Sunday, 7 August 2011

reaching the summit

Sunday is so often a day of quiet and contemplation after the madness of the six days prior. It seems like a good day to address the meaning of The Hermit. The card is the essence of solitary life and speaks about privacy, segregation and deep, isolated thought. But one thing that's often overlooked when The Hermit presents itself in a reading is that this private, lone figure isn't cowering away in some cave or hiding to try and avoid the truth - he's actually standing at the top of a mountain. For me, this is the card's symbolic lynch pin. Something has been achieved through the path of silence and loneliness. There has been a solitary time during which certain aspects of the personality or spiritual outlook have been shaped, altered, buried or shaken up. Sometimes loneliness is the key ingredient necessary for this kind of evolution and it works wonders. When The Hermit is drawn in a spread to represent the querent its strongest message is that the time for being a lone wolf is over. The aim of that path has been reached successfully and now all of the focus needs to be on how to get back down the mountain side. The poignant suggestion is that a mountain is not a staircase. There's no quick and easy way to make your descent. You get to choose which path will be taken. One side of the mountain is steep, rocky and unpredictable. The other is a more gradual decline. The road back down to the wider population will be navigated with the benefit of your new found wisdom. Easing yourself back into social dynamics or family connections slowly is important. If you've taken a break from work or been on a holiday, bring yourself back to normality in a controlled, relaxed way - don't take on too much.

When you get down to the base of your mountain and find yourself surrounded by people again, it's going to feel daunting and uncomfortable to an extent. It's been a while since social activity has taken the helm and you may feel misunderstood or overlooked. The last thing you should do is run back up to the summit for the safety of your own little world. 'No man is an island' and all that. When The Hermit is drawn in often signifies a period of being a counsellor and a source of support. Your presence is needed by those in your life and they will be asking for your guidance so do what you can to use the lessons you've learned in order to help others. This will make you feel rejuvenated.

The Hermit is also a reminder. It's telling the querent that periods of time alone are important and should be enjoyed sporadically. Are you the kind of person who fears being alone and always needs to have a packed schedule to avoid the boredom or depression that comes on when you're in your own company? The Hermit is the perfect card to receive, since it speaks highly of the ability to be alone and entertain yourself. Use quiet time in your own company for clarity and meditative thought but don't drop anchor there! It's a big world and it's richer for your presence.

A good quotation has just come to mind, which I often use when I'm feeling like I'd rather be a hermit and stay in writing than go out and see friends:

"Who are you to sit down and write if you've not stood up to live?"
- Henry David Thoreau

Remember - in order to learn from experiences you need to have experiences first! Get out there.