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Tyldwick - Hermit

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Tyldwick - Hermit


What I notice in the Hermit card:

lots of RED
lantern-like hanging lamp
fountain statuary (man) in wall niche

If you were to collect all the major arcana cards in this deck and fan them out, this one would stand out immediately because it is infused with the color red. Usually I associate red with passion, energy and the life force, but this doesn't seem to fit. In my former employment, I was a bookkeeper, so it wasn't surprising that the phrase "in the red or in the black" passed through my head. Being in the black means you are making enough money to pay bills and have some left over. Being in the red means you are operating with a deficit. So this card indicates the need for some spiritual accounting - not to find what is creating a hole in your wallet, but in your soul.

The lantern-type lamp obviously represents illumination. The man seeks clarity, and there are some dark places that he's going to have to shine the light on. Like the accountant, he's hoping to discover why he is spiritually overdrawn. Hopefully he'll find some answers, and one day he can hold out the lantern for others on the same quest.

The man and the stone piece he stands on appears to be a fountain statuary in a garden wall niche. He looks upward, almost as if he is seeing the stars for the first time. Now that he is alone and far from the hustle and bustle, there are less distractions and he glimpses things he hasn't noticed before. If this is a fountain, there is no water flowing, indicating the ability to detach and look at what is with objectivity rather than emotion. He is nearly naked (baring his soul), except for some sort of wrap around his waist. I am reminded of the phrase "girding your loins" that originated from a biblical expression that meant to tie up loose clothes so that you could work or travel more efficiently. In his case, it means he must prepare himself mentally for some difficult work ahead.

malpertuis.co.uk/2013
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Nemia  Nemia is offline
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This statue is Seneca, the philosopher, at the moment of his death. This black marble and alabaster statue is a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original, other pictures show the veins more strongly.

http://www.bridgemanart.com/en-GB/as...rble-b-w-photo

It's a grisly story, the suicide of Seneca.

http://voices.yahoo.com/how-did-sene...04.html?cat=37

And yes, death is something we do alone. I hope I didn't spoil the card for readers who didn't recognize Seneca. I would have preferred the idea of the man seeing the stars...
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My impression of this card is that it's somewhere underground and enclosed, rather than a fountain in a niche. It has that dank, subterranean feel to it, and it looks like a Victorian cellar or church crypt, or even an underground reservoir. The lower brickwork looks damp and stained. Up above the arch is the splay of a vaulted ceiling made from the same red brick, suggesting that this is somewhere very much enclosed – a hidden place where people rarely go. It would feel cold if it wasn't for the fiery red colour.

At the base is a really thick, solid foundation stone, but the figure (I didn't realise it was Seneca, thanks Nemia) is not standing on it, he's on a small knobbly platform suspended just above it, which looks like it's either made from holey stone or it's something very old and worn. As if he's not quite in contact with the solidity of the ground/real world. I originally thought he was standing in some kind of bowl which was obscuring his lower legs, but after looking at the statue in Nemia's link I see the statue doesn't have lower legs! So that knobbly platform serves in lieu of feet. The concept of 'feet of clay' springs to mind.

So many interpretations of the Hermit place him on a lofty mountain-top, the complete opposite of this dark, underground chamber – but it seems to me that the usual meaning still fits. It's a place set apart, a place of solitude and isolation. I see this as a very, very insular card. It's all about being withdrawn from the outer world.

Another thing that strikes me about this card is that the lantern (portrayed in many decks as being carried by the Hermit but in this case hanging way up out of his reach) is the only source of illumination and yet it doesn't seem to be lit. It has a brightness in its outer shape but the glass and interior is dark. The philosopher-hermit seems to be gazing up towards it anyway. What this says to me, with the general insular mood of the card, is that the wisdom and illumination he's seeking is not found in the physical lantern but is to be found within himself. If you view him as Seneca, peering through the veil on the cusp of physical death, this makes a lot of sense. The chamber also conjures an image of the condemned cell where certain Greek philosophers spent their final hours ... not necessarily to be seen in a grim context but as a state which must be passed through prior to spiritual illumination.

I'm intrigued by the bright bauble hovering just below the lantern. I can't tell whether it's something dangling off the lantern or a small blob of light.

The crypt/cellar/subterranean image may be unusual for the Hermit but I have quite a resonance with it. It captures the experience of hidden wisdom in a withdrawn, insular, reclusive situation. There's a long tradition in the British Mysteries that if you want to reach the stars you journey into the underworld to find them – as above, so below!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemia View Post
This statue is Seneca, the philosopher, at the moment of his death. This black marble and alabaster statue is a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original, other pictures show the veins more strongly.
It's a grisly story, the suicide of Seneca.

And yes, death is something we do alone. I hope I didn't spoil the card for readers who didn't recognize Seneca. I would have preferred the idea of the man seeing the stars...
This gives another perspective of the Hermit, knowing that it is Seneca! It gives that red background a different meaning too. From what I remember of the story, he was a longtime adviser and confidante of Nero. Nero eventually turned on him, and Seneca knowing that he would be killed in a grisly way opted for suicide. From what I understand, he first tried to open his veins and bleed out, but when this was too slow, he asked his physician for poison.

As you said, death is something we do alone, especially if it is suicide. But still it was a choice made, just as the Hermit makes the choice of solitude. Only we know what really goes on inside our hearts and heads.
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This quote seems appropriate for the Hermit card:

“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden."
― Seneca, Natural Questions
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