The Hermit

Number: 9 Letter : D Teth

Having created inner order out of the chaos and arranged all the real and false values in his inner being in their proper order, man withdraws from the 'fata morgana' of diis world and becomes a recluse. However, this does not indicate by any means that at this level of consciousness he actually withdraws to a lonely cave. The picture is merely a symbolic representation of his inner state, but not of his outward appearance in the world of visions. He continues to fulfil his duties at work and in everyday life, to wear conventional clothes and to behave as his fellow-men behave.

In the picture we see a man who, with his white beard and moustache, shows that he has finished with all outward appearances and above all has completely renounced vanity.

To those who behold him only from the outside, the hermit shows his dark grey cloak which, when he uses the hood, covers even his head. This cloak, however, is lined in a beautiful azure blue. This reveals that underneath the colourless manifestation and his drab outward appearance, he has a very deep, true belief in God. Under the cloak he wears an orange-coloured robe. Orange results from mixing red and yellow, spirituality and intelligence, which together constitute divine wisdom. In his inmost being there no longer exists any earthly quality; he has grown wise and all feelings of sympathy or antipathy, love or aversion, are dominated by his divine wisdom.

In his left hand he holds a stick; it is not a magic wand with which he could work miracles, nor is it a sceptre, symbol of rulership, nor a sword, symbol of courage and the power of discrimination; it is a simple walking-stick which helps him to make progress.

In his right hand he holds aloft a simple lantern. It is nothing other than the light of his intellect with which he illumines his path in the darkness in order not to lose his way. He holds the lantern in such a manner that he alone sees its light. He hides the small lamp from the eyes of others with his loose cloak. Formerly, he passed on all the fresh insights and truths he had found himself to other seekers. He slowly began to realize, however, that few people understood him and that it was best if he kept his newly discovered truths for himself. Therefore he no longer freely shows the light of his intellect and knowledge to other people, only to his intimate friends. He has learned to keep silence!

Before him, on the ground, we see a strange creature, a small monster. It is red in colour and thus denotes a spiritual manifestation. It symbolises man's healthy instincts which act from his unconscious and with the help of his reason lead him unerringly to the right path. These instincts cause the strange 'coincidences' in his life which invariably indicate exactly the direction he should take, the people he should trust or distrust and with whom he should associate only with the greatest caution, if he must associate with shady characters at all. This small monster, his healthy instincts, will always put into his hands just the right books where he may find the truths to guide him to maturity; it will also enable him to hear the voice of God through the tongues of man. This small monster saves him a great deal of unnecessary wandering about and unerringly leads him ever closer to the great goal. One day he also recognises himself in this creature, in his own instincts.

When man has reached this level of consciousness, he suddenly feels the urge to leave everything and to go away. He has perceived that the value of the affairs of this world lies only in what he may learn from them. Yet once he knows the goal we have ultimately to attain, why should he then still continue to participate in the affairs of this world? His professional work no longer offers him satisfaction, indeed it suddenly appears to him futile and useless. Why then go on ? He already knows that family relationships and ties of friendship are transient and last only as long as he remains in this world.

When the time comes for him to leave earthly things behind, he takes with him only that which is eternal. All things pass, only one thing remains: true spiritual togetherness and love. But that, too, he can take with him even if, while still in this life, he leaves everything behind and goes away. He finds everything here a burden, he does not want to waste any more time, he would like to live only for the essence of life and to work only in and on himself, in order to experience unity with god. In other words he would like to go away! - Yes! But where ? - To Tibet - or now that Tibet is out of the question for this purpose, to India, or Athos, the legendary Greek monastery? Deep down inside he is seized by an irresistible longing to be free, free from all that ties and enslaves him. And he already begins secretly to make plans. He tries to imagine what it will be like if he goes away - leaves here and arrives -but where ? - It is so easy to imagine leaving, but that implies at the same time that one must also arrive somewhere! And where will that be, where will he arrive and how ? A monastery? - Will he be able to be free there? - No! There he will really have to obey blindly, even more than before, and what is more, he may have one or more superiors who belong to another world, who are total strangers to him and completely unable to understand him. He has to keep company with people he does not like and who may have highly unpleasant habits. And he must keep quiet and obey, whether he likes it or not.

If he does not enter a monastery, but behaves like the Indians who lead a nomadic existence or retreat to a cave, what then? - What will he eat, for eat he must. Will he go begging? No, definitely not! He could, however, work somewhere, make himself useful, perhaps with lepers? He certainly could, and indeed many try it, but many more know in advance what he already knows too, namely, that out there in Asia he will be even more enslaved than before. He would have still less chance of living for what he would like to live for, than if he were simply to stay at home where the milkman comes every day and his home exudes the warmth of central heating. And if furthermore he has a family, yet still goes away, he will have such a guilty conscience about these loved ones that he will never be able to forgive himself. How then could he feel free ? Therefore, the very best thing will be if he stays at home and, instead of tending lepers, adopts the same attitude of self-sacrifice which would have been necessary for that task, continuing to fulfil his own duties at work with full concentration and devotion. And thus man arrives at the truth that this 'going away' which he sought, should take place not in the external world, but in himself. He wants to and must escape from himself, from his own inner perspective and inner enslavement. He is not enslaved by other people, but by himself. For if he feels enslaved here, he will take this feeling wherever he may go. If, however, he feels free in the midst of his family and at work, then he will take this freedom wherever he may go. What is the point then in going away? He knows that there have been many people who actually did 'go away', who really lived in a Tibetan or Indian monastery or with a great master. Yet they found exactly the same truths in those places as they can find here, in their present surroundings, if only they are ready for them. God leads men on different paths, but on each of these individual paths we all attain exactly the same great goal: god !

