Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum

Greater Arcana Study Group—The Hermit

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Tarot Special Interest > Rider-Waite-Smith


 
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 
Greater Arcana Study Group—The Hermit


The variation from the conventional models in this card is only that the lamp is not enveloped partially in the mantle of its bearer, who blends the idea of the Ancient of Days with the Light of the World. It is a star which shines in the lantern. I have said that this is a card of attainment, and to extend this conception the figure is seen holding up his beacon on an eminence. Therefore the Hermit is not, as Court de Gebelin explained, a wise man in search of truth and justice; nor is he, as a later explanation proposes, an especial example of experience. His beacon intimates that “where I am, you also may be.”

It is further a card which is understood quite incorrectly when it is connected with the idea of occult isolation, as the protection of personal magnetism against admixture. This is one of the frivolous renderings which we owe to Éliphas Lévi. It has been adopted by the French Order of Martinism and some of us have heard a great deal of the Silent and Unknown Philosophy enveloped by his mantle from the knowledge of the profane. In true Martinism, the significance of the term Philosophe inconnu [unknown Philosopher] was of another order. It did not refer to the intended concealment of the Instituted Mysteries, much less of their substitutes, but—like the card itself—to the truth that the Divine Mysteries secure their own protection from those who are unprepared.
Top   #1
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

The reference to Ancient of Days and Light of the World is difficult. It might refer to the Old and the New covenants, Law and Grace.

For Waite, the hexagram symbolized the addition of Spirit to our ordinary humanity. From Studies in Mysticism, 1906:
“The difference between the natural man, complete in his own degree, and the arch-natural man whom we understand by the term adept, is, in fact, the difference between the star of the microcosm with its five points, and the star of the macrocosm to which a sixth point is added in the symbolism, signifying the super-addition, over and above our humanity, of that consciousness in the spirit to which I have already referred.”
In Waite’s Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, the Great Symbol corresponding to the Hermit occupies path 20 from Chesed (Adeptus Exemptus) to Tiphareth (Adeptus Minor) and is called the Keeper of the Mysteries. The grade of Adeptus Exemptus is one of priesthood; much of the ritual is occupied with ideas of returning to the "lower" grades to minister to those still seeking the heights.

This example shows the type of covered lamp to which Waite refers. Lévi’s description is: “. . . a sage leaning on his staff, holding a lamp in front of him and enveloped completely in his cloak.” A lot of Marseille Hermits have the lamp partially covered.
Top   #2
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

I found some good stuff in Waite’s Adeptus Exemptus ritual in which he describes the 20th path and the Great Symbol of the "Hermit." Part of it provides an explanation of his cryptic statement in the PKT, “. . .who blends the idea of the Ancient of Days with the Light of the World.” The first quote is long and full of obscure terminology but I’ll post the whole thing for context and for anyone who might be interested. The part in bold is the key:
“The Paths of Return are travelled in thought only. The Adeptus Exemptus Novus stands at the Gates and looks. The Gates and Paths of Return are represented by the Great Symbols of the Paths. (The place of these is indicated by the Celebrant-in-Chief) The Path of Yod is called in our Secret Tradition the Intelligence of Will. It is the preparer, on the return journey of all created beings, so that they shall manifest the glory of the beginning. Yod is the Sign of the Covenant, in virtue of which Divine Graces are communicated below from above, or from God to man. It contains the measures of mercy reflected from the Supernal Triad. The Great Symbol of the Path represents the Keeper of the Secret Tradition and the Mysteries of the Rosy Cross, who descends from Chesed to Tiphereth, clothed in white raiment, bearing a Wand surmounted with the triple cross of the Tree of Life and having in his left hand the light of the Word. From one point of view the figure signifies the return of him who has attained in the Mountain of the Lord. He bears the glad tidings that the Word is found, because of resurrection from the dead, and is shewn forth in the flesh of man; but it is uttered in symbols only and clouded in forms of speech. For this reason the light shines through a lantern. The figure recalls therefore the Adeptus Exemptus, but it has the vestments of a Higher Grade, being those which you saw for the first time when the Sanctuary of the House of the Spirit was opened in the Third Point of the Mystery of Chesed. In its perfect understanding the figure represents therefore the power and authority of the Fourth Order, dwelling in the light of the world within, the World of Ascension, and holding the Secrets of the King. It enters Chesed under the veils of Bread and Wine, for the communication of Divine Substance to the soul, and thence it sends forth its messengers—bearers of the Secret Tradition which formulates Divine Experience in Geburah and Tiphereth. But the Path of Lamed, extending from Chesed to Netzach, is not travelled in our system, which is concerned with the descent of the graces through the channels of the Secret Church.”
The “Fourth Order” refers to the Supernals in general, and, more specifically in this case, Kether—the “Ancient of Days.” The “World of Ascension” is Daath. It is the highest grade of the Order and represents the highest possible spiritual plane available in human form. It is the intermediator between the Supernals and the three lower worlds:
“Daath is the Ark of the Eternal Covenant. The hope of the height is the hope of ascension therein. It is indeed the World of Ascension, wherein is a living stillness. It is the place of the Word in its fulness, an undifferentiated deep of being, withdrawn in the Supernals for ever. But as it withdraws inwardly so also it sets forth toward utterance, and from the Word in Daath flow down those symbols which are thought and speech at the highest.”
Waite’s statement “. . . who blends the idea of the Ancient of Days with the Light of the World.” now becomes clear. The Ancient of Days is the Hermit himself and the Light of the World is the light within the lamp, or the “Word.” Waite says “. . . from the Word in Daath flow down those symbols which are thought and speech at the highest.”;and from the first quote above, “. . . but it is uttered in symbols only and clouded in forms of speech. For this reason the light shines through a lantern.”

To sum it up, the light within the lamp represents the power and authority of the Supernals dwelling in Daath within. Presumably in Daath the Word of the Supernals is unveiled and perceived in "stillness" as quoted above, but below that, as it is "uttered" it is veiled in symbolism. This is great stuff from Waite himself explaining what each of the symbols represent!
Top   #3
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

Waite-Trinick "Hermit"
Top   #4
Teheuti's Avatar
Teheuti  Teheuti is offline
Resident
 
Join Date: 24 Aug 2003
Location: Northern California
Posts: 5,539
Teheuti 

Re: the star inside the lantern:

Waite in his poem “At the End of Things”:

“And a star I stole for the good of my soul, /
Lest the darkness came down on my sins... /
I carried the star; that star led me . . .”
Top   #5
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

A lot of people will be familiar with this illustration from Lévi’s Transcendental Magic. I ran across Waite’s description of it while perusing the book. It’s relevance to the Hermit seems clear enough.

“The Great Symbol of Solomon—The Double Triangle of Solomon, represented by the two Ancients of the Kabbalah; the Macroprosopus and the Microprosopus; the God of Light and the God of Reflections; mercy and vengeance; the white Jehovah and the black Jehovah.”
Top   #6
Abrac  Abrac is offline
Citizen
 
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466
Abrac 

I said "Waite's description" but it occurred to me it might be Levi's, I really don't know; but I don't think it matters that much, Waite certainly had read it.
Top   #7




 


 


Tarot Cards & Reviews Free Tarot Readings Tarot Books Tarot Card Meanings Tarot Forum
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2019 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.