The magic light of consciousness
making itself known;
The guiding light of the soul
atop the mountain of our struggles;
Redemption is in sight;
 Or is it?

Why is the mountain capped in snow?  
Does it have to feel so cold?
Look up. The Yod flame glowing is the true light
revealed to us that keeps us warm.
If we could just stop long enough to look and ask..

Key IX, the Hermit, that solitary aspect of our life’s journey that is shrouded in the wisdom of creation
through the Hebrew letter Yod, makes us stop for a moment, take stock, perhaps even meditate (if we
only had the time).  Why is this figure so compelling? How many hidden mysteries are made openly
available to us if we just allowed ourselves be guided by his light of wisdom?  The Hermit carries within
the old knowledge of the ages, the Seven Hermetic Laws.  Both the lamp and the staff he holds are
symbols of his patriarchy, of his dynasty as Hermes Trismegistus.

Perhaps looking at Yod or Yud, that small and beautiful letter hidden in every single letter of the Hebrew
alphabet, we could find a way to understand the wisdom of the universe.  Because Yod signifies the
active principle and spark of creation, the first letter of the Tetragrammaton, IHVH, one of the names of
God.  It is also a verb, “to thrust,” where the idea of creation is also intimated.  By itself, the letter is
suspended in mid-air, playful and hovering, like a maid-in-waiting, diligent and full of possibilities.  In the
BOTA version of the Hermit, which is the one I refer to here, the Yod at the lower right hand corner of
the card is not filled in; it is left blank, like the limitless light that challenges us to co-create our reality.

Just like a hermit, Yod hides in every word, in every intention of being.  It contracts into nothingness and
then in an act of self-awareness it thrusts from nowhere; it is consciousness in self-reflection, revealing
itself through creation.  Another meaning assigned to Yod is “open hand” and also the “hand of God.”  It
is the  hand that reaches out to give us solace, to scold us, to protect us even from ourselves; it is the
hand that opens itself to knowledge and then, closes itself in the next key, Key X - the Wheel of Fortune,
when it becomes Kaph the closed hand that grasps understanding.  

Key VIII – Strength (Hebrew letter Teth), precedes the Hermit.  Here Yod is hidden within the serpent of
transformation and hints at the gestation period of any manifestation.  It takes an act of courage and
strength to allow divine guidance to work through us and to achieve spiritual transformation by taming
our wildest, natural instincts.  That is why Yod is found between Strength and the Wheel of Fortune and
represented by the Hermit, the teacher waiting to lead us to inner knowledge.

In spiritualism we are taught about our Master Teacher, the one who is ready whenever we are, to guide
us and to offer his/her ancient wisdom.  In moments of need, when we feel the loneliest, the guidance of
the master is always there ready to rescue us from ourselves.  He is the Ancient of Days standing by to
raise our consciousness, revealing God’s infinite light through the pillars of wisdom and understanding.

In the BOTA version the Hermit is dressed in a gray cloak holding a hexagram lantern: a six-pointed star,
radiating the limitless light of the Holy Qabalah. The hexagram connects the symbol to Tiphareth, the
sixth Sephirah on the Tree of Life, to remind us that the path to enlightenment is always through love and
through the Christ consciousness.  Sometimes illumination comes from sudden awakening.  This is the
light shining inside the lantern.  It cannot be contained; it glows and becomes the beacon that could lead
us to liberation.

Somehow, this is how I’ve always imagined my Master Teacher: patiently holding a staff; not feeling the
cold of the iced capped mountain, the icy coldness that my intellect and ego can sometimes project as an
act of caution, lack of confidence or self-restraint.  He just waits discreetly with his lantern.  Then,
suddenly a jolt makes me look up and see that the beaming light reaches deep inside me, sparkling within
me the need to inquire, question, create, develop and grow.  But most of all, the light reminds me that I
must accept in faith.  Because all we need do is drop the ego and follow the light in confidence.

Copyright © 2005 - 2008 Yolanda M.Robinson, Ph.D
Hermit from BOTA deck