□ PATH COLOR: Green-yellowish
□ RELATED SOUND: F Natural
□ SIMPLE LETTER: Sexual Love
□ ESOTERIC TITLE: The Prophet of the Eternal, the Magus of the Voice of Power g,
9 THE HERMIT J
9 THE HERMIT J
THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twentieth Path is the Intelligence of Will, and is so called because it is the means of preparation of all and each created being, and by this intelligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known.
The Path of Yod, connects Tiphareth (the Christ-Buddha center) and Chesed (the Architect of Manifestaton). In brief, it represents the self-sustained, primal beginnings of manifestation. It is the very point of origin of our manifest Universe, in direct contact with the Divine Source of All. It is the Path from the Demiurge out of darkness. It is the coming of the Light of manifestation through Microprosopus.
Insofar as the sign Virgo is attributed to the twentieth Path, we understand the Hermit to be ever-virgin, pure, and totally innocent. And insofar as it represents a gateway to the bridge between Macroprosopus and Microprosopus, it involves certain qualities of Daath.
These Daath qualities are represented by the very isolation of the figure: There is something naturally mysterious and compelling about this figure standing alone in the desert holding its own source of Light. One immediately thinks of Diogenes in search of an honest man, or Moses (whose head supposedly emanated rays of light) or Christ as the "Light of the World." One may also consider, in studying this solitary figure, that monasticism first began in the Egyptian desert in the third and fourth centuries after the death of Christ. Extreme asceticism and withdrawal from society were considered a means of perfection. In fact, the very word hermit comes from a Greek word meaning desert, the place where some of the earliest monks lived in walled-up rooms of one window.
The higher the card on the Tree of Life, the more important it is that we let the card suggest such images as they will. The image of a desert, for example, is a very potent one. Conceptually, it is an expanse of earth as indefinably vast as the ocean. And as we consider Binah in the image of deep, dark, endless waters, we may envision the desert as a crystallization or precipitation out of Binah's vast sea of consciousness.
THE HERMIT is an expression of the same energy as THE FOOL. It is at once the wise old age of the Child (of the Golden Dawn FOOL card) and the virgin beginning of a new sequence. It is the purity and innocence of THE FOOL as it is transformed in the projection of Microprosopus through Binah. The idea that THE FOOL (child) is at the same time THE HERMIT (old man) may best be understood by meditating on the snake which holds its tail in its mouth, the traditional symbol of wisdom.
It has been stated that JUSTICE, the Path opposite THE HERMIT, administers the energies in manifestation of THE FOOL. Thus, we appreciate that JUSTICE and THE HERMIT must also work together in some basic way. One clue to this mystery is, again, in the bn , JUSTICE + THE FOOL, which is also the God Name of Chesed, point of origin of the Path of THE HERMIT.
Most important is that THE HERMIT represents communication between the Higher Self of Tiphareth (the Ruach) and the Spiritual Self of Kether (the Yechidah). For this reason the Golden Dawn text calls THE HERMIT the first of three great initiatory cards, the others being STRENGTH and THE CHARIOT. In this regard it should be pointed out that the experiences of all these Paths may be gained on the Path of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. That Path not only encompasses all Paths above Tiphareth, but crosses the Abyss with its devastating experience of Divine reconciliation through isolation.
However THE HERMIT may be described, it is pre-eminently one of union. It represents the first point of awareness by the Higher Self of the Supreme Spiritual Self, explicable only in the most erotic of imagery. This idea is supported by the Sepher Yetzirah, which attributes sexual love to the simple letter Yod. But this is not the sexuality of coition, for the card is the essence of isolation and singularity. The "sexuality" is self-contained and self-sustaining, a quality cryptically described in the Golden Dawn documents as "Prudence."
Yod is related to Kether not only insofar as it is isolated and self-contained, but also in that it forms the graphic root for all of the other letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Moreover, the Yod is phallic. It is the Male-Fire which rushes out toward the Female-Water. In the Golden Dawn version this is symbolized by the sign on the front of the Hermit's hood. The Yod within a fire triangle means that the Yod is the very essence of spiritual fire within Microprosopus. It is, thus, an aspect of the Chokmah Force. It is the All-Father in manifestation below the Abyss, which is related to the Logos.
The concept of Logos, while not at all difficult, is often misunderstood. Logos is a Greek term usually considered to mean word, which came to represent a principle of both Greek and Hebrew metaphysics. In the simplest possible terms: The Logos is a link, an intermediary between God and Man. The same is true for any sacrificed God, including Christ, Osiris, or Buddha.
On the Tree of Life Tiphareth is the objective Logos, the objective center of energy produced by the Demiurge (Chesed) as a direct link of the Lower with the Higher. But, in terms of the Paths, which are subjective, the link is on the Path of the Hermit. This is to say that while objectively Tiphareth is the Logos center; subjectively, in order to understand this transitional energy, we must rise above Tiphareth toward Chesed, on the Path of THE HERMIT.
Qabalistic attitudes toward what is called the Logos relate largely to Philo, a Jewish philosopher living at the time of Christ. He was a synthesizer of Greek and Hebrew thought. To the Hebrews the "word" (vibration) was Power. To the Greeks, the Logos was "spermatic," meaning that it was the source of All. Heraclitis described it as a Divine Fire which stimulated and maintained order. The Stoics saw the Logos as an all-pervading force in the world. Later the neoplatonic doctrine of the Logos in emanations influenced the writer of the Sepher Yetzirah.
