When these forces emerge, we are called to ask bigger, broader existential questions about the purpose and meaning of our lives. We go on vision quests or attend artistic or silent retreats. We meditate, enter psychoanalysis, or engage in dreamwork, giving voice to the hidden parts of the psyche that can only be heard in conditions of quiet stillness.
This card’s imagery also evokes an archetypal wisdom figure who helps guide others through their inner process. This is the teacher, sage, guru, mentor, therapist, or sponsor who offers us direction, having walked their own difficult path, and now holding a beacon out for us to follow.
This may be an external process, in which we seek out a teacher, or step into our own role in guiding others. This may also be a completely internal dynamic, as you are invited to make contact with your own inner guides. Psychedelic assisted therapy frequently refers to “inner healing intelligence,” and practitioners are trained to set aside their agendas and allow this force to do the work.
Like all powerful archetypes, we may notice where it begins to tip over into its shadow. Under the influence of the Hermit, we can be swept away by fears about the outside world or social paranoia, and move into extreme isolation and avoidance. We may shut down into ruminative depression, refusing to participate in life.
In moments of discernment, we can ask ourselves: am I looking inward in an attempt to find or discover something, or turning away to escape something?