Number 9, number 9, number 9
The clouds down below
I'm feeling so strong and alive
From this rocky perch
I'll continue to search
For the wind, and the snow, and the sky"*
An eternity of walking, which at first seemed a simple jaunt through a forest glen, now became a serious journey. The path turned ever upward, my companion, the songs of the birds, the whisper of the wind sending the leaves into a merry dance. Alone again, I thought, and found peace within the solitude; time to consider those with whom I had chance to meet of late. I barely remembered the 'fool on the hill' and the plaintive yips of the young pup.
Emerging from a wooded tunnel, I found the peaks, stark sentinels against the deepest blue of the sky, closer than I realized. Gazing down, I saw footsteps etched upon the muddy path. Without a thought, I followed them, wondering if they were crumbs left by children from gingerbread houses, leading me home. The way turned into a dark forest path, and the chill of the mountains settled upon me, and I almost turned back, when I spied a glow of light ahead; a sort of flickering.
Reaching the end of the trail, I found that the jagged plane of the mountains closed in. Looking up, I spied the source of the light. Still way above me, a tattered elder man stood, holding a lantern, gazing down at me, it seemed. Was he thinking I was someone else? Yet, instinctively, I knew, as it had been with most of the others, he awaited my approach. But why so isolated, I pondered, huffing and puffing as I climbed up to meet him.
He stood at a cliff's edge, the lantern held aloft, seeming to draw the moonlight into itself, a lighthouse of the cosmos, it seemed, as eight beams lit out at various angles.
Drawing closer, I suddenly felt how golden silence was; why hallowed halls created the need for it, otherwise we'd miss the voice of the Universe. I saw a wisp of a smile turn up this hermit's lips. From the length of his beard, I gathered he'd lived here for ages. Slowly he turned, and walked back along a narrow byway toward a small cabin. The tap of his staff against the rocky lane echoed. However did I get here, I wondered? And why?
Inside the small one room hut, we sat before a warming fire, and sipped honey sweetened tea. And I waited to hear his words. His voice was soft. "You were not off when you were reminded of another moment when you stood at a precipice." He smiled, a distinct twinkle in his wise old eyes. Had he read my mind? "We were quite the fool," he continued. We? I was about to dismiss this statement, when I saw within his face something oddly familiar. It was the face, yet lined with age, I had looked at quite often when ever I had chance to catch my own reflection in the placid water of a pond.
Drowsed by the warmth and tea, I found myself unable to keep my eyes open and slipped into a slumber. How long I'd been asleep, I could not tell, when I was awakened by a sound. Back on a plush carpet of grass, the sweet scent of spring flowers filled me up. Yet the strange dream of having reached heights and meeting myself eons from now was still vivid in my mind. There was much to think about.
There is a great stillness in the image Robin Wood has given to us in the Number 9 card, THE HERMIT. It is a hallowed place - no unnecessary noise. There is an austerity and starkness, especially in comparison with where the journey has led up to this point. It might be night. The central figure is an elderly man, dressed in tattered gray and blue robes, standing at the edge of a cliff (The Fool revisited?), holding a staff in his left hand, with a single red feather attached to it. He holds a lantern in his right hand and he is gazing down the road he has traversed. The lantern has 8 beams (representing the wheel of the year) of light radiating from it. There is an orb behind the lantern; perhaps the moon, giving the impression that the lantern contains the light and mystery of moonlight, which alternately, itself, contains the light of the sun, transmuting the energies from seen to unseen, known to unknown; The Hermit holds the secrets of the Cosmos.
The high peaks of the North surround The Hermit, showing that his inner work has brought him to the realms of the greatest Enlightenment.
He has no need of the 'things' of life - the distractions which lead one from their path. He has mastered all that is necessary through dogged determination and daring to go within to the place where all the answers to life and the Universe reside. As he stands looking down upon the road traveled, he is a beacon of light to those upon the same path, and a guardian of the wisdom gained within the journey.
The red of his shoes and the feather in his staff shows the courage of one who dares to look within of his own accord, to face the darkest hours of his soul; done with endurance and the purity of heart to which the whiteness of his beard attests.
The Hermit manifests the epitome of our potential; ascending to outstanding heights of wisdom, growth, and learning, through solitary contemplation and meditation.
Keywords for The Hermit:
solitude, spiritual focus, the search for Truth, teaching, potential, contemplation, meditation, courage, strength, endurance, purity of heart, wisdom, balanced, determination, mastery, transmutation, good council, achievement, enlightenment
*Song of THE HERMIT: Netherlands by Dan Fogelberg