Hermit Card.
The Tarot Hermit is a solitary figure, that represents the old wise man that is the main aspect of the Egyptian god Thoth (Greek-Hermes) and is often displaying great aptitude for meditation and contemplation. This is implied by the lone hermit figure of both the Thoth ATU 9 Card and the Golden Tarot Key 9. Both the Thoth Tarot and Golden Tarot shows an elderly Thoth-symbolizing the wisdom of the ages. The Golden Tarot just shows a solitary ancient holding an hourglass rather than a lantern, as if contemplating the run of time. The Thoth Hermit carries a lantern, implying intuitive knowledge coming from his in Sun of the Divine. Also in the center of the Thoth Hermit's lantern is the sigil of the Great King of Fire, who is also represented by the Hebrew word Yod-the secret fire, which is the Hebrew letter assigned to this Thoth Tarot card. The Hebrew word, Yod, also means Hand and the letter is shown on the bottom left of the Thoth Card. Hence, the hand of the Hermit is displayed as the center of the both Tarot cards. The image of the Thoth- Hermit is also bent into the shape of the letter Yod while being cloaked in the red robes of Binah, the Great Mother in whom he gestates. According to Crowley he is the symbol of a lingam after ejaculation, hence the white hair looks more semen like and the spermatozoon is shown released into the "fertile dark" of the Abyssal Womb, and swimming towards the Universal/Orphic egg above it.
In such a solitary state, as the Hermit, one often is able to hear the wisdom of the Spirit/Mind by tuning out the babble of the brain. This is also called in magic, listening to the "loud silence". As I have said, the Thoth Deck Hermit symbolizes the Hebrew Letter Yod, meaning hand, and all letters of the Hebrew alphabet are combinations of this foundational letter. Yod is the first letter of the name Tetragrammaton (YHVH) symbolizing the Farther who is Wisdom, and the highest form of Mercury/Thoth/Hermes. Therefore, he is the Logos; the Creator of all worlds, accordingly his representative in the physical world is the spermatozoon which is illustrated on the Thoth Tarot card.
The figure of the Thoth Hermit seems to be staring at the Orphic egg which is conterminous with the Universe, and is wrapped in the iridescent many-colored serpentine energy of Mercury. The Thoth Tarot card, with its domesticated 3 headed dog Cerberus that guards the gates of Hell, not only represents the Past (head facing backwards), Future (head facing forward) but also the Present (Face looking at hermit) but also brings to mind The Greek Legend of Persephone and Hades. The reference to his mastery of time is also shown in the Golden Tarot as he holds and contemplates an hourglass. I would suggest that the student read the legend of Hades and Persephone to further understand this card.
In this Thoth Trump, is illustrated the secret of life and all its workings. For instance, Yod=Phallus=Spermatozoon-Hand=Logos=Virgin. Crowley says in his book of Thoth, "There is perfect identity, not merely Equivalence, of the Extremes, the Manifestation, and the Method." As you may note, in both Decks, ATU/ Key 9, is about the solitary person who walks the path that leads to the Higher Self and perfection of the soul. It is the image of the Adept-Magus and their detachment from the material world of man. S/He's often so far advanced in psyche, that most people find them difficult to comprehend. Hence they see solitary in their journey, totally at peace in their presence. However, this does not deter their willingness to light the path for those who sincerely wish to know the depths of self. The Thoth Hermit corresponds to the archetype or the "selfless servant of the Self", who is searching for Truth in the Souls that manifest human beings. Deep within our internal silence, we will find this intelligence, whose wisdom is always available; one just needs to go into deep introspection, listening only to the pregnant silence of the Greater Self. Just as Moses, we have an inner Buddha, who was a true Hermit, S/he will lead by example, the personality to the Solitude of the Sun of The Divine Creative.
The Golden Tarot -Key 9-The Hermit (IL Tempo) represents the archetype for Wisdom, who is holding a walking staff in one hand (represents the erect phallic agent) and the hourglass representing time in the other. Mastery of Time/Space, is the paradigm of the Hermit. This is because s/he represents "...the manifestation and the method". Time/Space are the mechanisms of measurement, of which all form is created. Hence he represents Time/Space. His hat may represent wealth, but it is also phallic in shape. He is Hermes, who was commonly shown at Grecian Crossroads, as a bust with an erect phallus, for his verbal intercourse with others, impregnates them with new awareness.
When the Hermit-ATU/Key 9-is thrown during a divination:
- A search for wisdom and truth.
- Counsel and sound judgment.
- A solitary soul.
- A time of re-evaluation and soul searching.
- Discretionary caution.
- Inner wisdom often called enlightenment.
- Spiritual inspiration pointing the way on life's journey.
- Contemplation, introspection and space.
- Needing more knowledge that can only be attained by listening closely to the inner self.
- The Divine Marriage within.
- Completing karma through service.
- A stage in life where wisdom it sought through introspection and isolation.
- Using your work in the world and uniting it with the Spiritual realms to attain the Highest state of Mind.
- Being yourself by pursuing the "above all things, know thyself", deep inner philosophy.
If ill defined by the surrounding cards (Thoth) or reversed (Haindl) it implies:
- Stubbornness to the point of foolishness.
- A closed mind,
- Bad advice.
- Only looking at the surface value.
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