2016 is a Hermit Year
Using tarot numerology, we can easily assign an archetype to the upcoming year, 2016 all added up in a flash gives us 9 which corresponds to the Hermit. While individual numerology will vary, this planetary number is like a large picture energetic weather pattern for the year.
Understanding the hermit will helps us understand and perhaps negotiate better with the forces saturating all the nations of earth. I for one, am hoping that the hermit's energetic need for reflection will impact the world's stage in terms of conflicts as well as home grown terror. 2015 was an 8 year, a Strength year which we saw in many countries saying things like, "No I am stronger than YOU are, here I am going to shoot down YOUR plane!"
Hopefully, the hermit's calmer head and keener sense will reign on the world stage in 2016.
In client readings, the hermit ranks right below Death and the Devil for the 'least wanted card' award. Unfairly so, in my opinion, for the topical understanding that the hermit will mean loneliness, singlehood, sweatpants and long nights with a mid-priced merlot is vastly incorrect.
In the majority of hermit imagery, the hermit is standing with his or her lamp, shining out in the forested darkness. The hermit is not curled up in a fetal ball of lonely agony with Bon Iver on repeat, the light of an Iphone clutched in hand.
The hermit is standing with his lamp outstretched; is he shining that lamp for himself, or is he shining the way for someone else? Is the lamp really for him, who knows the dark forest so well or to help another soul who needs to simply rest? In most hermit imagery the hermit is also standing: in search, or in mid-stride; he is an active figure in the landscape; while the word suggests someone passive the imagery illustrates something entirely different.
So I asked a group of fellow tarot readers, what is your favorite Hermit image, and why?
Altogether, here were the themes that emerged from their responses:
Below, in their own words, are some of the pictures as well as thoughts as to why they loved that particular Hermit, the choices are diverse and the reasons varied but in no instance do we see knee jerk reactions to the hermit to depict lonely as suffering or alone in withdrawal as a negative.
If we notice this Hermit and all the others, the Hermit is not staring into the lamp, he is not transfixed by it, he is using the light to shine out into the darkness, he is looking for something, or someone. His focus is almost always outward, actually. Certainly not the actions of a person who has totally withdrawn in complete isolation and sadness.
This hermit is also dynamic, one of the Hermit's main themes is study and learning and this imagery captures that idea, what do you need to hone, to make clear, to master?
This image is so interesting to me, the turtle is not physically able to have put the lit lamp on his shell, so who did? Who is with him, sitting companionably in his light? Or did they light the lamp for Turtle and leave? This image creates a cognitive dissonance between the withdrawal of the turtle (a fear or stress reaction) and the warm glow of the lamp. Our introvert above felt comforted by the imagery of the card, you can just be yourself.
This card especially picks up the shamanistic undernotes of the Hermit, that he is somehow closer to nature, in the quiet able to hear the moods and sounds of the animals and from there to gain wisdom that our busy world left behind. In this, the Hermit acts as bridge, necessary, pertinent, without which we as a race are completely lost.
Again, we return to the light, what is the nature of the lamp, the nature of the light, is it the heart of Hermit?
I included this because of the modern focus on perhaps too much withdrawal, a Hermit that is not spiritual in focus, again, what is a Hermit without his lamp?
Even in the 'scariest' image, easily the Deviant Moon's hermit, we hear Jennifer's quote that he is, 'withdrawing from the world for his own learning and purpose.' The main take away is that when we draw a Hermit card:
The withdrawal is a voluntary one.
You do not have to take on the mantle of the hermit if you do not want to.
My own personal favorite image of the Hermit if the 'Kung Fu Master' archetype. He left the village on purpose, to hone his craft and now that he has mastered his skills people come to him. He meets those he wishes to help on his terms.
If we view the role the Hermit through the eyes of a love reading, this is fabulous, actually! Through a short stint of getting clear of "your junk" you then position yourself to pick and choose from those who seek YOU out.
"The Hermit figure is removed on the whole from the image, which focuses on the holding of the lamp as its main design element. It reminds me that the Hermit is not following anyone, not even himself, he has walked the path for long enough to become the path. In this case, he is adjunct to the light itself, which is the principle of the card; return to your own light and carry it."--Marcus Katz
The emphasis is not on the withdrawal, even though the card is called the Hermit, the image is not focused on his hermitude, but in fact is focused on the light. And what does light do? Light carries, light illuminates, light gets noticed, light is bright.
When we as readers and clients see the Hermit in a future state position, it can be read as, "You will be alone during x time."
I feel that Hermit is in fact already defining a known position, the act of being a hermit has happened. What is the future state is the search with the lamp.
(The Hermit is NOT 8 of Cups. The Hermit is NOT the Hanged Man though people often read him that way especially in love and relationship readings which I think is a huge mistake)
When the Hermit appears he is defining the change to the light. In most pictures of the Hermit, he is walking forward, carrying the lamp in front of him. The action is forward moving with the light preceding him.
The Hermit's appearance in a reading, especially in a romantic reading, is not as much "you are going to be alone" but rather-- you are moving to the light, the truth of what you need and that is shining. Something (or someone) is being called to you, and you in your work and wisdom... you get to choose.
2016 calls for the entire world to choose, are we going to choose peace, will we light our lamps and search for the hard answers? Will we allow calmer, wiser heads to speak? We need more silence, more thought, more reservation, more detachment from the fires of passionate gun slinging.
As we face 2016 embrace the Hermit's energy in your own life by lighting your lamp and walking your path, look fearlessly in the dark corners.
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