Understanding Tarot: The Hermit

hermit tarot
Tarot card art from the Rider-Waite Smith Tarot Deck
This article is written by Tarot Reader, Claire Chilvers. You can find out more about her insights and readings at @ClaireChilversTarot

Feeling your way through the dark with The Hermit

As I have been working my way through the Fool’s Journey, I have become a little more in tune with when they are supposed to be written.

It seems that as we are all holding hands and walking through this Tarot journey together, the Universe gives me a nudge when it is time to examine the next character we shall meet along our adventure.

This morning I woke with a song in my head I couldn’t shake. It was by a Scottish Singer called KT Tunstall, titled ‘Through the Dark’

I recognised it instantly as a message that it was time to write this article.

It was ‘my’ song, a few years ago, (when I was going through a dark period in my life). I used to find myself listening to this song regularly, usually resulting in me crying and wondering where on Earth I was going to end up, but, its words gave me hope, comfort, and reassurance that the Universe had my back.

In the song, she sings about “Trying to find a light on somewhere”, and it made me think of The Hermit in his dark place with the six pointed star in his lantern illuminating his path.

The Hermit’s number is nine, which is a number that is often associated with nearing the end of a cycle, but, this card is also connected to the slow, moving, grounded, steady pace of Virgo, and as we join The Hermit in his dark cave, that slow energy can feel quite oppressive to some.

Questions such as- “Will this cycle ever end?”, “Will we ever get out of this place?”, “I feel stuck,” are often mentioned when The Hermit appears in a reading, and are also relevant to our own worldly situation at the moment. 

As we are often reminded, our lives do move in cycles and neither the good nor the bad last forever. But, what the Hermit is offering us, (whether we want it or not), is a period of solitude and reflection.

The Universe seems determined to give us this too, with an intense period of planetary retrogrades over these next few months and by locking us all in our homes while it happens. The Universe is pushing us to relate to The Hermit more than ever! So we must ask ourselves why?

The Hermit is giving us an opportunity to learn, to contemplate, to see very clearly the difference between light and dark.

What is the point of us moving through our journey of life if we do not learn from the experience?

So many of the previous characters we have met so far in our Tarot journey have impressed us with their magical qualities. The Hermit’s qualities are less showy but, equally as important.

Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are his strengths. His age depicts that we could learn a lot from the life he has experienced, which may save us the time of making the same mistakes he once did as a younger soul.

History repeats itself over and over again, but, we are now being given the opportunity to change the world for the better, perhaps we need to see this and learn from it, so we do not make the same mistakes? 

The negative aspect to The Hermit is that he chooses to stay in his cave, he does not wish to connect with human life and prefers his company to be more spiritual.

But, he still teaches with the hope that someone will eventually learn the lessons so well that the world will be a better place (after all The World is our ultimate destination in this Tarot journey).

So, what has become of our Fool at this time in his life?


I imagine by the time he meets The Hermit (as he has strolled with us through the earlier articles), he resonates with The Hermit’s disillusionment.

Having battled his way through his young life and learned some harsh lessons as he met The Lovers, The Chariot, and Strength, I wonder whether he needs a little break?

He may well be embracing this time to take a much needed pause from life, and you may resonate with this as well?

Someone once said to me, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint”. We cannot race through it at the pace of Usain Bolt from start to finish. We need to learn to pace ourselves. It seems The Hermit is about to give us, and The Fool, a very important lesson in taking things slowly.

This slower pace leads to enlightenment. He sits alone in his cave to meditate and to seek the answers to his questions, which he knows are within his own soul.

He teaches us that we all have the ability to find our own path, the answers are within us, and if we stop ourselves from being distracted from the busy human world we will be able to find the answers for ourselves.

Imagine, for a moment, finding yourself in a dark cave. You cannot see anything around you but have been told there is a way out. Then someone gives you a small light which only illuminates the immediate space in front of you.

To understand your surroundings you need to shuffle slowly, staring intently at every detail that you can see in close proximity.

Much like the song I sung this morning, you are feeling your way through the dark. Slowly, your senses will begin to kick in, where your eyes are limited, your ears may hear water or birds singing, your nose may smell fresh air, the hairs on your arms may stand up as they feel a breeze and, of course, your intuition and knowing will be heightened too.

There was always a way out, but, you needed to learn new skills and be patient to get there, and once you find the exit and breathe in the fresh air and feel the sunlight on your face, how rejuvenated you feel.

How much you have learned about yourself, how much you have matured? Was there a part of you that wanted to stay in the cave forever, frightened to move on?

Possibly, but, by persevering you have single-handedly accomplished an abundance of personal growth and a newfound spiritual connection with your intuition and guides. You have learned a lot in this dark, scary place.

For The Fool, he meets The Hermit at a time when his own self-esteem has been depleted and he needs to boost his confidence again.

We’ve all been there, we all know how it feels, and I resonated with this when I was reminded of the person I was all those years ago, when KT Tunstall’s song was my daily anthem.

I came out of that dark period of my life, braver, wiser and ready to start a new cycle full of hope and optimism.

I like to think that is The Hermit’s job in the Tarot, to guide us all gently through while we learn that lesson. I imagine him feeling as proud as a teacher on graduation day, when The Fool finds it within himself to emerge from the sanctuary of that dark cave and continue with his life.

I feel The Hermit will also have a renewed sense of faith as he sends another young Fool out into the world determined to continue on their path for the highest good.

One by one, he will patiently teach us all.

And, as with everything in the Universe the timing of this card is impeccable.

The next card in the sequence is The Wheel of Fortune, the end of a cycle and the start of a new one where anything can happen, so The Fool needs to be ready.

But, with his energy restored and his faith renewed, on our Fool continues along his path, and, so do we.

About the author

Claire Chilvers

Claire Chilvers is a writer and tarot reader and lives in Essex, UK. She offers tarot readings to clients in the UK and around the world via video calls (Skype usually), if you would like a reading please contact her at clairechilverstarot@yahoo.com.