My second card in the Tarot Series is not the Magician (as would be the logical order of the deck), but the Hermit. I am not trying to create every single card out of the Tarot, as with 78 cards total that would be most certainly too much to accomplish on this blog, nor am I sticking to any particular order. In stead I am picking out cards that stand out to me or that I feel can be emulated within the Lotro game environment.
The Hermit stands for retreat, contemplation, solitude, reflection, wisdom, isolation and… well, a whole range of other meanings in that context. The wonderful but for beginning Tarot readers sometimes overwhelming issue with the Tarot is that all cards have multiple meanings. Most books or lists on the internet will give you a general meaning for a card, but its ultimate significance is influenced by its position in a spread and the intuitive interpretation of the Tarot reader. And even that is not the whole story of Tarot interpretation as symbolic correspondences, timing, the question of the querent, and many other things all subtly influence the exact meaning of a card. However, the basic meaning of The Hermit card refers to a period of reflection or retreat, necessary to “see the light”.
There are several stories, events and people in the Lord of the Rings that reflect the archetype of The Hermit. An archetype is not a person, though it can be expressed through a person or personality. An archetype is rather a pattern of human behavior, a general pattern of circumstances or a classic series of events.
A good example of the Hermit archetype expressed through a classic series of events is Gandalf’s period of silence and solitude after fighting the Balrog in Moria, where he basically “fights his own demons” in the darkness and passes through the doors of death. As a result he needs to retreat from all involvement in Middle-earth before he can be “born again” into the light. Gandalf is always enigmatic, and keeps his thoughts to himself, so he expresses the Hermit archetype through his personality as well. Other well known “Hermits” in Middle-earth are Tom Bombadil and Radagast and even Bilbo Baggins’ retreat to Rivendell can be regarded as a Hermit pattern.
It was not so easy getting my own Hermit to pose for this Tarot card, but I believe the image still reflects the Hermit well. With my virtual LOTRO Tarot Series I do not aim to represent any of Tolkien’s characters, nor parts of his stories necessarily, but rather use the game environment and outfit system to create an image that I think captures the symbolism, colors and meaning of that particular Tarot card.
For comparison, I added the images of three real Tarot cards. These Hermits are from the Radiant Waite Tarot, the Wildwood Tarot (which renamed the card The Hooded Man) and the Sharman-Caselli Tarot.