The Hermit Thoth – Crowley Tarot | Thoth Tarot Deck
|Living in seclusion, escaping the burdens, retreating to the ego, isolating oneself.|
|Truth, knowledge, seeking the self (disillusionment and self-discipline lead to clear awareness).|
|Wisdom, enlightenment, emotional maturity.|
|Narcissism, difficulty, alienation, bitterness, hatred for life.|
|The deep within and embrace life seriously.|
I. Background of the Hermit Thoth Tarot card
1. The card
The card shows the most famous model of the old and wise man (Merlin, Taliesin, Abraham) as a seeker and a guide. Elderly people are primarily the embodiment of retreat, rest, separation and introvert as prerequisites for a person to focus on the essentials and crystallization of a person’s personality. So, the Hermit Thoth Tarot represents the time – which is not disturbed by the external environment – we have to become clear to ourselves because that is his goal to be dedicated to the deepest source of objects and complement Hierophant’s external knowledge with that inner knowledge source.
Through the act of turning away from his world, Hermit directs his interest in the source of all things: with the world egg or the “Orphic egg” embraced by the great Ophion snake. He was no longer interested in finding ideas that were protecting the spiritual realm in a dogmatic way, instead, he sought the truth behind the ideas. This requires caution, concentration, asceticism, perseverance, silence, regression, “going deep into the self”, and humility.
Hermit is a powerful embodiment of relaxation and the ability to concentrate on internal forces. Just like the Moon card – the crossed synthesis of what he formed – facing the expansion of inner space, this Hermit Thoth Tarot card focuses on exploring the spaces of consciousness. By doing so, he delves into the mysteries and the deepest abyss (Hell Hunter). This is not a simple rationalism problem. Like Merlin, he was the servant of the Moon Goddess, with a divine figure of three multiply three because he captured card number IX. His hand held an octahedral lamp (with eight faces), in which the sun radiated light into mysteries.
Number eight indicates two worlds that are flowing into each other. The eight-sided star and octahedron are seen as transitional forms between mundane squares and divine circles. They, therefore, show the culmination that we humans can achieve when we strive towards the God (sphere) from the globe (square). The Hermit sees the secret of the natural source, surpassing its fertility and abundance.
2. Thoth’s book
The wise old man is the key aspect of Thoth – the intellectual God of Egypt. Many people recognized him as the father of Tarot, and that is why Crowley named the deck “The Book of Thoth”. An ancient human story tells how he appears on a lotus flower at the beginning of time and will then produce a cosmic egg like a bird, and thus, create the world.
II. Analyze and describe the Hermit Thoth Tarot
1. Shape (wise man)
The Hermit Thoth Tarot corresponds to the prototype or “non-selfish servant of true self” (as opposed to Hierophant representing a “divine image of self”) who is seeking the truth in the soul of a human being. We can compare him to Diogenes, who walked through Athens in the sunbeams with illuminating light, and he answered the question of why he did this, “I am going to find an honest person!”.
b. Hand (lantern)
The man is holding a diamond at the center of the card, its inner part is illuminated by a sun with 16 sun rays. It illuminates the dark area below but also illuminates the sky above. Only light from the crystal creates a straight line. Everything else is hidden and looks like a snapshot of a natural movement that is flowing endlessly. Inside this eternal flow, the Hermit Thoth Tarot was able to see the “Orphic egg” and thus, could see the mysteries and primitive resources of life, through an opening but also closing immediately back. During his search, he did not even stop when he stood in front of the door to hell, this can be seen in the image of the tamed three-headed Hell Hunter Cerberus at his feet.
The symbol is associated with this card, the ancient Jewish Yod character, which contains all of 21 other characters. This character corresponds to the hand in the middle of the picture, holding the crystal illuminating the light into the darkness. A concept that is being concealed here, from which all other ideas will stand out.
c. Human figure
There is a Faustian point in the Hermit Thoth Tarot that is unmistakable. His stooping figure is not meant to describe old age, but rather a figure of toughness. This flexible movement is not the self that is reflected from perception but the focus and necessity of stepping back before taking other steps.
2. The surroundings (the icon)
a. Orphic egg (world egg)
“Orphic egg” represents the origin of all things. The fact that the Hermit perceives the nature of life in a moment in the middle of movement – has a wheat field in the back – showing the depth of the older man; he can see the mystery of creation or primitive resources of sentient beings. The Pelasgian myth of creation tells us that this egg is about Eurynome, the mother of all things.
At first, she emerged naked from the chaos, and because she could not find a place to set her feet, she separated the sky from the water. Then, she started dancing. She danced on a wave heading south and suddenly she saw someone. It was the north Boreas wind she released through her movements. She took him and molded him in her hands until he turned into a great Ophion snake, wrapped around her body and mated with her. Eurynome then became pregnant with the north wind and gave birth to the world egg. Ophion rolled around the egg seven times until it hatched. The word egg has hatched into the sun, moon, and earth with every living creature.
