Mythic Tarot - The Hermit


Cronos, shrouded in gray robes with his face half-hidden, walks across a barren landscape. In his right hand he holds a lamp that burns with a single light. In his left hand he wields a scythe. A crow perches on his shoulder. Behind him are mountains that bleed into an oppressive gray sky.

  • the crescent moon, symbol of the eternal fluctuations and cycles of time
  • symbol of the unrelenting flow of time
  • symbol of the separation of earthly creation from the sky
  • the setting, or waning power of the Autumn sun
  • may correspond to sowing and reaping
  • insight and understanding, gleaned from loneliness and patient watching
  • awareness, light or insight
  • symbol of one’s own light or spirituality
  • wisdom, the intellect, guidance
  • spirit, truth, intelligence
  • the embodiment of the spirit of the old king who has died to make way for the new
  • associated with change or trial
  • Metaphors/Proverbs:
    • “as the crow flies” means as directly as possible
    • “to crow over” something is to be very expressive and joyful about it
    • “a crow doesn’t pick out the eye of another crow” means that people who belong to the same group will not and should not harm one another
  • youngest child of Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth), he castrated his father and liberated his brothers, the Titans
  • his period of rule became known as the Golden Age because of the abundance over which he presided
  • god of time, he ruled over the orderly passage of the seasons
  • the last of the Fool’s moral lessons: the lesson of time and the limitations on mortal life
  • an example of how nothing is allowed to live beyond its time and that nothing remains unchanged; these lessons usually only come with age and hard experience; Cronos came by this wisdom in solitude and silence
  • an image of the body, which grows older yet rebels against its mortal fate; solitude and the discovery that one is ultimately alone and mortal are realizations that all humans must face
  • reminder that memory and wisdom come from both the passage of time and the gift of patience
  • acceptance of time yields the rewards of Cronos’ Golden Age, not struggle or conquest
  • enforced limitation and circumstances which only time can release allows one to develop Cronos’ reflective, introverted and solitary stance
  • an image of humility that allows one to endure the obstacles and disappointments that life sometimes brings
  • the shrewdness to change what one can, to accept what one can’t and to wait in silence until one knows the difference.

Written in my workbook on 13 Aug 91:
Cronos's anger at growing old is clothed in a cloak of fear. The Body's betrayal as it ages is perched on his shoulder. He carries the scythe of strength and the light of serenity to help him through his ordeal. The landscape of death lies under skies of sadness. The mountains of your are in the background.

My key color was plum (fear, determination, strong resolve).