“The Hermit” – A Tarot Interpretation



Aleister Crowley’s – Thoth Tarot


• “The Hermit” (9) is ruled by the planet Mercury, the element of Air and the mutable earth sign of Virgo. Body parts governed are the nervous system and the intestines. Color influences are deep blues, greys, dark brown, black, violet, white, and gold. The tones of grey emphasize the intellect, black and brown a sense of grounding, and violet, white, and gold enhance the spiritual mind.

 •  “9” (Numerology)  represents initiation and completion. It is the end of one phase in life and the beginning of a new phase. Those who have “9” as their birth number are seen as humanitarians because of their unconditional compassion toward others. “9’s” have the mastery of spiritual and mental achievements and appear to be worldly in their knowledge of life. “9’s” can manage things to the end, but may have difficulty in letting go of what has been completed.

•  The Star (17) is ruled by Aquarius and the planet of Uranus (representing revolutionary changes and freedom). The Star represents hope and inspiration for The Hermit to fully manifest its purpose through spiritual enlightenment. The Star is the faith within us to move forward and trust in the powers that be to provide what is best for our well-being.

“The Hermit and The Star” complement each other through “self-reflection and faith”. The “Hermit” archetype is silently retreating within to find answers to various aspects of the inner Self. While “The Star” is the guiding light of inspiration and faith during this time of introspection for The Hermit. The light that is seen shining from the Hermit’s lantern is The Star guiding the inner Self on this journey of spiritual awakening.

SIDENOTE: I’ve decided to omit the Gilded Tarot and the Lumina Tarot from the remainder of this series, as I want to focus more on different traditions and interpretations from specific decks. For this post, I’ll be introducing the Dreamkeepers Tarot’s interpretation of the Hermit in the female form.



THOTH TAROT (top left), RIDER WAITE SMITH (top right), GILDED TAROT (bottom left), DREAMKEEPERS TAROT (bottom right)






Crowley’s Thoth Tarot:

The Thoth Tarot defines the major and minor Arcana through esoteric representation.
As the Thoth tarot is rich in detail and meaning, I will give a brief overview of The Hermit (9) with a primary focus on the symbology of this card. The Hermit is quoted in Lon Milo Duquette’s “Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot”, as “The Prophet of the Eternal” and as “The Magus of the Voice of Power”. This comes about from the three primary cosmic influences of  Earth, Mercury, and the Sun, of which Crowley states are the “mode of fulfillment of the Great Work“. These three cosmic influences are the guiding source for The Hermit. The Hermit is ruled by Virgo which is the mutable sign of Earth and ruled by Mercury, while Mercury is exalted in Virgo. The Sun is the guiding light that shines from his diamond-shaped lamp.

The Thoth Tarot interprets The Hermit as a vital form of “male creative energy” (Yod).            The snake coiled Orphic egg and sperm cell show The Hermit’s connection to the hidden secrets of life-creating forces. The background is filled with blades of wheat signifying the earthy harvest of knowledge. Cerberus (the three-headed dog) is the gate-keeper to the underworld and provides protection for The Hermit during his journey into the unknown realms. We also see the Hermit in a transformative state of existence while donning the head of a bird-like creature. His only human form is the hand that is carrying the lamp.

The Thoth’s Hermit card shows the metamorphic process of creating life. There is the secret wisdom of life from the Orphic egg which captivates the Hermit’s desire for cultivating knowledge and the understanding of this process.





The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot:  

Here we see the traditional archetype of “The Hermit” as an elder of wisdom. The staff represents the support of one’s will and endurance to continue down the path of enlightenment. The journey has been a life long one as the Hermit signifies a time of meditation on the knowledge that lights his path, but it is also a journey of conflict as the Hermit’s expression is one of passive feelings. The heart has to find the belief within the knowledge that has been attained. How much of this inner wisdom is truly absorbed by the emotions of the heart?

The RWS’s Hermit card is a sign of introspection and to connect deeper into the “inner Self”. This “soul searching” card is of great importance in understanding the specifics of who we are and how we feel towards our thoughts.





Dreamkeepers Tarot:

The Dreamkeepers Tarot casts a female archetype as The Hermit. We see a woman in the physical realm gazing at her own reflection which is her inner Self. In her hand is a note with questions and uncertainties. The Hermit is her own spiritual guide to those questions; those answers are held within. Self-reflection is key. This can be difficult as the truth to who we are is not entirely avoidable. It is time to approach one’s Self in the most honest and divine way possible. Doing so will deeply connect the mind and heart to fully understand one’s truest sense of the higher Self.

Throughout the Dreamkeepers Tarot, we see a shift in archetypical representation with an emphasis on women. This opens up the connection and perspective that women have to the inner and outer realms. I am introducing the Dreamkeepers Tarot as well as other traditional based tarot decks that will provide an interesting comparison and contrast to the various perspectives of the tarot, specifically the major arcana.



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