Rachel Pollack on "The Hermit" tarot card.



"Though the hermit withdrew from society, he or she did not withdraw from humanity.  Among other functions, they gave shelter and sometimes blessings to travellers."

"Countless stories, especially the Grail legends, depict the hermit who acts as a giver of wisdom to the knight on a spiritual quest."

"The transcendental philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson travelled days through remote Scotland to the find the cabin of Thomas Carlyle.  Emerson's friend, Henry David Thoreau, himself lived in a cabin at Walden Pond to find a sense of himself and of nature.  He then wrote about it as an example to others.  Nietzsche's Dus Sprach Zarathrustra enshrined the Hermit's image.... ...and today, countless people have given themselves to Eastern gurus in the hope that these hermit-like teachers can transform their lives."

"We must first experience the mind as a silent alternative to the noise world of the senses.  For shamans, the barren peak is often a direct reality."

So the hermit is "together" having integrated subconscious Moon and conscious Sun, in that maybe a sense of focus, not unlike the "Desert Fathers" of Christendom who went to live in caves and survive on gruel, consuming themselves with prayer and their faith.

Pollack reads the Major Arcana as two lines that progress from one spectrum to the other, between two extremes.  As you can see from the above quotations, sources are pulled from across a spectrum, from the Kaballah and the Torah, to ancient Egypt, to modern fortune tellers and novels.  In interpretation, we are reading from archetypes, and along the way, we can build an understanding of how the Ryder-Waite deck was designed, and definitely come to appreciate how the cards inter-relate to one another.


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