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How to Read the Hermit Tarot Card

Learn how to read the Hermit tarot card from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello, I’m Ellen Goldberg and I welcome to a tarot moment from the School of Oracles. In thissegment we’re going to look at the card of the hermit. The hermit is the ninth card in the series oftarot trumps, the major arcana. And nine is the number of completion as it is the last of the single digit numbers, in fact, completion is the name of the number nine. The hermit is the fool returned to the mountain top after an entire cycle of experience now, instead of being a fool,he’s a way shower. He’s holding a lamp to guide the way for others so that they too can reach the top of the mountain which is the symbol of spiritual illumination. “Make of yourself a lamp” said the Buddha and this is what the hermit has done. 

Now the hermit’s Hebrew letter is Yod, the actual building block of the entire Hebrew alphabet. Yod, Y-O-D, in English, is a magical letter, it’s a seed. This card is ruled by the sign of Virgo. Some say Virgo is a virgin which is not a virgin in the sense that we think of someone who has never had sex because actually the hermit is an intense spiritual, sexual ecstasy because we only see half of him; the other half is turned towards the divine.

Virgo is really virgin like a virgin forest meaning complete and whole and to herself. This card,given the attribution of sexual intercourse by the zephyr yet Sayda to the letter Yod because this is the casting of the seed of creation. The Virgo that we love is much more complex that people would know. It is where our chemical transformation takes place because Virgo rules the intestines and in the intestines real physical transformation takes place when you’re going to become an addict.

We find him alone, sometimes the card is drawn and you see it as dark night, but the hermit is never alone; he’s constantly accompanied by the divine. The staff of the hermit is the magic wand of the magician. Whenever you see a person drawn in the tarot in profile with a white beard, they’re showing you that this is a version of God. For the wise old man of meaning is always shown in profile; half towards us, half towards the spiritual reality. Sometimes this card is the inner teacher and it will show up in your dreams.

I find that the hermit shows up in dreams as a wise old man or a wise old woman more frequently than any other archetype. Very available and you caninvoke this when you go to sleep. It was said in the Greek gospels, in the Gnostic gospels that the original idea of solitary meant to be unified. In fact,the Christ said, “I, Jesus, say this, that when a person finds themselves solitary they will be filled with light but if they are divided, they will be filled with darkness”. ‘
When this card comes in your reading on its upper polarity it has to do with union, it has to do with being taken care of and the presence of the inner teacher.

It’s wise, it has foresight, this provision because Virgo takes care of the world and feeds the world, she rules the time of the harvest. When this card is on its lower polarity, you may find yourself divided from your own inner nature, true solitary, feeling isolation. Or instead of the wonderful maturity that this card brings when it is used in its highest sense, you may find someone with a Peter Pan Complex who refuses to grow up. Immaturity, refusing to take any provisions for the future and just kind of like the ant and the grasshopper. The grasshopper just living for today and not thinking about what may come tomorrow.

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