Afternoon Tarot: RWS 9

Lighting the Way

Calm, Internal, Alone

The solitude of the Hermit is not the kind of loneliness that aches or harms. It is the kind of quiet solitude that allows you to seek, to listen, to journey and learn.

The light is strong enough to guide his steps, and dim enough to keep him from being distracted by things he doesn’t need to see right now. The staff helps him stay balanced and aids him in walking with a sure foot as he travels.

The staff could very well have been a gift from friends and family, or something he bought himself after receiving advice from a professional. Either way it helps him on this journey of searching for the proper answer.

That answer is most likely to a question about himself. The Hermit’s knowledge and trial are about knowing more of himself and what the right course of action is for him.

Sometimes as well it can be about just needing a moment to think – to sort out what it is you’re hearing, seeing, etc. and compiling it into a coherent shareable thought with others. I don’t function well in a lot of chaos, so I am rather fond of this card – having a quiet moment to think often leads to Light Bulb moments in abundance.


Inverted the Hermit is alone, bitter loneliness. Think of Carl from the movie UP – and his change from how he was when he wasn’t alone to how he became when he was alone. He was actively pushing away everyone and everything and being that classic Get Off My Lawn kind of Old Lonely Man.

The Hermit inverted isn’t journeying or growing, he’s sitting in the cold complaining that his butt’s cold and grousing that the light isn’t strong enough to be warm.

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