Tarot: Symbolism of the Hermit

Hermit’s view on Leon as… the Hermit.

Trump 9 in the Revenant Tarot deck.
Trump 9 in the Revenant Tarot deck.

The Hermit is the lesson. He is the Hero who has come to the end of his journey, withdrawn from the world, and come back into it again. He is both the need to withdraw from society to come to terms with himself, and the return to civilization to share what he’s learned. The Hermit is the embodiment of isolation, and Leon fits near-perfectly to this description. Having been raised and trained as an assassin, he became emotionally detached from everyone and everything. He also trained by himself on an island for five years after leaving the organization that raised him. He isolated himself to learn about himself. In terms of what knowledge or boons he could bring back to society, he is an expert survivalist, and skilled stealth fighter.

The chain dagger thrust into the rocks at the base of the picture is a symbol of the organization that Leon was raised by, which he has abandoned. It symbolizes his emotion isolation, and the overcoming of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, as well as the ability to become shadow, which all members of the organization have. The Hermit’s gray cloak in classical tarot is a cloak of invisibility, the power of which is echoed in Leon’s shadow and moonlight disappearance acts. The knowledge that he can give, besides that which he can bring back to society, are not for the faint of heart, and he will only teach those who are earnest enough to seek him out, or seek answers on their own.

The color of the Hermit’s cloak is actually a symbol unto itself, gray being a neutral color, making the Hermit a figure of neutrality, objectivity, and unity. Leon is not wearing gray, but the two colors that gray is made from, black and white. He is “gray” in other ways as well, being half Pure-elf, which is technically a Fae, and half Pebble-folk, which are people of the earth. Leon is the union between the ethereal, mystical world of the Fae, and the practical, static, material world. He is both kinetic and potential energy, momentum and inertia, earth and air. He has an objective view toward most things by being a mix of two worlds.

The Hermit in the Rider-Waite deck is depicted with a lantern and a walking stick, and Leon has neither of these things. Instead, he carries the glowing, Fae sword, Ocean’s Heart. It is both the lantern and a staff, given the legends that nobody has ever wielded the sword and lived to free the Lady of the Crescent Well. However, Leon has his hair tied back – a symbol of dedication and marriage, where he comes from – meaning he has completed the task set before him by the blade. He holds it with the knowledge that he was wise enough – the lantern – and powerful enough – the staff – to be able to return with it to Her.

This is a card of soul-searching, with the ocean in the background representing the subconscious mind. Leon is also holding the blade, looking at the hilt, as if contemplating what he’s done to deserve it, or perhaps what he’s accomplished with it. He must decided whether to continue on his current path, and wander for the rest of his journey, or go back to society and share his wisdom. This quiet contemplation echoes the downcast face of the Hermit on the Rider-Waite card, staring at his feet, deciding where they will take him next. Leon and the Hermit are between places, times, and decisions at the moment, which is further symbolized by the moon and sun sharing the sky in the background.

In the sky behind Leon are 12 stars, roughly in the constellation of Virgo. This zodiac sign is known for being analytical, intelligent, and reserved, among other things. Like a Virgo, Leon is one who is skeptical of things he can’t see, and so is one to – metaphorically or literally – stick a torch into the darkness to see what is going on. He is restless, like a Virgo, never wanting to stay in one place too long, either because of a fear of being found, or a fear that he’ll miss out on something.

The Rune on this card is Isa, the rune of ice. It is cold, withdrawn, but crackles with a hidden power for those who look deep enough into the unforgiving surface. It is the hermit of all runes, still and quiet, searching inward to find purpose and answers. It is the silence of the hunter, something that Leon also embodies, and so reflects perfectly the ideas of the Hermit.

2 thoughts on “Tarot: Symbolism of the Hermit

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