We see, therefore, that it is the destiny of such a man, as yet, not to walk away from everything. Thus he remains where he is and tries inwardly to break away from his surroundings and his personal world and to obtain inner liberation.

And his dress? - Oh! How he has longed to be free of fashion, from vain outward appearances! For he realises diat what we wear is of no importance. One can be a hermit and yet wear the same clothes as other people. In a monastery, too, one has to wear the regulation clothes like the other monks -therefore also conform to 'fashion'! And what about the Indians who do not live in a monastery? - We can be free of all these things, whether wearing European dress or wandering down a main road in India clad in rags, if we are inwardly free from them. For instance, if a young woman is a true nun in her being, she can even attend balls in a low-necked evening dress yet be a true recluse, because she is so in herself And likewise a man can dress fashionably, join in the laughter of others and yet be a true monk in himself

At this level of consciousness man dierefore withdraws into himself, continues to work on himself and tries to break away and find release from everything. He renounces the importance of his person, he renounces ambition and no longer seeks to draw attention to himself in the external world or to get ahead in his profession; or at least he does not make it any kind of end in itself. As man or woman he tries to perform his tasks as he would have done in the place he wanted to visit in his imagination. Now he does not work for himself, but for the sake of work. In the course of this he experiences unsuspected and unhoped-for new joys. Work begins to become an end in itself for him. He works no longer to earn success and praise or to make a lot of money, but in order to achieve perfection.

Meanwhile, he completely forgets himself and all his troubles; in concentrating on his work he forgets all the disappointments of his life and all that has hurt him in the past. He discovers that he has become free through nothing other than work alone, and he experiences great self-transcending joys. Now he understands why Asian as well as European monks and nuns have to work in their communities. In the garden, in the kitchen or in the library, they have to work for the sake of work, in order to become free through work. But we can do that at home, too; we do not need to leave our family and friends for that.

The ninth tarot card carries the number 9 and the letter teth.

In numerology the meaning of the number 9 is absolute passivity. Thus the hermit is also completely passive within himself. He has become totally detached and does not participate in worldly activities. If he performs his everyday duties at this level of consciousness, his motives are utterly unselfish.

The number 9 has several strange qualities. For instance, if we add it to another number, whether high or low, this will not change the sum of the digits. Let us take as our first example the low number 17. The sum of the digits is 8. If we add 9 to 17 the result is 26. Again, the sum of the digits is 8. Now let us take the higher number 435. The sum of the digits is 12, by numerological reduction, 3. If we now add 9 to 435, the result is 444. The sum of the digits is again 12 and 3 respectively. If we add any number to the number 9, the sum of the digits always remains constant. The number 9 shows another strange characteristic if we conduct the following experiment: make a vertical list of the numbers from o to 9. Now list the same sequence of numbers in reverse and put the two rows together:

0

9

09

I

8

18

2

7

27

3

6

36

4

5

45

5

4

54

6

3

63

7

2

72

8

1

81

9

0

90

What have we obtained ? The result of the multiplication of the number 9 from one to ten. And if we add these numbers together the sum of the digits is invariably the number 9:

Thus: 1 X9 = 9 = 9 2x9= 18 = 9 3X9 = 27 — 9 4x9 = 36 = 9

And yet another highly interesting quality of this number: make a vertical list of numbers starting each time with 1 and add the next number in each consecutive row. If we multiply these numbers by 9 and add the numbers from 1 to 10 to each sequence, we obtain the following strange results:

1 X9 + 2 = 11 12 X9 + 3 = 111 123 X9 + 4 = IIII 1234 X9 + 5 = iiiii 12345 X9 + 6 = iiiiii 123456x9 + 7= limn 1234567X9+8= 11111111 12345678 X9 + 9 = 111111111 123456789 X9+10 = 1111111111

I could mention further very interesting characteristics of the number 9, but that would lead us away from our subject. I merely wished to show that the number 9 is an unusually interesting and significant number. It destroys itself, yet continues to exist. With such qualities this number corresponds exactly to the level of consciousness of the 'hermit', because it invariably remains itself. If anyone takes these remarkable characteristics of the number 9 as a matter of course, he is advised to try these experiments with another number. He will then see the great difference between the numbers.

In hieroglyphics the letter teth represents the idea of protection and safety, teth denotes the guardian angels who guide men from their birth onwards. It corresponds to the ninth sefirah, Yesod, which means foundation, wisdom.

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