The Rider Hermit IX Reversed
At the very top of The Hermit IX Reversed, (The Hermit IXR) we see his feet against the solid cap of white ice; appearing to seal-off and limit his thoughts and movements. When positively aspected, white represents new beginnings. When ill-defined as we have in this reversed image, however, white signifies fear, ignorance, coldness and criticism.
The grounding tip of the The Hermit IXR golden wand hovers just below the cap of white ice, not quite making contact; not quite giving him the balanced support he needs. The golden wand, a symbol of strong positive values and intentions, is now reversed and signifies that The Hermit IXR fights against – uses thoughts and beliefs hostile to - himself. The color gold when ill-defined suggests fear, a lack of self-trust, success and abundance; the spirit becomes false to itself.
The Hermit IXR hangs motionlessly upside-down. Like a shard of grey granite or rock suspended from an icy ceiling. His surroundings are dark and the thick, solid-grey cloak gives The Hermit IXR the appearance of something hard and unyielding; of something cast in stone or cement. The colour grey, symbolizes something in a state of flux; a feminine energy with the capacity for change or transformation. However, when ill-defined, grey is the colour of indecisiveness, loneliness and isolation.
Unable or unwilling to bring himself to evaluate or observe his surroundings The Hermit IXR appears to be shielding himself from what he cannot accept. His back is turned away from previous eight archetypes and, perhaps, the the human experiences these Arcana represent. His hunched and bent body and downcast expression accentuates a sense of his sadness or depression. With his head now seen bent at the bottom of the card’s image, The Hermit IXR reminds us of the ostrich that fearfully ‘buries its head in the sand’.
We can imagine the weight of The Hermit IXR’s whole body bearing down on his head and shoulders; forcing his head into an unnatural (and, one would suspect, very uncomfortable) position against his chest. The Hermit IXR’s full, white-to-grey beard is similarly ill-defined in this image implying strong criticism and an inability to put the past behind him.
The bright little six-pointed star, a symbol of hope and divinity, in The Hermit IXR’s lantern is upside-down and seen at the bottom of the image. It is almost completely overshadowed by the grey bulk of The Hermit IXR’s body and overwhelmed by the surrounding darkness. The Hermit IXR struggles to raise his lantern and the star cannot throw its light for him to follow suggesting, once again, he has no vision of where his future may lie or the next steps to take to get there. As with all esoteric and spiritual symbolism, the reversed six-point star in the lantern indicates a tendency to look on the ‘darker-side’ of things.
Interestingly, the numeral IX when reversed, appears as XI. Both numbers however are ill-defined as the card is reversed. IXR suggests an inability to focus or concentrate; and XIR denotes inaction, procrastination and measuring one’s worth by materialistic means. If reference is made to the numerical progression of the Major Arcana, The Hermit IX's downcast eyes are at the same level as the very base of the next Arcana, The Wheel of Fortune X. Perhaps the nature of destiny eludes him or he is unable to accept fate or the opportunities that Fortune may be is throwing in his path.
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