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9 The Hermit

By Ellygator
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(2015), graphite pencils on paper, 5.5"x10.5" backed with digital frame.

The Hermit depicts the archetype of the old, wise man who is both a seeker and a mentor. He stands for the retreat within ourselves, the need to seek quiet and seclusion in order to square things up within ourselves and to gain clarity about who we are and what we are supposed to do. The Hermit does teach self-awareness, but also the wisdom and enlightenment that comes from shutting out the noisy interruptions of everyday life, freeing us from distractions and concentrating on our own center.

The iconography of the Hermit is probably one of the most stable ones across most decks. In one permutation or another it nearly always shows an old, white-haired bearded man in a long robe in a barren and isolated landscape of mountains holding a lantern and a walking-stick.

I kept the motif of the old, lonely man, but I transposed him into a modern, urban setting. He is slowing picking his way along the pavement before a wall adorned with graffiti showing a mountainous landscape and long white roots surrounding him. He still has the walking stick, but I hung up the lantern behind him in the guise of a street-light fixed to the brickwork. Today our cities can be lonelier places than any wilderness. Old people seem to merge into the shadows with other people unwilling to see them, their children and grandchildren often living far away from them. For this old man loneliness is as much a burden as it is a way of life. The mural behind him equates the open mountainous scenery with freedom, and the long roots stand for a journey back to the center, to the core and to one's own deep roots. This way we see the ambivalence of the Hermit as isolation and a hardening of one's outer shell as well as a chance to free ourselves and get in touch with our own center.

In a spread the Hermit means that we need to listen to our own inner voice and make peace with who we are. Our guidance comes within and not from others. Sometimes finding out who we are can be disturbing and hard, but we need to understand it before we move back into the world. Are you stuck in self-destructive behaviors? Do you need to face up to truths about yourself? Do you have to heal yourself before you engage with others or attempt finding a partner? You should think carefully before you make choices and trust your instincts rather than others. If the card is in the position of an outside person, it may mean that you want to take the counsel of an older friend, mentor or relative who you consider as a guide or guardian.

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© 2015 - 2021 Ellygator
Comments6
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Rhian-Skyblade's avatar
You really have a wonderful way of interpreting the cards and on top of that using your own new images.
They match perfectly and totally reflect the spirit of those cards. I am still new and have a lot to learn about those cards. And yet, so far every card you have shown and explained here spoke to me :)
Ellygator's avatar
 Thanks so much! I am really happy I went for the challenge a second time and let myself pick my own images this time. The Harry Potter deck was fun, but it was using the subjects of another person's story. To really go after my own motifs feels good.
Sophia-Christina's avatar
Another wonderful piece!
Ellygator's avatar
Thank you! So happy you like it.
pearwood's avatar
For whom the hoary head is his badge and his crown.
Ellygator's avatar
Yes, the Hermit is an awesome archetype! Thanks!
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