While the egg represents the old man’s liveliness and his mental-fantasy power, the sperm in the lower corner of the card corresponds to the reproductive impulse from which everything is formed, as long as it finds fertile soil. Crowley writes:
There is is a light hidden inside Mercury that spreads evenly to every part of the Universe; one of its titles is Psychopomps – the lead of the soul through hell. These symbols are indicated by his Serpent scepter, which is emerging from the Abyss, is a sperm that develops as a poison, and represents the fetus. Following him was Cerberus, his tamed three-headed Hell Hunter. The Hermit Thoth Tarot card shows the whole mystery of Life in its most secret operation.
c. Cerberus (hell)
Due to part of the scene in which the egg is touched by a light, from the lower half of the scene, there is a three-headed dog and an adult human being (a symbolic image of the old man) who can dive into the bottomless stream of the Moon Goddess (Lady Hulda) in which its gate once closed when he was searching for his senses.
The unaware abyss (the four roots of the light rays lie under the horizontal light) represents the uterus of the Great Mother who creates all life. Those who are investigating without fear of walking on the path leads back to the roots will receive great inspiration opened from the secret underground in the dark, leading to the unique creations that we have known through the works of Virgil and Dante. Hell exists within us. That is the place where the subconscious characters stretch their chains, where Pluto confines Persephone for a third of the year, or where Orpheus finds and once again loses his Eurydice.
d. Light pyramid (Heaven)
While four rays of light shine from the center of the lamp (Tiphareth) show the desire to acquire knowledge of the extraordinary things, the shining pyramid on the triangle’s surface connecting the four peaks of the light together symbolizes the “Dome of the Lord” or the vision of God. Sexual impulse has been freed to a great extent, a pure flow of endless energy that draws people, and above it, life is rising; come to the Lord, or as a body copy, to the shape of a divine person. The intersections at which light from the Universe intersects with the light from the ground (and the edges of the pyramid) are a vivid representation of what humans are experiencing as spiritual liberation, the enlightenment of the mind, or God.
III. Interpretation of the Hermit Thoth Tarot
1. Background of the Hermit Thoth Tarot (silence)
When people want to find the embodiment of truth, they do not realize that this will not make them become servants of truth, instead, will turn them into victims of the unrecognizable emptiness and constantly clinging to an image to find a purpose of life. Only when it comes out of the thesis, the patterns and the methods used to explain the world, and beyond words, knowledgeable people will know that the truth that humanity is talking about is actually not truth – and will remain silent. Only in the silence, nothing can be expressed in words, and therefore, it is no longer the image behind the truth but the truth behind the image.
2. Overview of the Hermit Thoth Tarot
Through the surrounding objects in the Hermit Thoth Tarot, we realize that we need to withdraw from the world and reconsider our position. That is when the self of us is adjusted to match the more mature requirements of life. This is why we withdraw from our daily lives to become more clear about our connections and goals. During these times, we will learn to be humble and accept our fleetingness. Such meditative periods will bring us back to our true nature.
The Hermit Thoth Tarot represents the time when there are inner questions, and sometimes, the external, concerning the search for truth, and the cruelest challenge says, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”(Book of Moses 3.19). When this knowledge is not imbued in reason but penetrates through the heart, there will be a crucial change of the conclusions which are made before. At that time, the Hermit helped us get ready before those big changes, the purpose of that was to help us grow in depth instead of breadth.
In the field of work, the Hermit Thoth Tarot indicates the time of reflection in which we will get clarity for what we really want to achieve in our work. This may lead to a reevaluation of previous concepts of success, recognition, credibility, commitment, money, and field of activity. In this particular aspect, we should listen to Hermit’s call when our field of activity looks like it is becoming dim and shallow despite the diligence and the richest of things happening.
Otherwise, we risk losing ourselves in the frenetic hustle of everyday life and will be swept away by the turbulent whirlpools of things. Although Hermit’s hastiness does not bring any splendor from the outside, deep down, there is profound contentment about a rich and full inner life.
This card is double for our personal relationships. Because it represents the search for light, its main meaning lies in deep recognition and certainty about what really important to us in relationships. This will either lead to voluntary abstinence towards a deeper experience of the two people, or a withdrawal from a relationship with false values for the person who asks the question.
The Hermit Thoth Tarot card can also show a time in life when we live without a companion. It is a valuable guide to reach a deeper understanding of living in loneliness. Hermit’s beliefs reach the climax of understanding when he needs inner guidance instead of an external relationship.