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 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 Ryder-Waite-Smith and Thoth Decks, 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 Unconscious. The Ryder-Waite card suggests both desolation and Ocean upon which the Hermit is standing, with the predominate blue color of the card. 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 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: Place the card on the mirror.
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.
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 Hermit, the descriptions are many, but it must be remembered that this Key-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 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, (shown as the Lantern on both Ryder-Waite and Thoth 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 "spermatozoa"; 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), 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 this description leads to the Hermit often being called "the First Earth".
This 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) 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.
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 Ryder-Waite-Smith 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 is 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 Deck Hermit card, shows the lone figure cloaked in the Red of Binah,(Ryder-Waite shows this as the Blue robe of Water keeping Binah image of Ocean), 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) is objectified by Understanding (Binah).
The concept of the Cosmos encircled by the Fiery Spirit (Yod), is shown in the Thoth Deck by the Orphic egg, wrapped in a serpentine image of the spiral energy.
The Thoth Deck card also illustrates Cerberus, the Greek three headed dog who guards the gates of Hell, who is tamed by the Hermit and is a willing companion. 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 the flesh-o-phobes of our dogmatic culture..
The image of the spermatozoon, on the Thoth Tarot 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 Greek depictions of Hermes with horns of the goddess holding the Sun and with a phallic erection. Hermes, who was the Roman Mercury and who himself was as a Moses. The Spiritual Fire and wand, of a Magus is depicted in this illustration Hermes,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?
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". 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:
- 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 .
- This is a great card for skrying, as it is of the Inner Wisdom that we so much need to KNOW OURSELVES!
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