Strength and The Hermit

Whether you are a princess or a pauper, tarot tells us that we will all meet certain experiences during our lives that push us onwards in our spiritual growth.  The next two cards – Strength and The Hermit – talk about ways in which we need to master our emotions  and learn to stand on our own two feet.  Strength encourages us to strive towards balance within so that we can more effectively deal with what’s happening in our lives whilst The Hermit gently suggests that it’s time to take some distance from others so that we can really grow into ourselves.


A woman in a white robe holds a lion whose open mouth offers no threat to her.  The lion is of course the fierce ruler of the jungle and the woman is gentleness personified.

If something has ever happened to you that makes you want to roar with frustration and anger, you’ll know that, even if blowing your stack is satisfying in the short term, you can often be left feeling guilty for losing your cool or even bigger problems to have to clear up once the dust has settled.

At the same time if you’re too soft, you could get walked over.  Gaining mastery over our strongest feelings is essential in our emotional and spiritual development.

In a reading, Strength tells you that you have the courage and magnificence of a lion, but that it needs to be softened with gentleness.  When feminine yin meets powerful yang, balance is restored and you can deal with anything that life throws at you.

Connect with the card

Think about something that would normally make you lose your cool.  Don’t fall into the emotion as it could overwhelm you and you’ll find that you’re just practising how to get really mad!

Just notice how you experience your feelings – whether it’s a knot in your stomach, a tightness in your chest or something that you hear yourself saying.

Realise that you are not angry – there’s more to you than one emotion.  Rather, there’s a you and there is that feeling that is part of you but not the whole story.

Displays of nuclear level cool blowing aren’t welcome in our culture and so we tend to push such feelings away, which doesn’t help.

Instead, see what happens if you send a loving energy towards whatever you experience that tells you that you have anger.

Like the woman in the white dress, you can literally and lovingly connect with it so that you can then access all of its intelligence and fiery potential for dramatic action released in a more tempered and tolerable way.

That way, you can speak your piece, hold your ground, stay true to yourself, respond to whatever is happening and avoid being overwhelmed by it.

The Hermit

An old man in a hooded robe stands on a mountain peak, holding up a burning lamp.

The Hermit represents everything from good advice or guidance from someone who’s been around the block more than once to the suggestion that you might benefit from taking a step back from everything and spending some time alone to sort out what you really think and feel about things.

The Hermit’s lamp reassures you that you have all the answers and the wisdom within and, unlike The High Priestess, you don’t have to go to the temple to get them.

All you need to do is go inside.  In our busy and hectic lives that demand instant responses to everything this is often easier said than done, but at some point we have to stop allowing ourselves to be dictated by the rules imposed either by society or by those who have power over us and start navigating by our inner compass.

This is one card where the magic of the major arcana in describing the soul’s journey really shines through.

We’ve come a long way since that first burst of creation that saw us emerging into the universe and, like any young, we first needed to be shaped from the outside by energies represented by The Emperor and The Heirophant.

Now we’re being pushed out of the nest or the den and the hint is that it’s time to stand on our own two feet and become our own person.

The promise of The Hermit is that, like he, we have what it takes to make the journey and reach the heights if only we are brave enough to take those first important steps.

Connect with the card

There really is no better way to connect with The Hermit than to go for a long walk alone!

Many eastern spiritual disciplines use a form of walking meditation and, whether you live in a city or have access to the great outdoors, this is something that most of us can do easily.

The trick is in how you do it.  It’s no good just stomping along going over everything that could be bugging you again and again in your head.

Instead, as you walk, start by paying attention to how your feet feel as they connect with the ground.  Focus on your breath.  Look as you walk with quiet eyes on whatever you pass by.

Pay enough attention to these things and you’ll notice that you just can’t give the same focus to whatever chatter is occupying your mind.

Eventually, as the volume on this turns down, you’ll notice those little moments of quiet mental stillness that create gaps through which your own wisdom can get through.

Article by Michele Knight – first published in Spirit and Destiny Magazine

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