The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot- Key 9-Couché represents a ritual seclusion undergone by prospective initiates before the Mysteries are revealed; as in not answered or explained, but received intuitively. Hence, this card is of ritual gestation and the resulting birth. Therefore, shown on the card are the candidates who partake in the seclusion that precedes birth into another life. Just as the Mayans initiated candidates for the priesthood are initiated , by having then go down into the "underworld" cave that is excavated under each of their Temples, to experience the darkness and silence of the Womb, in order to be reborn into the Spiritual Life of the Priesthood, so do the candidates of Voodoo, experience the silence of the Womb and receive the nurturance invoked to provide the environment for newfound revelations to grow and flower in each candidates inner depths. Being cared for by each one's individual sponsors, the candidates are seen to lie in the fetal position. A chicken is placed by the feet of the candidate and their foreheads are anointed with organic matter.
So now we come to the misunderstood and morbidly emphasized practice of animal sacrifice. In our society, vast numbers of animals are slaughtered for food. Each animal in the mass of slaughtered animals is sacrificed to nurture our existence. Sacrifice and slaughter are one in the same, as slaughter is for food and sacrifice is the offering of anything to a deity as propitiation or homage. Therefore, the chickens depicted on the Voodoo Tarot Card, are an example of both slaughter and sacrifice. First the divine within the candidate is fed and then the chickens are cooked to feed the body. This is a graphic reminder of Life eats itself to stay alive. That Life feeds on life is not a new concept to the Western mysteries either as it is often shown as Ouroboros, the Serpent that eats its own tail. Therefore, if we choose to continue in life, our lives must be worthy of all the lives taken by us that we may continue to move upon the earth. As Jahaladine Mostafa Rumi states: " The grape becomes wine so it can be us".
The sacredness of all life was not unknown to the Native Americans either, as the common practice after killing an animal, was to hold its head and take in its last dying breath, so that the Native may take in the soul of the animal, and it may become him or her. I AM Life and I Am Sacred.
The attributes of the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot- Key 9- center on sanctuary, the maintenances of a sage space for ritual growth.
When thrown in Divination, Key 9-Couché implies:
- Retreat from daily life for a spiritual purpose.
- Internal inspiration.
- Realization of the amount others sacrifice that we may grow and prosper.
- A sense of sacredness of all life.
The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself.
-Michel de Montaigne, Of Solitude
The Thoth Hermit card represents the Universal Principle of completion, contemplation, and introspection. The Hermit symbolizes the shower of the wise way, who lights the way the way of wisdom in the experiences of life and is an invaluable inner resource for assisting us and others in our daily lives.
The three headed dog, who is the Greek Cerberus, guardian of the underworld, signifies the part of our nature that things are complete (one head looking behind on the Thoth card)-the past- before we move our attention forward to the present and future. Cerberus, represents the dark inner and unknown parts of ourselves that we should explore and incorporate before wholeness of self can be experienced.
The burgundy cloak is the Egyptian symbol of blood that represents the inherent honesty and integrity (virtue) within all of us. It pays to remember that we inherit the great Wisdom, Integrity, and Virtue of the Divine and through introspection and contemplation we can "Remember our Divinity". Astrologically, the Hermit is Virgo (the wheat in the background), the sign that represents attention to details, organization, and beauty. The egg wrapped in the serpent, is called the Orphic egg and symbolizes the ability to give birth to new spiritual and physical forms.
A short explanation: if this card is drawn, it usually means that knowledge is needed in the querent’s life and having the need to listen closely to the master within. Contemplation, introspection by means of meditation or divination are methods used in achieving such a goal of inner wisdom.
THE HERMIT-ATU 9, is known as the 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 (Yod is the Hebrew word meaning Hand) connects the Christ-Buddha intelligence to the Architect of Manifestation that is Chesed. 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 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 Hebrew letter Yod is also phallic in shape, it is the "wand" in the hand of the magician 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 as are the Phallus and Vagina.
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, holding its own source of light. Reminds me of the Christ as the "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 Unconsciousness. Thus, we can envision the desert as a conceptualization of crystallized precipitation out of the Vast Ocean of Binah....which is called 'The Light". It should be noted, that the Higher the card is on the Qabalistic 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 and drop all the profaned Victorian sensibilities about the homo sapiens sapiens body, for it is sacred to spirit who delights in its creation.
The same intelligent energy. Whole Spirit that is suggested by the FOOL card, is also expressed in 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, a concept maybe best understood by meditating on the image of the Spermatozoa.
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 known 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 Hermit, the descriptions are many, but it must be remembered that this Key/ATU-9 Card is primarily about union, representing the first point of awareness of the Higher Self of the Supreme Spiritual Self, a union that is often explained in the most erotic of imagery as it is a copulation of Intelligence; an action from which the Microcosm is born.
On the Western Qabalistic Tree of Life, Tiphareth is the Objective Solar Logos, the center of objective energy produced by the 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 toward Chesed, in order to subjectively view the Logos center! In both Hebrew and Greek Metaphysics, Logos means 'Word", depicting vibrational Power. The Greek scholar, Heraclitus, described the Logos as a "spermatic; a Divine Fire which stimulated and maintained order.
