The Hermit and The Magician

The upcoming full moon is in Virgo which corresponds with the Major Arcana card The Hermit. Virgo is ruled by Mercury which is associated with The Magician.

The Roman virgin goddess Vesta, who was tended by virgins, is also affiliated with the sign Virgo (the virgin). The symbol of Vesta is the eternal flame that burns forever in the hearth. She holds a lamp to light our path so that we may focus our energies inward and manifest the power within. She helps us shine a light on our true selves, a light that will in turn radiate out to others. Astrologically Vesta is associated with qualities similar to those of Virgo: work, devotion, commitment, solitude, sacrifice and service to others. The theme of the perpetual flame of Vesta is one that repeats in the lantern that illuminates the way for the Hermit in the Tarot.

The Hermit (Virgo) is the archetype of the wise old man. He is usually depicted shrouded in a long hooded grey robe which is a combination of black and white, the blending of conscious and unconscious. He holds a staff in his left hand and a lantern in the other. Within the lantern shines a six-pointed star that is comprised of two triangles, one erect, the other inverted, symbolising fire and water, masculine and feminine intertwined, once again the merging of opposities. As the Hermit retreats in solitide into his inner world, his individual will begins to blend with Divine will.

Just as Virgo is the sign of work and self-improvement, always seeking to know and understand, so too The Hermit seeks solitude in order to take an inner journey towards true understanding of self, and in turn, spiritual wisdom. As his consciousness makes its journey inward he realises that the truth he has sought is within himself and not in the mundane world. Unlike our promiscuous personality which changes to fit into the context of the world around us, our inner consciousness is pure and untouched, the perpetual virgin, ours alone to embrace.

Through the process of self-discovery the Hermit learns patience and understanding, of himself and of others. This in turn enables him to become a guiding light, offering wise counsel and illuminating the paths of all around him.

In literature the hermit is presented as a dispenser of hospitality to strangers, a healer of wounded knights, a counselor and burier of the dead. At adventure’s end, a wandering knight will often happen upon a hermitage in the forest, and as the kind hermit feeds him and dresses his wounds, he explains to the knight the higher significance of his adventure. The knight is often surprised by the hermit’s perception of events as they are not perceptions based on the mundane, as the knight is accustomed.

The hermit is an important character in many fables, such as those of King Arthur. And in those fables we also often encounter magicians such as the legendary magician and seer to King Arthur, Merlin.

Mercury (The Magician) is the traditional ruler of Virgo and is the planet of intellect, reason, logic, analysis and attention to detail. The Magician is often depicted standing in front of a table laid out with the four emblems of the Minor Arcana: wand (fire), cup (water), sword (air) and pentacle (earth). The full potential of the four elements are available to him. Through the power of his own will and imagination he is able to consciously manifest whatever goal he desires on the material plane. With desire, intent and focus, all dreams are within his reach. In the Tarot, The Magician is our inner guide, offering us potential choices and the energy required to manifest them with magical results.

Yet The Magician as archetypal achiever is in danger of losing himself in the material world. He too needs his own inner guide, the seeking of truth within himself. In essence, The Magician needs to become The Hermit for a time and withdraw in order to seek the light within himself. Though his time will come. The Hermit was once The Magician, but has now grown older, and wiser. The Hermit knows that creative power and skill have their place, but will not lead to spiritual enlightenment. He asks us to meditate and turn our attention inward so as to find our own truth and understanding.

Stella Luna © 2011 The Tarot Reader. All rights reserved.






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