Walking the Path of the Hermit


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Weekly Practice

As public life shuts down around the globe, we are all becoming Hermits. It’s not always a comfortable archype to live out. We will miss our gathering places and many special events that we’ve been looking forward to are cancelled. Lots of us are working from home. 

But while those of us at home feel a loss, let’s remember and send good energy to those who must be at work and doing critical services: health care workers, grocery store clerks, tech people keeping our infrastructure up and running, delivery people, journalists … to name a few. I am grateful to them for their work.

And there are gifts to be gained from leaning into this Hermit time. As we observe our lived experience over the next weeks, we can come into deeper knowing about this archetype and integrate the gifts and wisdom offered into our being. And the Hermit can be a hero for flattening the curve

So as the US starts its first week of shut down and Hermit encounter, I consulted the Tarot for some guidance for the collective, returning to the Soul Path Practices spread/process that I have used with The Gaian Tarot for many years. You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practicing into the Hermit life, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments. You are also free to draw your own personal Practice and Posture cards. 

PATH: Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question: What path would it best serve us to walk this week?  THE HERMIT invites us to walk this week on pathways of …

  • A time of solitude that supports connecting with inner guidance.
  • Befriending the dark-time gifts of dreams, Mystery, moon rhythms, and the animals who sound in the night.
  • Communion with the natural world rather than the human world.
  • Connecting with the Greater Than, through retreat, reflection, and contemplation.
  • Gathering in the reflections and insights that you’ve gained from your time in solitude to share with others. 


PRACTICE: Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question: What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week? THE 10 of WATER invites us to practices such as …

  • Weep for sorrow, for joy, or for how they are mixed together. As you do this, set the intention of having these cleansing tears to help you move into a new beginning. 
  • Contemplate the life cycle of the salmon., where adults return to the freshwater from which they were born to spawn the next generation after which they die and their decomposing bodies become fertilizer. 
  • Do a simple ritual where you symbolically release an emotional burden into moving water. If you can, get out to do this into a stream or river near your home. If you are housebound, consider using the toilet; make the profane, sacred!
  • Remember and honor water as the source of life with a simple gesture or internal word of thanks for a day – for 10 days, if you can! – every time you take a sip of water or bathe or swim.
  • Use crayons or markers to get you into a child-like/fool-like state and draw or doodle a picture of the new that will come when you release the old. Let your emotions and intuition guide you. Don’t start out with a plan. Let yourself be surprised.

POSTURE: Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as: What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path? THE GUARDIAN of WATER invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Being open to your emotions and intuition.
  • Offering compassion to others and yourself.
  • Embracing mystery and all that life offers, from its fullness to its messiness.
  • Freely offering the gifts you have to share
  • Holding intense emotions – your own or of others – with love and letting them flow where they may.

OVERALL COMMENTS: The 10 of Water is such an apt and interesting card as a practice prompt and guidance offering. The image holds both death and new life. The dead fish affirms that the loss is real in these pandemic-induced Hermit time. And the Guardian of Water calls you to hold those feelings you are having about this tenderly and openly. This is what can allow the emotions to flow through rather than become stuck. Yet even in this time of loss something new is being born. The salmon fry are setting off on their new lives in small groups. Perhaps we will be finding new, more intimate connections in smaller groups. Also nothing is alone in this image. The fry swim together and the newly dead fish joins with the other ancestor fish. Now their work is to fertilize the soil to support the next cycle of the world’s becoming. 

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The lunar cycle that began with the new moon in Pisces, which corresponds to the Tarot’s Moon card, will draw to a close on March 23rd. During the dark moon days before the arrival of the next new moon, I practice releasing what I don’t want to carry into the next moon cycle. There could be a lot to release for  this cycle! I’ll be hosting a virtual gathering to support this releasing on Monday, March 23rd at 7pm ET. No charge, offerings will be accepted. If you would like to come, email me – Carolyn @ this site address – and I’ll get you the details. 

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