A lone man stands as if on a high place, looking down. His hair and beard are visible, appearing gray as if from age or experiences. Robed and hooded in an enveloping nondescript cloak, he stands towards the viewer’s left. He holds a staff as if to steady himself, and a lit lantern is raised to his face as if he was searching, or signalling, for something or someone. In the distance of the scene are what appears to be mountain tops. The vantage point implies the figure is standing in a high and lonely place.
The Hermit stands alone. Sometimes he appears to be searching for something or someone. Sometimes he appears to be studying the light in his lantern. Either way, he set out on an individual journey, one that would be difficult to explain or justify to others. To me he signals the search for wisdom that leads to understanding. He is like the High Priestess in that communicating this wisdom would be difficult. He is unlike the Hierophant in that he is willing to reject tradition and established procedures to obtain it. He could be an advisor to the Emperor if he could be found, but the Hermit is not interested in the intrigues that would come with the position.
When the Hermit appears in a reading, he often signifies the Querent or a state of mind the Querent is advised to take up for themselves. Isolation is necessary at times to allow the Querent to consider things without interference. However remaining detached from the everyday affairs of living can work against the Querent, leaving them disconnected from friends and those external things that can bring happiness.
This is a neutral card, taking on the hue of weal or woe based on the cards accompanying it and the light of the Querent’s questions. As a solitary pull it advises to carefully scrutinize what we think is wisdom and understanding, to take such knowledge aside and inspect it closely for biases and empty wishes.