Recently I had the occasion to attend the One of a Kind Show. The beautiful lights I saw there made me think of the Hermit card in the Tarot. Card number IX, in the major arcana of the tarot, the Hermit is alone with his thoughts. IN the RWS deck, a solitary bearded man dressed in a grey robe stands on small white peaks. His robe almost matches the background of the card. He holds a staff and a lantern. His gaze is either downturned or his eyes are closed.
The grey robe he wears makes me think of a metaphorical gift I once witnessed from one of my mentors. In our cohort he gave a paintbox full of grey to a student. He offered the idea that in life there are many shades of grey. Black and white, he suggested are absolutes that can inform us, yet they do not yield to interpretation, perspective, culture, upbringing and one’s personal geography. I see the hermits robe as what he holds inside. He is considering many ways of being. He is introspective about the lessons he has gathered.
The light he carries is so close it is almost as if he cannot see it. Or perhaps if he gazes at the light the truth might be illuminated. Although the light is not terribly bright, I see it as representing a truth that might be blinding, or one that the lantern-bearer is not ready to receive. This explains the hermit’s downward gaze. The light is there, the knowledge is waiting to be examined and to find a place in the Hermit’s thoughts. in order to be or bring light he needs to inhabit it, making it a part of his thinking, his story, his logic. In order to become or share it, he must prepare himself.
Inner knowledge often starts with a glimmer. Rare is the personal quest that yields all the secrets in one moment. When I am able to be still, contemplate and consider, inner light often seems more inviting. When the light of truth is forced upon me, I tend to see it as glare. Getting lost in all the possible answers is like being in a forest. There is so much to take in. Little things to notice lead me on to something else more, but it takes time to take in all there is to learn in any quest. It takes time to process all the information that comes from so many sources. Getting away, shutting off electronics, turning off the seemingly endless noise, sights and sounds provides clarity. Inward focus allows for outward clarity. When the light of truth shines forth the Hermit can move on, return from his inner quest and be a light bearer for others.