Key 9: The Hermit
The Magus of the Voice of Light; The Prophet of the Gods
“The Twentieth Path 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.” (Sepher Yetzirah)
Many years ago, I first started meditating on the Tarot archetypes using a simple method of visualising the cards before me with as much detail as possible: visualising the Hebrew letter above and the name of the card clearly below, then bringing the image forward until the card becomes a doorway into a landscape of which the particular archetype can be met. Meeting the archetypes individually can sometimes be dangerous: if their frequency is unstable it could flare up and endanger the enquirer. But the doorway method is generally considered to be a safe way to engage with the Tarot archetypes, as the landscape is part of the archetypal energy and so the archetypal frequency being met is diffused throughout the landscape.
I was systematically working my way through the deck, one card a week, and had been looking forward to meeting with the Hermit as I identified with his archetypal concept. When the time came to meet with the Hermit I was so excited that I jumped straight through the card without looking at the landscape before me. I landed in the middle of a main road and was hit by a car travelling at high speed. My astral body was thrown into the air in two parts. As I recovered from the shock and the two halves of me were re-magnetized together, I saw the Hermit standing on the pavement next to the road. Furiously, I asked why he had let that happen to me. He replied: “Look before you jump”: advice that I have never forgotten, when entering the Inner Planes.
The Hermit is not the loving father of Chokmah that some make him out to be. The YOD associated with this card is not so much connected with Kether pouring its light into Chokmah, but rather the body of the YOD is symbolically formed from the concept of Ain in the realms of the Pass-Nots. The tail of the YOD then flows down into Chokmah. The Hermit is a serious figure. His light is all that one needs to see. All else is but a shadow, fraught with danger – the danger of forgetfulness, the forgetfulness of who you are. The 20th Path is placed between Chesed and Tiphareth. Chesed holds the true blue-print of the soul, but as it pours down to Netzach it enters a strong magnetism which distracts the soul from its true purpose. As it flows down the 20th Path into Tiphareth, the soul becomes aware of its true will. Gareth Knight hints that the Hermit can be associated with Da’ath in the act of linking Spirit into the conscious awareness of an individual.
The Hermit is closely related to the Magician, as Mercury rules and is exalted in Virgo. The difference between them is that the Magician’s quick Mercurial mind can juggle and manipulate the elements to his/her will. The Mercury of the Hermit, embedded in the earthly Virgo, gives the ability to project deeply into an element, revealing the Divine Light behind all things.
In this card, the Hermit illuminates the path ahead. This is the path that the soul must tread alone. The light that shines from his lamp is the light of Kether, shining through Tiphareth onto Malkuth. It is the hidden knowledge used to lead the Candidate on his journey from darkness into the realm of the perfect Light behind all things. His staff is coloured red, yellow and blue, relating to the three Mother Letters of the Hebrew alphabet, Shin, Aleph and Mem, and the archetypes of Judgement, The Fool and the Hanged Man, symbolizing the qualities needed to remain on the path. This is the wand of the Kerux: the Caduceus Wand as shown on his chest. The twin serpents rise up the wand, representing the balanced forces of astral light working within the darkness.
The number nine is the end of the sequence that began with the Fool: the Fool has finally become educated and stands as a guide.
Look before you jump. Guide. Awakening to inner calling. Following one’s hunch. Life’s work and research. Stepping out of the mainstream. Journey or change of residence. The need to be alone to understand an important problem. Viewing a problem from above. Walking alone. Meditation. Inner guides. Shamanic journey. Self-discovery. New understanding of the universe around you. The Hermetic Path.