Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Hermit (IX) from Gioseppe Maria Mitelli Tarot,
commissioned in Bologna, 1664

I've been fascinated by this version of The Hermit ever since I first came across it in The Art of Tarot. I can't say I understand its symbolism, only that it speaks to me very deeply the way my dreams sometimes do, stirring some wordless depth and coaxing a puzzled recognition.

I've been thinking a lot about this particular Hermit recently as I feel I've been stumbling along in my life, both literally (knee osteoarthritis acting up) and figuratively (you don't want the details :-D). At the same time I know there have been times when I have flown, balanced and energized. How is it one finds one's self in either state at any given time? That's just some personal projection on to this version of IX that I think of from time to time.

At another time when I sat with this version of The Hermit I had thought, so, we are able to fly, why is it we do not? And at yet another time I thought "in this world we stumble, in others we fly..." We are creatures of both flesh and spirit.

As to how these musings might fit in with the more traditional sense of IX? Maybe: the road to wisdom is long; sometimes we fly, sometimes we crawl or stumble. Also, maybe that aspect of The Hermit that represents the "wounded healer" (those who are wounded sometimes become healers themselves) can be seen in this rendition.

P.S. added hours after posting: A friend just emailed me a link to a article on poetry and animals. In it is this paragraph:

"In other cases, the animal becomes a metaphor to venerate humanity, or more specifically, the poet, as in "The Albatross" by Charles Baudelaire. The poem follows a majestic bird after it is captured for fun by the crew of a ship, and describes its awkward appearance on board and its humiliation by the deck hands. The final stanza, here translated by Richard Howard, declares:

The Poet is like this monarch of the clouds
Riding the storm above the marksman's range;
Exiled on the ground, hooted and jeered,
He cannot walk because of his great wings."

Wow! How's that for a more painful take on this version of The Hermit? (See also the comments to this post, made before I received this link.)

To view two other versions of The Hermit card and read some of the other sorts of meanings I've seen for IX over the years, click here.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry and Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka).****

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Anonymous Joneve said...

What a wonderful card! This, to me, is indeed the hermit living in the world of the wounded, yet with wings to show for his endurance. I can see him in his angel future without the crutches, wings spread. Thanks so much for presenting him.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

And thank you, Joneve, for your vision of this Hermit. I'd not thought of him in quite the way you suggest. Guess my saturnine (I'm a Capricorn) nature has tended to emphasize the "wounded" aspect. :-)

I'd only add that the wings he has to show for his endurance, can and do act as inspiration and guidance for others. And that is a traditional meaning for IX: one who teaches simply by being who one is.

Again, thanks, your comment helped me connect this version to others. Odd, isn't it, that I think of more recent versions as "traditional" when this is one of the oldest in existence. :-D

9:31 AM  

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