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Legend: The Hermit, Lancelot in Exile

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalesWoman
I was struck afresh by how stark and lifeless this card is, compared to it's present summer look in the photos. There is greenery, but's it's more mossy...parasitic looking, the roots, symbiosis of the nourishiment from within, the mosses and fungi live on the trees and the trees benifit from the mosses, they need each other, all recycled froms of debris...how leaves fall and decay, and feed the system. All those layers upon layers to create the soil, our reality? Experiences, the things of our lives, we create and nourish. Those roots of old trees old ways, old knowledge, clinging,digging and breaking up the rock beneath it, sending it's shoots into the cracks and the saplings, just beginning to get a purchase and grow. Be it the roots of established knowledge taking root and working their way in to our being or roots to the nature of our situation.
It is fascinating how as a group we can go deeper and deeper into an image like this, ourselves building up "layers upon layers to create the soil, our reality". Yes, what a huge difference between the quietly quaint door surrounded but a fairly mundane setting as it is today and the extreme darkness and despondency Anna-Marie has imaged for us. In seeing the image and reading the text I get the impression that Lance couldn't have lasted much longer, that Elaine saved him when he had just about come to the end of his rope. He needed no ordinary cure, but the Grail itself to heal him and the passionate devotion of Elaine, so this Hermit is a man in extreme need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WalesWoman
Yet it seems like thorny brambles block the entrance or that gate to discover what lies behind it. So maybe it may make you bleed if you are careless, but they aren't a real hazard, just something to get through.
But I'm thinking that so often we do need to bleed to heal, that only through pain do we find joy and compassion. Not that we should in any way seek pain out, but to have the courage to face it when it blocks the way forward. But again, to be aware of our own limits in dealing with pain, that can be the problem too. Clearly Lance has gone beyond his limits in this card.
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mooncat2
Lyones - I'm not going anywhere - nothing is ever achieved by running away. You may not have dreamed - I may never again either - but I still think this deck is powerful. I wonder if you would have written that very beautiful 5 Cups poem for the RW card?
Oh good *sigh of relief* ... but you are right, the only decks I've ever written for have been this one and the Vision Quest.

Quote:
Originally posted by inanna_tarot
.... Upset at God, for giving him a life and a love he can not fully be truthful about ...
I agree - the feeling of being all alone in the world can make us feel as if we've been abandoned by what we believe in, wanting so much to believe and looking for something that makes sense to us.

Quote:
Originally posted by WalesWoman
Those roots of old trees old ways, old knowledge, clinging,digging and breaking up the rock beneath it, sending it's shoots into the cracks and the saplings, just beginning to get a purchase and grow. Be it the roots of established knowledge taking root and working their way in to our being or roots to the nature of our situation.
I like this WW ... I always get a sense of the "old" from this card, a sort of tired, exhausted feeling, which makes me think of experience and wisdom (looking for it or gaining it through something which has happened) ... but I like the fact that summer brings new growth - there is always hope.

Quote:
Originally posted by WalesWoman
Now that I've seen the gate...going thru saints to God's ear? ... Go forth and sin no more?
Like a confessional? I find that thought quite interesting actually, like Lancelot's feeling of unworthiness makes him accept his excile as a penance.
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Ambrusca - Ambrosius?


Wow, I've been away for a day and missed this whole conversation! Incredible.

I'm wondering if St. Ambrews/Ambrusca is another name for Ambrosius. Was this a name of an old god? I know there was an Ambrosius who was king before Uther. But so often the old gods were renamed and reframed as saints. Does he have something to do with light? With Lleu? A Roman name for Lleu? Is the head on the well gate the Hermit's lantern? Leading of course to the deep well of consciousness? This is all just coming to me as I write, from some almost forgotten memories of the stories.

In the old way, if Lancelot was Guinevere's choice, he would've become King. But at this cusp, when Christianity entered Britain, suddenly women were chattel, and the patriarchal Kingdom prevailed. So Guinevere and Lancelot become adulterers, tragic figures who end up in celibate communities of monks and nuns. Hermits, indeed. Instead of lovers.

