- The portrayal of a desolate peak seems to refer to the Rosicrucian
mystical journey. The Welsh alchemist and mystic, Thomas Vaughan cites a
“Letter of the Rosy Cross”
which “describes, under the allegory of a mountain, a certain profound
state of introspection” (Waite: The Secret Tradition in Alchemy, p 285).
In Azoth or Star of the East (p 161), Waite states that "Solitude is essential to such a work and
the education of the superior conditions is best effected among the primeval
sublemities of Nature, in mountain fastnesses in the divine desolation of the
- Hexagonal glow in the lantern - The hexagon appears on the magic lantern
illustrated by Levi (Transcendental Magic, p 252). In The Secret
Tradition in Freemasonry (p 36), Waite shows a similar symbol, a radiant hexagon which
he describes as “The Hexagon, encompassed by a solar glory.” The Frontispiece in
Waite’s Hermetic Museum shows the hermit following the bright hexagonal light
being carried before him by a female spirit.
A further hint may be offered in Waite’s poem: “At the End of Things” from
Collected Poems of Arthur Edward Waite. (The text of the poem can be accessed at
http://www.adepti.com thanks to the research of
The poem describes a spiritual pilgrim:
And a star I stole for the good of my soul,
Lest the darkness came down on my sins...
I carried the star; that star led me...
Did my star more than the cozening guide?
The fool, as I think, at the chasm's brink...
Did, even as I, in the end rejoice.
The card suggests that the Hermit is now holding the star aloft so that others
may find it. For
example, in Lamps of
Western Mysticism (p 307), we find “I put up this Lamp of the Heights as a
beacon for others hereafter.”
Based on original research by (in alphabetical order)
A. Grinder and R. O'Neill. To add to this collection
of information, please email Robert V. O'Neill.