This card has frustrated me for a long time, as I feel the rest of the deck is pretty clearly RWS-based, but this card never seemed to me to fit especially well (or...at all!) with my own ideas about the RWS Hermit. I recently had a "Eureka moment," though, about how to interpret this card in such a way as to still fit in with RWS Hermit notions. I thought I'd share it here. I just wrote about it at some length in my ongoing blog this morning, but as I'm not sure if we're allowed to put up links to our blogs in non-advertising threads, I'm just copying the most relevant portion in here:
"It struck me that this Hermit represents a very specific moment in the quest for spiritual discovery and growth: it's that moment when the spiritual seeker has gotten herself/himself into a position such that it's necessary to weather a sudden, unstoppable incoming flood of knowledge/sensation/input, and there's nowhere to hide from it, no way to elude or evade it. You, the seeker, have asked for it, and now you're getting it, even if that means being steamrollered by it. Contemplate the person who gets so deep into trance that, for the first time, they're not sure they'll be able to find their way out of it. Consider the seeker who leaps into the existential Abyss, and gets so far out into actual ego-death, that the sense of "I" that we generally carry with us completely disappears. Ponder the psychonaut adventurer who plunges out into the cosmic seas of something like DMT or Ayahuasca for the first time, and realizes for one screaming microsecond as the substance comes on, that this will be far, far more than was ever bargained for, and that there's no hope for control here -- all that's left is surrender... And of course, it's often through such staggering, transformative experiences that we derive the most Truth and Enlightenment...but they're certainly not the easiest experiences in the world to endure! And so I believe that that's what this particular Hermit represents: that aspect, that specific moment, in the quest for spiritual Knowledge. The moment in which one is transported, shrieking, toward some new and vastly greater Understanding. And that doesn't fly in the face of the traditional Hermit's meaning at all -- it actually fits with it exceedingly well. And now that I've seen it as such, I doubt I'll ever be able to un-see it."