For me they are such images of confusion, both personal and the confusion of most of western society for the past 1500 years or so.

As for Elaine, I believe she resembles Guinevere. That never works. They both should have known better.
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The importance of the well can't be overlooked. In the gloom of this card it shines in the light of the flame.

There are hundreds of these wells throughout Great Britain - ancient sacred wells each with its own healing power. Even today people still leave offerings by throwing pins and coins into the water or tying pieces of cloth to nearby trees. In 2001 I visited the Chalice Well at Glastonbury - there was a steady stream of local people who came and filled bottles with the water .

Water was revered as the source of life, with a power to cleanse, purify and regenerate both internally and externally. The fact that so many of them bear saints names shows the inability of christian teachings to change the peoples belief in the healing powers of their wells. Instead they just changed the names to make them more acceptable.

St Ambrew's Well is locked - the water is unaccessible to Lancelot - there is no healing or regeneration here. The carving on the gate looks remarkably like a woman to me - the pain of the loss of Guenevere was a barrier he was incapable of moving beyond.
Quote:
Originally posted by Sophie-David
I get the impression that Lance couldn't have lasted much longer, that Elaine saved him when he had just about come to the end of his rope. He needed no ordinary cure, but the Grail itself to heal him and the passionate devotion of Elaine, so this Hermit is a man in extreme need.
I think so - perhaps these are his final moments of despair before he lay down in utter defeat , probably hoping to die.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inanna_tarot
He feels such deep heart break that his Queen has abandoned him, I dont think he thought she would ever let him go. He feels betrayed that Guenevere doesn't believe he has been tricked. In times like these you feel the only person you can trust is yourself, that you only need you to survive, and thats what Lancelot learns here- what it is to be alone.
...maybe there was some wisdom from the Hermit in his decision after all.
Another wonderful exegisis of the card, and there's not much I can find to add to it!

What I've been thinking is that from what I've read of the "dark ages" Celtic tradition, rather than the medieval Christian, it was acceptable for a Queen to take a lover, just as the King might do the same. In an arranged royal marriage between two powerful families, she was not owned by "her Lord", but much closer to being an equal. So in the earlier tellings of their romance, there isn't necessarily a perception of immorality and shame existing between Lance and Guen, this was overlaid later. I think it is also true that soul-to-soul love transcends ordinary morality in whatever age it happens. In any case, what I'm getting at is that in the original telling of the Hermit story here, Lance's primary feelings would be of rejection, the naked sword of separation from his lover, but not necessarily any guilt beyond that arising from his unfaithfulness with Elaine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inanna_tarot
Jesus is standing there, with a lit candle in one hand, his other knocking on a door. He can't open the door, for it is locked and there is no handle on his side. The locks and the handle is only on the other side, your side. Jesus is knocking on your door, the door to your heart, to your soul, polietely knocking, asking to come in.
Yes, I know that beautiful image too. The Internet tells me it is Holman Hunt's Light of the World. This image is based on Revelation 3:20: “Behold! I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

There is quite a beautiful commentary on this painting here:
http://www.oldandsold.com/articles24/masters-8.shtml

and the picture here:
http://cgfa.sunsite.dk/hunt/p-hunt5.htm

Ah, RedMaple, I see we had a congruence on the subject of Guen being able to choose her mate in the Celtic tradition. I had left my post open for dinner so that I could find the image of Jesus at the door, and noticed after I posted that you had already discussed it - neat!
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Quote:
First posted by RedMaple
I'm wondering if St. Ambrews/Ambrusca is another name for Ambrosius. Was this a name of an old god? I know there was an Ambrosius who was king before Uther.
I wondered that, too and went hunting today but its all very confusing.

I found this
'According to Celtic historians, Vortigen was succeeded by Ambrose. In typical Celtic duality, though a devout Christian and saintly ruler, Ambose rose according to a Druid's vision of the Red Dragon of the Celts slaying the White Dragon of the Saxons. When Ambrose died childless the kingdom fell to Uther and then to Arthur.'

