Touchstone Tarot~The Hermit

All Is One

Here's the thread GreenMoonBeam was talking about. I thought I'd just go ahead and start this.

I also think he looks crippled, but this could be just an odd posture.

I'll be back in a moment.

All Is One

Okay, I finally made it back.

I can see what GMB meant about the Hermit looking possibly crippled but I have another idea. Because of the way he is holding his hands and arms, it appears to me that he is bowing to the deer in particular, but perhaps bowing to the night, the forest, and all of nature.

The deer and the owl seem to be leaning forward attentively towards the Hermit. His lantern seems more of a tool than the traditional RWS Hermit in which it is sort of a lonely beacon in a more barren landscape. This Hermit seems much more a part of the forest, and he communes with the trees, the wild creatures and other more mysterious kinds of life that live in the forest with him. So he is less isolated and alone than the RWS Hermit. This Hermit has shut himself from human contact, but not from the society of living creatures.


"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

This hermit seems a bit like the desert fathers, but instead of the desert, he has chosen the forest. He comes not to hide away, but to see the truth within himself. By being alone, and living simply, he is not distracted or too busy to see this truth.

“If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi

This hermit also reminds me of St. Francis, who loved the animals as much as people. When I saw his strange posture, I thought perhaps the animals had alerted him to another injured animal. He was in such a hurry to care for it, that he had to stop suddenly when he came upon it (which is why the lantern swings outward). The other animals look with concern upon the animal (or person?) we do not see that needs help. This is the part of the hermit that is willing to assist others.


I am happy to see that in this card the Hermit IS St. Francis!

St. Francis is not only one of the few Saints I know, but he is my very favorite! I love animals and am happy that they get a patron saint!
As St. Francis cares for the animals, perhaps he is about to give aid to the Stag who is injured. He is kind of leaning in as though he is about to look at something. I totally agree Bodhran! The Hermit is about turning inward, but I think it is also about turning inward so that you can help others in helping yourself.

I love the St. Francis quote too and think that is so true. It is said that you can tell a lot about a society in how it treats its animals and children! Those who harm animals have serious psychological problems, and a lot of people don't realize how serious these offenses should be taken.

All Is One

I looked up the Hermit in "The Tarot Book" by Jana Riley pertinent to a discussion I was having elsewhere, and I found something that might be interesting.

"The Hermit is time because, just as time, he is "being" rather than "becoming." Time is what we use to measure our perceptions."

This would seem to fit in well with his being St. Francis.

Jana Riley is of the Crowley/Thoth school, but I find her books work for any deck. I'm more of the Crowley/Thoth school than I like to admit to myself, and I grow more so with the passing guessed it, time. I find that the Touchstone works perfectly with that tradition.

Actually, in these last few days, I've done more readings for others with the Touchstone and some surprisingly fluid and eloquent readings have occurred.


So strange to think of being and not becomming. My therapist finally got this into my head and I have to say that it was a difficult concept for me to wrap my mind around!

The Hermit has indeed shut off all of the external AND (here's the tricky part) internal rhetoric and just is. That is the essense of the Hermit, cool cool AIO I like that interpretation. I think it adds so much more to just the getting away, being alone, and discovering oneself interpretation.

In the RWS symbolism the Hermit is on a craggy peak and it is very dark and sparse. Not a paradise by any means. I think thinking of the Hermit as one who goes to a painful place niside and just IS for awhile adds to his journey and recognizes what a difficult one it truly is.

The animals in this card remind me too that animals live in the moment, and we should do the same.

All Is One

Minrice said:
The animals in this card remind me too that animals live in the moment, and we should do the same.

I didn't think of that, Minrice. I like that concept.

I would love to be my cat, Rudy. He hasn't got a care in the world. We're taking him in to get fixed tomorrow, but as soon as it's over, it's over. He won't be worried about it beforehand and once it's done, he'll forget all about it. He thinks about now, and how to get more food now. Maybe there are some other kitty thoughts in there that I'll never know, but I doubt he worries too much.


Animals are totally like that! They think about the here and now, and there is a lot of freedom in that. My dogs are an inspiration to me because they were both starving and wandering the streets before they were found and put in shelters. Macie was skin and bones, but she was in a better place still than Pancho who was covered in poop and in an awful, overcrowded shelter where he contracted different kinds of worms and a bacterial infection before I adopted him.

Animals don't give up or sink into despair, which we humans so often do. Had I been in the above situation I might have given up. But determination to live and live in the moment is indeed a quality animals are blessed with, and it's a quality the Hermit and perhaps St. Francis himself have discovered!

All Is One

Depression has been a problem for me all of my life. I've had a lot of treatment for it and they all think that meds and looking for a cause in your childhood will help. I'm not saying that won't help many, but it didn't help me. I have spent years and years as a recluse, writing, reading, running, but purposely alone. I relate so well to this card.

I have grown out of my depression now, but many other factors were involved. People are so different. There are some people who don't want the things that society tells you you should want. I was like that. Now I want a family, but I'm 47 years old. I've spent my time alone and now I'm ready to branch out.

The Hermit may be in seclusion for a reason. There may be a spiritual quest involved. When he attains what he is searching for on his spiritual quest after months or years alone, he may emerge from the forest and rejoin the company of others, even if it is only his close family.

On the other hand, a life alone suits many people quite well.