The Happy Hermit

October 25, 2009 § Leave a comment


Is there any other tarot deck that shows the Hermit so utterly at peace and full of joy as the Haindl? I can’t think of one.

This card is a reminder that we are never alone, even when we are on our own. The Hermit revels in his solitude because it is only then that he can truly connect with the world. Look at all the birds, owls and spirits in the image. See how he flings his arms wide in joyful recognition of them. See how the light from his lamp glows with the same white intensity as the light in the sky – a sign that he has captured for himself a small part of the magic of existence. All this and not a soul to speak to – no friends, no family, no internet buddies.

I am trying to be more hermit-like at the moment but it’s not as easy as it looks. In the Reader’s Handbook, Rachel Pollack writes:

“When people ask us ‘How are things for you these days?’ how often do we answer ‘Too busy’. All the things that take up so much of our time seem very valid. Taken individually, they probably are. And yet, together they create a life with no chance to discover ourselves.”

The Hermit advocates a withdrawal from people and activity but how exactly does one achieve that with a family and a job and goals? I guess one answer is that it isn’t supposed to be easy – that’s the whole point. That’s why there’s a whole Major Arcana card dedicated to the notion. It’s a challenge, a life lesson that needs to be learned. It requires us to take a long, hard look at how we’re spending our time, what we’re doing with all those precious minutes. Could they be better spent standing on a mountaintop with our arms flung wide to the sky?

In my case, I think I’m taking a small step in the right direction by spending more time with the Haindl. I am going to go back to drawing a card a week. For me, the Haindl is my quiet place, the place where I find joyful solitude and where I can discover myself. It’s not ideal but I think it’s the best I can manage at the moment. That’s not avoiding the question…it’s just being realistic. Haindl’s Hermit holds a little piece of the light of the world in his hand. If, through a few minutes a day spent looking at a tarot card, I can share in some of that light then that’s a huge step forward from living in spiritual darkness.

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