9: the Hermit

Oh, now the fool thinks she’s learnt something. So she wanders out of the fields she knows into stranger places, into the clockwork that moves beneath the world. Or at least that’s what she tells herself over the music of the bells on her cap.

Carrying the light of her knowledge, she searches for something honest. She’s a regular Diogenes tarted up in skin-tight latex, she is. And one of those cameras is still following her; is the other one just outside of the image, or did she lose it somewhere along her journey from innocence to the hope of wisdom?

Every master of a craft has had their hermitage. Their time away from the world where they contemplate little else. To some degree it’s thrust upon them by circumstance – a time and place of privation, where they turn to their craft to fill the emptinesses and keep the drab reality away. Sometimes you simply need to be alone. Sometimes other people get in the way. Oh, it can be miserable and bleak to be a hermit. Lost in an emotional desert with the sand swirling up around your boots as you wander in circles. Some will find an oasis; some will find the way out; some will never leave.

She holds light in her hands. Is it truth? Will it guide her way? Or is it only a will-o-the-wisp that will lead her to the edge of another cliff? (“A true initiation”, after all, “never ends.”) Well, it’s probably not the first time she’s fallen. And she certainly wasn’t finding illumination in the coffee shop she just left. Time to move on, my dear seeker of knowledge; find a new place to be alone.

(Did you know that this card quite possibly started life as a personification of Time? The traditional image is an old beardy guy with a lantern, that might just be a confused copy of a muddy woodcut of an hourglass. That’s the obvious reason for the gears. But they’re also hidden under the world, out of mundane sight: outside the world and away from it, you might be able to see how it all ticks…)