There was also an Ambrose who was a Christian saint - around this time but in Italy although it seems there was some connection to Vortigen. Whether they are one and the same I don't know.

Definitely not an old god - Ambrose- Ambrosius is Roman.
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There seem to be many similar saints names to St. Ambrews or St. Ambrusca, but does St. Ambrose refer to the same person? I wonder if you would be able to find a reference for us, Sezo? It may be in your local library but unlikely to be in ours. Or when my pastor returns from holidays he might know, since he loves Celtic traditions.
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Here is the card we've discussed.
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I remember years ago, being told that the Hermit #9 or 3 x 3 related to the Empress and that her energy was seen through the lantern or in this case Lancelot's torch.

Nine also is a higher octave of 2, the High Priestess, a lunar number so the Hermit = the intellectual teachings and deep instincts of the High Priestess. To find her we have to use our bare hands to slice through our own barriers and vines .. then we can dig down in the moist earth and into the hidden recesses of our own bodies.

The High Priestess is our innermost essence and we hunger for her healing medicine. Her blackness is cool like the snow in this card, where we can immerse our overly-sensitive and feverish nervous system and allow it to rest. It's here we can allow her energy to silence the mind so the body can let go of the heaviness of its own weight and to let the heart soften so the soul finds its rightful place. The High Priestess is the one that teaches us to let go of control and let our small separate selves dissolve in her vastness. She is the one who sets the lover's soul free to soar.

Lancelot reminds me of very good friend of mine who like Lancelot, was very spiritually inclined and was jerked around by others because of his acute sensitivity... this sensitivity made him look at things one-sided instead of using both the left and right brain. He had an abusive father and was bullied and teased most of his young life. He also suffered from digestive problems and several food allergies. There were times he felt extremely sorry for himself and turned to alcohol, drugs and other things to escape his life.

We were in our early 20's when we joined a crowd of thousands for the towns yearly Midnight Madness. A metaphysical center close to where we were, was offering psychic readings and healings through the night. Mike and I agreed to have our readings done together and it's a night we'll never forget. Mike was told he was extremely psychically sensitive and sensor sensitive (5 senses) as well. Because of this sensitivity he suffered more than most of failing under pressure and not enjoying what he was supposed to be doing. He was told the best way to get to know himself was by getting to know his bodily strengths and weaknesses. (some people have a greater awareness of what's unconscious so the doorway between is not locked but swings a bit and you get glimpses when it does) But for some of us if we deny or repress our subconscous and don't meet this doorway halfway, it can threaten to flood us. You can't get rid of the unconscious mind!

A psychic individual (like Mike and Lancelot) is a quiet subtle person, rather than one looking for attention. I remember Mike saying that he didn't know whether the perceptions he felt (about how to live his life) were coming from his ego or from his intuition, so he didn't know whether to follow them or not. Historically, I know nothing of Lancelot's life as a child or of growing up. But what I've read about him here and other places, he was a gentle giant with a strong sense of loyalty, desire and passion to sacrifice his needs to fulfill the needs of others. When Lancelot was able to show his potential, he awed everyone around him. But his past always seemed to creep out of nowhere and alienate him from those he most wanted to serve.

Mike discovered he needed to delve inward and learn and analyze his own behavior. Just like Lancelot, he had to strip himself of everything from the outside world to discover his inner advisor. He was told once he knew what it was he wanted to do, other areas of his life would automatically balance itself out. He went to university and studied engineering but it wasn't what he wanted. It didn't take long for Mike to realize he wanted to work in the healing profession. He became a chiropractor and spiritual advisor learning Reiki and other modes of healing.

Real life Hermits often withdraw from society living in woods, deserts, mountaintops and caves. For those of us who can't escape this world, the Hermit means a psychological withdrawal and paying more attention to ourselves or some spiritual purpose.

This card and its connection to the High Priestess also brings us more vivid dreams and unusual states of awareness.
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