Monday, May 28, 2012

Woden and the Hermit

The Hermit in the Druidcraft Tarot. 
I am not the tarot expert that Lynda is, but I do know the cards. As long as I have known of tarot, I've always felt an affinity for a few certain cards, and respond to their imagery in almost every deck I am familiar with. One of these is the Hermit.

Around the same time of the omens I wrote of before, I undertook an exercise that the Dedicant manual suggests for those seeking a patron deity. It is to look through the major arcana cards of several decks and pick those that resonate strongly, either positive or negative. I chose various ones in the three decks I worked with, and put the Hermit into the strong attraction pile of all three.

The Hermit is always depicted as an old man with a staff and a lantern wandering the landscape. The interpretation of the card usually refers to seeking wisdom and retreat -- retreat meaning withdrawal from distraction into solitude for a time.

This is another point of strong connection with Woden, who is often depicted in a floppy hat, wandering the worlds with a staff, keeping watch of what's going on. (Think Gandalf with one eye.)

My choices overall showed an attraction to the sober wielding of power or confident exercise of authority, the acquiring and passing on of wisdom (the Hierophant), an a curiosity about mystery (the Moon.) These are also traits that are true of the All-Father.

In the Wildwood Tarot
The Hermit is called
The Hooded Man.
Interestingly, though, another strong image that could relate to Woden, the Hanged Man, didn't strike me.

I know that I hanged on a windy tree
nine long nights
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.

No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn
downward I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.

(From The Havamal)

Still, the wandering Hermit, in my mind, IS Woden, and he has always spoken to me. I think my other choices also illuminate aspects of his nature that may be less obvious, less well-known to me. It was an enlightening exercise.

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