The Hermit as Teacher

This card is from The Enchanted Tarot by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber.

I think the Hermit often gets a bad rap. Sometimes when people describe a person as a “hermit” or a “recluse,” they mean this in a damaged kind of way. The Hermit, though, is an archetype of powerful insight and wisdom — at least in mythology and in the world of The Tarot.

The Hermit seeks profound understanding through time away from distraction. The time alone a Hermit takes is mindful, meaningful, and patient. A person with Hermit energy looks inside (instead of outside) for answers and seeks to find her/his inner light. Does this sound like you?

Not everyone who finds themselves with hermitish energy, however, is doing so consciously, with the intention of withdrawing in order to find greater insight and deep answers to important questions. There have been times in my life when I withdrew from life due to grief, loss, fear, anxiety, and depression. But I did find the answers I was looking for during times alone and away from distractions. It’s as if the natural inclination to recede during hard times is the archetypal Hermit drawing us inward. When times are hard, look to the Hermit as a source of power — as a way for you to fill the well with love and understanding. Then re-enter the world feeling a bit more sure of yourself.

Next time you feel yourself naturally withdrawing, take some time to add a little intention to your time alone. What do you see and feel in yourself that is important to you right now?  And for those of you who don’t naturally hermitize yourselves (what fun to play with the word hermit!), try seeking the inner path to illumination once in a while.

Several years ago, my friend Jennifer gave me “homework” to live on the island of my bed four hours. I was to bring to my bed everything I needed for that four hours — food, water, journals, books, etc. — and to live on that island for an afternoon. It was heavenly!  And it was intentional Hermit Time. For those not used to creating this kind of  internally-focused downtime, the “Island-of-the-Bed” exercise is a great one.

Even if it is not your natural inclination, see if you can honor the way of the quiet wanderer of your inner landscape. What becomes illuminated in the dark, quiet depths of time away from the hustle and bustle around you? Take a day off work and call it your Hermit Day or instead of going to a social event, stay home for some quality Hermit Time on your Island of the Bed. Be mindful, intentional. Listen deeply. Take a flashlight if you are afraid of the dark. And most importantly, honor that you have everything you need already inside you; it’s time to be an open-minded guide for yourself.


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
This entry was posted in grief and loss, healing, inspiration, life lessons, personal growth. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Hermit as Teacher

  1. Pingback: A Hermit Failure «

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