The Hermit


You will know what you are supposed to do with your life if you always make love your guide."

- Ora Nadrich

The Hermit - Waite Smith
The Hermit - Thoth

Associations / Attributions

Hermetic Title
The Magus of the Voice of the Light, The Prophet of the Gods
Hebrew Letter
Yod (Closed hand)
Sephirotic Path
Chesed/Gedulah (Mercy/Greatness) to Tiferet (Beauty)
Potential Uses
To set an example; to slow down a process

Card Meanings / Keywords

Golden Dawn

Wisdom sought, divine inspiration (active, as opposed the the passive of the Lovers); one of the three Magi with the Magician and Hierophant.


Prudence, circumspection; treason, roguery, corruption. Reversed: Concealment, fear, policy.


Illumination from within, practical plans, retirement from participation in current events.


Guide by example (rather than a teaching like the Hierophant)


The Hermit offers both a light through the dark night of the soul and guidance through the underworld. His is the solitary journey in the quest of life through the worlds. At some point we each walk alone and reflect upon our lives, where we have been, and where we are headed.

Often appearing in the guise of a venerable elder, his aged appearance can inspire one that this journey may be made and survived many times, suggesting that one may quietly thrive from each excursion. It is not physical strength and youthful vigor that will help one to succeed here, but rather the steady and calculated applied wisdom of experience. Waite considers the Hermit as a figure of example, one that inspires “where I am, you may also be” rather than as an active guide.

The Hermit is associated with the astrological sign Virgo (ruled by the psychopomp Mercury—a conductor of souls to the afterlife) and reflects the joy one can find in serving others. The wise aspects of Thoth, Hermes, and Odin all speak to the Hermit’s journey. The aged Hermit also calls upon the image of Chronos (Time), associated with the serpent and the winged serpent (and, thus, the caduceus) and an Orphic imagining of time encircling the Orphic Egg of the universe.

When this card appears in a reading, it may suggest a solitary journey, a steady and consistent activity, or a wisdom that comes from experience. It may also point to something that can serve as an example of the qualities one will have or can develop through an activity. The Hermit may help guide one through darkness and the unknown, or slow down a process that seems to be moving too quickly or acting too erratically.


Swiftly crossing fields of golden grain
Fingers trace the tips of abundant life
I lay amongst the harvest
A life sown now ripe to reap
Breath falls quiet, soul descends into the depths
A cavern dark and unknown

Yet wisdom walks ahead
Guiding my steps through the deep
The Ancient One leads me to the hearth of the heart
Here to light a torch and lie fallow
A kind beacon waiting for those who follow

What crossing do I feel I must make alone? Do I know where I am headed and how to get there? How may I serve others through the light of my experience to guide them on their way?