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The Hermit and the Terrible Beauty Within.

“The separation of the individual from a corporeal relationship with the Soul is mirrored in the separation of the individual from nature. This is perhaps one of the most important spiritual and psychological poisons of modernity: the alienation of the individual from the wilderness of nature. The modern obsession with progress and technology has worked to effectively separate man from the unpredictable and uncontrollable milieu of the wilderness and the concomitant alienation of the Soul from the flesh. The modern mind worships the Techno-God and uses many methods to enforce the separation of the flesh from the Soul. Reconnecting to nature requires only concentrated periods spent in a natural environment instead of living a life entirely immersed in artificial environments Efforts should be made to spend significant time in nature to allow the Sacramental Vision to thrive and organically develop. Without a constant connection to nature, the primordial voice of the Soul will eventually fade into silence. Nature must become a constant companion.”

― Craig Williams, Entering the Desert

It can be interesting to work with the RWS deck in so far as that it was published in 1909, some say 10 but hey...what is in a year?! Interesting because the symbols represent pretty much what they always have and yet we can contemporise them into modern language and experiences.

The Hermit can be such a card.

Traditionally we can perceive the card as meaning taking time to be alone, contemplation and reflection, to withdraw from the madding crowd and to traverse within our inner reality. That space within that once realized will bring about self-awareness, proving that introspection is an inevitable aspect of transformation.

The Hermit signifies that through personal illumination we can illuminate others. Deeper still this card can tell us that we can trust that we have a guide and inspirer in the spirit world and that our prayers are important and always heard.

In more modern terms Hermit is saying ‘Hey, switch off the PC, phone and TV. Shut the front door, keep out the world, do some down time baby, you need it!’ Another Hermit style dialogue might go like, ‘You don’t need people right now, be alone, if you don’t like it now you will learn to love it later, only you can walk your path. Love your mind and soul, you are not deranged just take it easy, work out where you came from’.

In this current social reality (or illusion, depending on your viewpoint), there is a great need to feel some kind of connection and consistency.

We live on shifting sands and there is a sense of general exhaustion as we maintain a balance. However, we have become disconnected, separated and segregated from nature. For the most part we are encouraged to believe, by the movers and groovers, that we are not part of nature but we somehow live outside of it. When we realize that we are organic, part of a food chain, intrinsically linked to the cycles of the moon and seasons, it can be a shock!

The Hermit, through contemplation, holds the space for us to accept that we are a soul with a human and the human bit is as much a part of the birth, aging, disease and death process, the decay of matter, as the leaves on the tree in autumn. It is what we do with that understanding that counts.

We are all on a journey back to the Beloved.

The six pointed star or pentagram inside the lamp embodies the planets, sun, moon, mercury, venus and mars, the elements and can also represent the Merkaba. It is a soul vehicle that we all have and elevates us to the divine presence.

What happens when we let the light go dim?

The dark prevails and the dark side of the Hermit is the flawed, imperfect man believing that he will never be whole and so detaches himself from the world and becomes the reclusive, the island where the hedonism and decadence of modern culture can’t reach him. He renounces human passion, he denies the human journey of aspiration and achievement, instead choosing an internal dialogue which supports him from partaking in the emotional, everyday hurly burly of life.

In our search for spiritual truth we run a risk of becoming a Hermit in shadow.

We can criticise society to the point where it becomes unrecognisable. We can rail against the system so that we no longer have a capacity for anything but eventual self-torment.

In all of this one finds suppression, the very thing that probably shaped the rebel yell. Suppression leaves no room for creation. Spiritual stagnation and death must surely follow.

We have all met a critic, a nay-sayer or a bitter individual. There is something about this stereotype that somehow requires that their spirit becomes apparent in their features. All that resentment is certainly not a top tip for beauty either physically or within.

Deep tranquility, peace and being happy in solitude come from acceptance.

Calm and strength come from mental and emotional stability that is unshaken by external events. For the majority of us it is a work in progress, that is ok, that is how it should be. Self-realization is a path. The role of the Hermit is to prepare us for fulfillment and wholeness. He lives in the now. Reconnection, acceptance and self-belief are the keys to freedom for the Hermit.

  • Take time to be outdoors. Nature is the temple. Enjoy the beauty of the natural world and remember you are a part of it.

  • Create a prayer or petition to the Great Spirit, write it or say it as if you were having a conversation together.

  • Make a drawing of the six pointed star, at each point state something you are grateful for.

  • Imagine the Hermit’s lamp. If you were to bring more light into your world, where would it be?

  • Create a space in your home or garden that you can go to to have peace and quiet. Adorn it with familiar objects, art or anything that says something about you.

  • Meditate on the image of the Hermit. What message does he bring you?

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