This card its below the High Priestess in the Major Aracana’s three rows of seven, and these two cards are certainly similar. While the High Priestess represents intuition and the unconscious, the Hermit seems to represents a more conscious withdrawal into the unconscious or into one’s self for the purpose of contemplation related to a particular circumstance or issue. The Hermit also represents a wise guide helping us on our journey, which could be our own inner voice, or the voice of a person in our life. In this way, the Hermit is more connected to the outside world than the High Priestess and more focused on the exploration of the self, and she represents a temporary withdrawal from the outer world. If others wish to follow her into introspection or seclusion, she will welcome them and teach them.
The six-pointed star in the Efflorescent Tarot’s Hermit represents the combination of fire and water. The owl in the Animal Wisdom Tarot (“Keeper of the Light”) represents vision in darkness. I’m curious about the headless fish in Huszka’s portrayal, but I don’t have any ideas at this point for what they may represent. I love Joanna’s red panda Hermit!
A shadow of the Hermit could be feelings of isolation or fear of other people. The opposite / reverse of the Hermit could be a refusal to examine oneself, or it could indicate a “coming out of one’s shell” and taking life less seriously.
If I were to assign an element to the Hermit it might be water, air, and fire. Fire for the courage needed to honestly examine oneself; water for the unconscious aspect of the self exploration; and air for the wisdom represented by the Hermit.
I am intensely “Hermit-ing” in my own life right now. And I think I’m doing a pretty decent job of not being completely withdrawn. I retreat from the world to reflect and I go back out and try to put into action what I’ve learned about myself. While there’s still plenty to learn, I think this is the best I’ve done in a long time of being more Hermit-like than High Priestess-like (being trapped in my inner world, even when I need to leave).
I think at this moment in time, I also embody both the shadow and the reverse of the Hermit. Isolation and fear of others and trying to come out of my shell anyway.