I hope I clearly established the fact that 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) that is objectified as Tiphareth on the Tree of Life. To some The Word, is confusing: However, The Word is that vibratory will/ force which continually stimulates manifestation and is often shown as a serpent or Python. Such stimulation also energizes the principles of form (Binah) which it has produced. 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) forces of the One Energy. There is a lot to wrap your brain around here, but that is mostly true of all the symbolism of the Major Arcana.
Often, the Hermit is related to the Western Christ figure, but he is better related to the Hebrew pathfinder Moses who led his people across the Egyptian desert. 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 the told as God interacting with Moses through a burning bush. Making Moses an intermediary or tool of the Supreme Father. Thus, Moses is the Hand of God, which emphasizes the meaning of Yod as hand. In Fact, the hand of the Hermit is open, as opposed to the closed fist- meaning of the Wheel of Fortune (see Key 10), and means ultimate Power while also depicting innocence, as an open hand can give or take without the impediments of thoughts or moral restrictions.
The Thoth Hermit card, shows the lone figure cloaked in the Red of Binah, showing that he is rooted in the Great Mother and emphasizing 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) is objectified by Understanding (Binah). The concept of the Cosmos encircled by the Fiery Spirit (Yod), is shown by the Orphic egg, wrapped in a serpentine image of the spiral energy. Cerberus, the Greek three headed dog who guards the gates of Hell, is "time" tamed by the Hermit and is a willing companion. There is an interesting connection here to the Goddess Hell-Aine, and Her Three Yonis (Vagina) - Maid-Mother and Crone), but I'll leave further explanation up to the investigative student of magic, as if I don't wish to offend the flesh-o-phobes of our dogmatic culture!
The image of the spermatozoon. Represents the Yod energies in the world even though 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 Japanese Buddhism who himself was as a Moses and displayed his "rod" as a tented robe. The Spiritual Fire and wand, of a Magus is depicted in this illustration ...before the flesh-o-phobia of Division-ism became the popular separation of spirit and body by putting the wand as a decorative hand instrument.
I wonder, has it ever occurred to common man, that if you divide the spirit (Vital fire of live) from the sacred- body, that it only leads to enslavement?
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 billion years to build the condensed light world of the below, in the Malkuth World of Physical Mater; manifesting a Divine Image called Hu (Chinese for God ) Man (Hindi word-Manas: meaning mind) i.e., YOU, will help establish Spirit-Mind- Body Union and the axiom "Above all things know thyself!". 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 so that you could be ruled by those who can't rule themselves. Something to ponder, as your self-value flounders around in wage-slavery, trying to make "ends meet".
Often repeated but never overstated: The Thoth Card, THE HERMIT, is the Path of Yod on the Tree of Life, the shape of which the figure is posed on the card. As I’ve prolifically stated the Yod force enervates to keep the world in order, a stimulus that could be described as a fertilization. Thus, the world is shown as barren but with potential, as the Hermit begins his "vibratory Walk' upon it.
Yod is linked with Kether [The Crown] the Highest Point of the Logos, i.e. the Primary energy from which manifestation derives and/or The One Energy that cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed, and is always shown as a phallus since it is the Cosmic Phallic Force.
The lantern in the hand of the Thoth Hermit represents Tiphareth (Beauty), and makes a metaphysical statement about the nature of Light. Most of us know that everything is made of Stars and of the Light of Stars. Light, being composed of subatomic particles (Photons) is the principle of manifestation, or energy-material on which all Creation is built and is the Principle of the Soul. The Hermit's lantern represents “His own Sun/Soul" or the Core Sun that all Mind comes from;The Fertilizing Light, that makes the barren Space-womb fruitful.
The Hermit represents a glyph on the nature of primal manifestation beneath the Abyss. He is a representation of the relationship between Light and the Sacred Fire symbolized by Yod.
To those who are on a mundane journey where a better credit score is the ultimate quest, this card has mundane meanings in a reading, but as a meditation device, skrying this card will aid in understanding the God Trinity of THE HERMIT -YOD, THE EMPEROR-HEH, AND THE HIEROPHANT-VAU., There is a clue to a deeper understanding in the placement of the letters, Yod, Heh, Vau, on the Tree of Life. The letters work together as a trinity from Chesed (Mercy) to Tiphareth (Beauty) to Chokmah (Wisdom) and back to Chesed. Many rewards come to those who research and study.
When the Hermit Card is thrown during a reading:
- It is about the principle of introspection, completion and space.
- This is representative of the deeper marriage of the Divine within ourselves, and is often a message that more knowledge is needed.
- This is definitely a "above all things, know thyself' message. The Hermit represents the inward search to find personal truth, where despair, isolation, as well as, accomplishments and gains, must be accepted.
- Also, Personal Integrity, the I AM Me, which is always be true to you.
- it implies that knowledge is needed, meditation and prayer are to be used to hear the inner self.
- A deep desire to follow that which is meaningful and/or heartfelt to you.
- Time to gather enough data and information in order to sort things out.
- Introspection which may require you to withdraw from others or the usual environment in order to gain the perspectives needed.
- A stage in life where Wisdom is sought.
If ill defined by the surrounding cards:
- Hostility towards life.
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