Earth Wisdom Tarot Sacred Art

Weekly Wisdom: Retreating and Returning

in Card of the Week, Spiritual Practice, Tarot

Gaian Tarot Hermit

In my Gaian Soul Practices classes, I send out an email every day with a journaling prompt. The folks in the current class are preparing to dedicate themselves to their own True Paths at Candlemas / Imbolc next week, so this week’s journal prompts are in preparation for that.

This morning’s question was:  What is it I am meant to do in this lifetime?

Even though I am already pretty certain of the answer to that question, I think it never hurts to go back to it on a regular basis, to get in touch with the refinements to our soul’s calling as we age and grow.

(One woman in the class, Maria, answered this question on her own blog this morning.)

We can journal in response to these questions, of course, without pulling a tarot or oracle card.  But pulling a card often sparks us in such delightful, unexpected ways!

In answer to my question, I pulled . . . The Hermit.  And I had to laugh, because I am spending a lot of time writing and making art in my journal these days, and teaching the folks in my classes to do the same.  Journaling (with words, art and photography) is one of the core Gaian Soul Practices.

And my Gaian Hermit, of course, is writing in his nature journal, listening to birdsong, and turning his inner eye to the unseen world.

Here is what I wrote in my own journal this morning:

“I am meant to have times of retreat and getting away from the world, in order to connect with who I am truly am, with my Muse, my Goddess, and my own deep desires, so that I can come back and hold up a metaphorical lamp for others, to light the way for them.

I am Teacher and Healer and Artist. I have much to share. Others follow and learn from me.

As I follow and learn from others.

Still, that time alone, with journal and pen and paper, is crucial — critical — to hearing my own inner voice and the voice of Spirit.

Blessed be for time alone.  Blessed be for time with others.”

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 the Hermit say to you, dear Readers?

And . . . what card do you pull in answer to the question:  What is it I am meant to do in this lifetime?

Thoughtful, sparkling comments. . .

  • Jordan Hoggard Tue - Jan 24th 2012 10:48 am

    “Hermit . . . I retreat from the world in order to refresh my spirit. What does the Hermit say to you, dear Readers? And . . . what card do you pull in answer to the question: What is it I am meant to do in this lifetime?”

    Perfect timing for this! And, the solitude I have is to look and hear things differently, to tune my familiar ears more to resonate more with how I naturally live things, see in myself what I have not seen before, looked over or overlooked. And, I have been working with my astrology chart and Tarot, and in light of having multiple #15 The Devil correspondences, I turned to your Gaian Tarot for my chart ruler Devil. #15 Bindweed. An interesting irony came to me in regard to “What holds me in bondage?” that The Hermit (pretty much me right now) resonated with as well.

    Bindweed. As a gardener bindweed was part of my morning ritual, noting it by its double-spade leaf-sprout, the time when it can be effortlessly pulled up up. Weeding WAS a discipline, and as The Hermit, rituals had eroded, I was wandering. Stepped back in to them last week differently, very Hermit, seeing/activating familiar thinfs differently,

    and so the card I pull in regards to, “What is it I am meant to do in this lifetime?” is:

    (Doing my treasure of the stones — top card = stone card, bottom card = treasure discovered shaking off the sand and turning over the stone to activate the top card)
    ~ Two of Earth . . . embracing the most important, lifeful connections
    ~ Five of Fire . . . to create energy from chaos to inspire others, to guide people to activate the potential of their flame.

    ~ “living in water while breathing the air”, a foot on both sides looking at psychic contents like art in a museum, pieces in a gallery
    ~ “courageously face my fears”, facing them rather than fight or flight . . . What do they have to say? What do they have to teach me?

    Sitting with this for a bit. . .

    • Joanna Wed - Jan 25th 2012 8:12 am

      Jordan, I remember you have a Cap Moon, is that right? (I’m a Cap Sun) So that’s where the Devil/Bindweed comes in, to your astrological chart, yes? I love it that you resonate with pulling bindweed out of your garden, literally, and that a time came when that was easy.

      Beautiful response to the Hermit. We don’t even have to travel to get some sacred solitude, just withdraw from our normal social round for awhile.

      LOVE your treasure of the stones technique. And I love the questions those cards elicited from you.

      Looking forward to hearing more. Hugs & Blessings!

      • Jordan Hoggard Wed - Jan 25th 2012 9:30 am

        Yes, Cap Moon. And, also Cap Rising/Ascendant, and Cap is also my Chart Ruler I discovered. That places the Sun, Moon, Rising as Sag~Cap~Cap with a Cap Chart Ruler. Tarot-speaking it partners with Temperance~Devil~Devil with Devil as Chart Ruler, Temperance~Bindweed~Bindweed with Bindweed as my Chart Ruler.

        Treasure of the stones: drop cards into x number of piles called “stones.” Top card is the “stone” card. Bottom card is the “treasure” card. Activating the lapis, the philosopher’s stone? Funny even how the term filius philosophorum even SOUNDS like it turns back in to infill, build back in self-activating. It is what I am getting from bindweed. Taking care of my garden so to speak enhances its verdant qualities to more effectively naturalize over time.

  • Dionne, the Tea Priestess Tue - Jan 24th 2012 9:45 pm

    The Hermit is bang on for where I’m at currently. I started off the year being much more outward with writing for my blog and as the month has gone on, I’ve gone more inward. At first I was struck with a bad case of the ‘shoulds’ but that felt like resistance to what is, so I chose to let that go. It’s been really good to just be receptive of Goddess energy for myself without thoughts of how to make it into a blog post.

    • Joanna Wed - Jan 25th 2012 8:14 am

      Dionne, so glad you are giving up the “shoulds”! My to-do list is a mile long, including more blogging! 🙂 but really, the most important thing is to take care of ourselves first. Yes? I support you, my Goddess-sister, 100%.