Cassandra Snow takes readers on a queer tour of tarot reading. Check out the first eight parts: Queering The Tarot: Strength, Queering The Tarot: The Chariot, Queering the Tarot: The Lovers, Queering the Tarot: The Hierophant, Queering the Tarot: The Emperor, The Empress, and Archaic Gender Roles, Queering the Tarot: The High Priestess, Queering The Tarot: The Magician, Queering the Tarot, and Queering the Tarot: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
The Hermit in most tarot decks lives isolated, usually in nature, relying on Earth and an ancient spiritual wisdom only they have access to. Interpreting this card, at least on the surface level, usually sees us encouraging querents to learn to love their time alone, and to use it for spiritual purposes. Frequently it shows up for newly single people warning them not to jump into something else too quickly, and very often it’s a card of self-reliance. Alternate readings can include maturation and the inner peace and wisdom that come with aging.
Queering this card is crucial for LGBTQQIA* clients sometimes. On the most basic level, those with unaccepting families will find themselves walking a Hermit’s path before falling into a chosen family, and while this is not actually exclusive to queer experience, it is all too common in our community. If the question revolves around how the coming out process will go, the Hermit serves as both a warning that the conversation may not go ideally, but also as a reassurance that the wisdom and peace needed for dealing with this blow are present within oneself. The Hermit showing up at all reminds us that making time to take care of yourself is necessary, and that there are always periods of time when we most rely wholly on ourselves. In a queered reading, this is especially true.
Along these same lines, that first queer break-up, standing up for ourselves to friends or family that judges but doesn’t disown us, and periods of questioning our gender or sexual identity may lead us to a time of The Hermit—a time when we must spend a lot of time alone, walk our own path even if it feels lonely, and rely on our own spiritual wisdom and power. The really great amazing news that the Hermit brings is that if you take the card’s advice, you are looking at a series of spiritual and emotional breakthroughs, life-changing epiphanies, and a side order of strength of conviction that you didn’t know was possible. This doesn’t change for LGBTQQIA* querents, but it’s a crucial promise of a pot of gold at the end of an otherwise painful period of rainbows that people in our community need—often more than their straight, cisgender colleagues.
I would, of course, be remiss if I didn’t bring up asexuality and aromanticism, particularly if the Hermit shows up repeatedly, when a client asks why they haven’t met anyone to get excited about, or in various other relevant times. This can be a tricky topic to broach, and I actually don’t recommend flat out asking “Do you think you might be asexual/aromantic?” unless you’re reading for yourself. I do want to add here that not every asexual person is aromantic and vice-versa, but both may abstain from sexual or romantic relationships for various reasons, including their own desire or lack thereof. Instead, I would compassionately talk about the importance of alone time and remind them that not everyone is meant to be partnered. I might not say the word aromantic, but I would ask if they even WANTED to be partnered, because even though in the moment they might think so, the idea might sit in their mind until they’re able to process it further.
Tarot readers are not sexuality experts or therapists. The job of the tarot cards or a tarot reader is not to label, diagnose, or otherwise decide for the querent—it is to provide them information, inspiration, and empowerment so that they can do these things for themselves moving forward. For the purposes of this column, however, knowing that repeated showings of this card or the card showing up in regards to romantic or sexual questions could connect to an asexual or aromantic identity is vital. My final note along these lines is an acknowledgement that not everyone who abstains from romantic or sexual relationships is aromantic or asexual. Illness, religious beliefs, and gender dysphoria could lead someone who is LGBTQQIA* to chose to live a Hermit’s life. Not labeling the client yourself is incredibly important in these cases, and if any of these reasons are present, that solitude could be fluid or the querent may find themselves willing to move away from The Hermit later on. That in no way changes the present reality, and all of this should be considered carefully when engaging with the querent. Obviously a lot of this compassion and tact can go out the window if you’re just reading for yourself, but it’s still important to know that repeated showings of The Hermit still do not warrant it remaining in your life forever and ever.
The Hermit will show up for everyone at some point in their lives. Alone time is crucial, but what’s more crucial is the art of self-reliance and the ability to access the deepest magic and highest spiritual plane within yourself. For queer or questioning people, this time can be life-altering in the best possible way, but it bears noting that we may fall into this time period through less than joyous circumstances. Additionally, readings should be informed and compassionate for people of all identities, and that includes asexual and aromantic querents. Queering The Hermit should take all of those possibilities into account without judgment or the temptation to label a querent yourself. In any case, the advice of The Hermit is simple, and even simple to queer: honor one’s truest and highest self, prepare to walk a necessary path even if that means you do it alone, and solitude is so important. Even if the solitude lasts awhile or forever, that too can be and is a beautiful gift. Focusing on these points will empower someone and allow them to make those realizations on their own. After all, The Hermit sees us through important epiphanies, so this is a time to let someone have those on their own.