Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Weekly Wisdom: Silence & Solitude

in Card of the Week, Gaian Tarot

Gaian Tarot Hermit

This week’s card reminds us that, even though celebration is in the air, and there are cookies to be baked, gifts to be made, and a dozen other things to do — Mama Gaia Herself is slowing down, and dreaming deep dreams. Likewise, we need to schedule in quiet time during these busy days, to write in our journals, to read, to do a little sketching, and commune with the natural world.  To immerse ourselves in silence, stillness and mindfulness.

Here’s what I wrote about the Hermit in the Gaian Tarot companion book:

The Hermit retreats from the company of others to replenish his soul in solitude as he communes with the natural world. He listens to the calls of birds as he writes and sketches in his journal at twilight time. He ponders his own mortality, and the gifts and challenges of aging. His guardian is the Barred Owl, who sees keenly in the darkness and embodies silent wisdom.

From the sacred smoke of burning sage, visions rise of spirit animals. The Loon, with its primal eerie call, leads the Hermit into the waters of his dreams and ancestral memories. Wolf, the moon’s ally, reminds the Hermit that he is part of a pack or tribe, even when he spends time apart from it. The Merlin is a magical, shapeshifting raptor who shares its name with the Wise Old Man of Arthurian legend. All three are teachers of the Hermit’s soul.

When you get this card in a reading . . .

Your spirit is crying out for a time of sacred solitude. You need to withdraw from the world to focus on your inner life and spirituality. Perhaps you have been wounded in the “wars of the world,” or perhaps you are fatigued and empty from putting out so much energy, especially if you are a caregiver. Your well is empty and it needs to be filled.

Take some time out for a retreat. Go away to the mountains or the sea, by yourself, without partner or friends. Spend time outside in nature, observing the changes in your environment day by day. Your inner wisdom and sense of well-being will grow effortlessly the more time you spend outside. When you once again enter community life, others will be drawn to the light they see inside you and may come to you for guidance. For part of your purpose is to share what you’ve learned with others.


I retreat from the world in order to refresh my spirit.

What does this card say to you, dear Readers, especially at this time of year?  

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Loran Tue - Dec 13th 2011 12:00 pm

    I just wrote about needing time to retreat and spend quietly engaged “in the dark” on my site….Sort of…

    • Joanna Wed - Dec 14th 2011 6:32 am

      Beautiful piece that you wrote, Loran. Embracing the dark, but not allowing our thoughts and emotions to go dark. Yesterday I practiced being a Hermit by allowing myself to nap a lot, and read. Felt a little guilty playing hooky from work and my own self-imposed schedule, but reframed it as self-care. The Hermit would approve. 🙂

  • pooja Rathore Tue - Dec 13th 2011 10:54 pm

    The idea of journal writing which gaian tarot emphasises on is something i have not come across in other tarot decks i have worked with ,i loved your concept of journal writing ,putting things in your journal helps the mind feel at ease and comeout with insights you never thought of,many say its helps deal with stress and worries in a more constructive manner(as general habit is to keep thinking in mind about an issue and the mind gets bogged down which leads to further stress) I personally find journal writing very soothing it acts as a mind healer because all supressed thoughts of mind find a release in the form of words on paper and as mind feels light iam able to look at the situation from different perspective,its a wonderful concept you brought in through your tarot and deserve a pat for the wise idea – journal writing.
    Pooja Rathore

    • Joanna Wed - Dec 14th 2011 6:34 am

      Pooja, I know a number of Taroists who advocate journaling. My friend James Wells (author, reader and teacher) is one, and another friend, Corrine Kenner, wrote a book about it called “Tarot Journaling.” I agree it is a most important tool to have.

  • Loran Wed - Dec 14th 2011 6:52 am

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my post! Self-care is always important but it’s a challenge for us raised in this Puritan work-ethic culture (oh those humorless people!)

    I love using the Gaian tarot for Journaling. There are such juicy prompts in your book.