What Philo did, no mean trick, was to combine the Jewish concept of Word, with the Platonic concept (related especially to the Timaeus) of manifestation evolving from a point of transition between the Godhead and Man. THE HERMIT may be considered a "Word" (Vibration) uttered into a vast space. The Word is that which continually stimulates the development of manifestation, which energizes the principles of form which it has produced.
While the Hermit is often considered a Christ figure, he is better related to Moses who led his people across the same Egyptian desert in which monasticism developed centuries later. Moses was first related to the Logos by an early Gnostic sect taking its name from the Simon Magus described in the Acts of the Apostles. These "Simonian Gnostics" of about the second century A.D. believed that the Book of Exodus was an allegory of the soul being led by the Logos (Moses) through the desert of life into the spiritual promised land.188
In other terms, Moses is the Thaumaturge, the arch-magician. His staff is a wand of enormous power which strikes water from rock, and turns into a serpent at his bidding. This latter act refers to the use of the Kundalini (Yod) force by the Adept-Magician. That force is the Sacred Fire which is the essence of the Logos transmitted by the phallic wand.
One other correspondence between Moses and the Logos is found in the interaction between the prophet and God as the burning bush. The word of God is not issued directly, but comes through Moses as intermediary, the function of the Logos. More than this, Moses may be considered a tool of the Supreme Father, carrying out His Will. In this regard, the hand, man's ultimate creative tool, is attributed to Yod. THE HERMIT is the very hand of God.
The hand of THE HERMIT is open as opposed to that of the WHEEL OF FORTUNE. The open hand is a sign of ultimate power, found especially in Byzantine representations of the Pantocrator, Christ as the Ruler of the Universe. But the open hand is also a sign of innocence; it may give and take freely without the impediments of thought or moral restrictions. The open hand represents THE HERMIT as Prophet, the completed adept.
Insofar as THE HERMIT is the Adept-Magician, he is the agent of the Supreme Will and, as such, the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom calls the Twentieth Path the Intelligence of Will. There is a strong link between THE HERMIT and the Path of THE MAGICIAN (the Intelligence of Transparency) since Virgo is ruled by Mercury. This means that the Philosophic Mercury ultimately directs the course of the Yod-Fire on the Paths.
The fact that Virgo is an earth sign may be somewhat confusing in that any discussion of THE HERMIT invariably centers on the idea of Fire. Hopefully it has been understood that the Fire in question here is not the same as either Elemental Fire or Maternal Fire. THE HERMIT could be called the "First Earth" within which a Sacred Fire operates. The Yod force, again, ennervates to keep the world in order, a stimulus which could be described as a fertilization. The concept is an extremely difficult one which has to do with multi-faceted potentiality. Approached from another direction, it could be said that the most ordered existence is Earth, here represented as wholly barren, but with the potential for all life. In the Golden Dawn card, the importance of Binah in this process is suggested by the red band around the Hermit's waist. The Venusian green of earth is bound up by the Atziluth-red Binah cord.
The Golden Dawn emphasizes the earthy, monastic qualities of the figure. And while it may be stretching the symbolism to make the suggeston, the dual robes recall the titles of Binah and Chokmah: The Outer Robe of Concealment (Binah) and The Inner Robe of Concealment (Chokmah). The staff is, of course, referred to Chokmah. It is held here in such a way as to suggest that it is to be planted, and will grow leaves and flowers.
Of the four versions, only Crowley's suggests the motion and activity which is essential to the Yod. And, as usual, his card requires more explanation than the others. He emphasizes, for example, the idea that THE HERMIT is rooted in Binah, by cloaking him entirely in red.
Before the red figure is the Orphic Egg with a serpent wrapped around it. In the ancient Orphic Mysteries this signified the Cosmos encircled by the Fiery Spirit, which is Yod. Behind the figure is Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the gates of Hell, and who has been tamed by the Hermit. The spermatazoon is symbolic of the Yod energies in the material world, while the staff which transmits the sexual force, is completely hidden. As Crowley states: "In this Trump is shewn the entire mystery of Life in its most secret workings. Yod=Phallus=Spermatazoon=Hand=Logos=Virgin."189
Yod has been called The Crown, meaning that it is the highest point of the Logos, the primary energy from which manifestation derives. And, of course, any reference to Crown points to Kether, the Crown above All.
The last symbol to be considered is the Lamp which, in all versions refers to Tiphareth, and makes a statement about the very nature of Light. In the Golden Dawn rituals this principle was expressed in three languages: Khabs am Pekht (Coptic); Konx om Pax (Greek); Light in Extension. This means that Light is the principle of manifestation, that on which all of Creation is built. So the Hermit may be said to represent a glyph on the nature of primal manifestation beneath the Abyss, and of the relationship between Light and the Sacred Fire symbolized by Yod.
One would expect that the placement of the letters Yod, Heh and Vau on the Tree of Life would have profound meaning. Thus it is particularly intriguing to realize that these letters work together as a trinity from Chesed to Tiphareth to Chokmah, and back to Chesed. Yod is THE HERMIT, Heh is THE EMPEROR and Vau is THE HIEROPHANT, all functioning to the side of the Pillar of Mercy on the Tree of Life. The intention here is not to offer an explanation, but to suggest a very valuable subject for meditation.
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