Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016: The Year of the Hermit
Original Writing by Kathryn Ravenwood

The Hermit – from the Cosmic Tribe Tarot, Stevee Postman/Eric Ganther

The beginning of a new year brings us a turn on the wheel of the Tarot. The numbers of 2016 add up to 9: the number of The Hermit in the Major Arcana. What this means is that for the entire year the Hermit will be an energy archetype for us. Notice that the Hermit does not carry a huge spotlight to point the way. Rather it is a small lantern illuminating only  the space around him. A slim crescent moon above leaves the night mostly dark. The Hermit is poised at a doorway indicating a passage is at hand.

That passage is the journey inward and the Hermit is our guide. After a year of exploring Strength (card #8 from 2015) in ourselves, in those around us, and in the world, we have, hopefully, achieved a deeper level of self-understanding about what makes us strong, what our weaknesses might be, and possibly how we (or others) misuse strength to compensate for those weaknesses.

Now it is time to  go within, shining the Hermit’s light of wisdom for our own enlightenment. Each of us must evaluate and understand not just our strengths and weaknesses, but our very  essence, our true self. We must contemplate the passage of our own life so far. The outside world is less of a focus now. Yes, we still have to live and function “out there” but the Hermit calls us to discover the inward landscape. This is a journey many avoid. It is not for the weak - thus we have been given a year of Strength to prepare us.

The Hermit explores the underworld of her own nature. She is accompanied by Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance.  As Eric Ganther wrote, “two of her heads look forward, keeping distracting thoughts of the future at bay, a third looks behind to keep ghosts from past situations from interfering.”  Discovering the truth of who we are requires us to be focused and present. We all need time out to discover the wisdom that awaits us beyond the walls of daily routine, mindlessness, disruptions, and pre-conceived reality. But within those walls is a dark doorway – the doorway the Hermit must walk through. 

The Hermit carries a light in one hand indicating others might follow close behind, but the real light shines within. This is perhaps my favorite Hermit card of all the decks. While standing in the dark, unable to see very far beyond the small lantern, the Hermit is illuminated with all of life within her. It reminds us that we are the center of life, we are the embodiment of the Divine, we are each a beautiful landscape giving hope, light, and solace to those who still seek their way in the darkness. Truth does not lie in the superficial realms. It is not an easy prize.  It is not “microwave enlightenment.” Truth is a process that takes our whole lifetime. There is always something else to discover, another season to explore in the landscape of our private existence. 

Honor the Hermit in you. Get to know her/him on a deeper level this year. Follow the lantern of truth to explore the underworld of your darker realms.  Take some time out.  Go to your favorite place and spend time alone, just be-ing with yourself. Make time and space for Spirit to reach you. Ask and listen. Dim the lights, turn off the electronics, soak in a soothing bath, take a long walk, spend time with your altars. Enjoy some solitude. (When was the last time you really did that?) There is nothing so dark inside us that the beautiful nature of who we really are cannot shine through and illuminate.

Kathryn Ravenwood – January 1, 2016  (

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