The Hermit is the last Atu in the deck who is still entirely human in form, marking the last stage of Initiation in Assiah (the material world). His simple robe shows he needs no outward signs of attainment. His grey beard and long hair illustrate his progression and maturity. He is far from the fresh faced youth we saw in The Magician. His number is nine which corresponds to the Sephira Yesod, the Moon, but his lamp suggests Tiphareth, the Radiant power of the Sun. He has balanced the fecundity of the Goddess with the procreative power of Solar Logos. In the Thoth card his staff is transformed into male spermatozoa, The Hermit is therefore a symbol of creativity, sexual and magickal. He can manifest his Will through Ritual, but, as his power increases, he doesn’t waste his energy on ‘results magick’ but instead chooses to channel his ‘Sekh’ inwards raising his kundalini/consciousness to an exalted hight.
Although a Hermit and Holy Man, he has not retired from the world entirely. He wanders the globe bringing the Light of Knowledge to those in need. He also has the role of Psycho-pomp, mediating between the worlds, it is he, as Mercury, who descends to Hades to return Persephone from her winter sojourn in the Underworld.
Atu IX is a figure of tremendous wisdom and self control. He has freed himself from the petty ego and walks modestly along the Middle Path. His Lamp is Enlightenment, his Staff a Royal Sceptre disguised as a simple rod, the well worn sandals on his feet symbolize the Ankh of Eternal life. The archetypal Wizard, he is Hermes, Merlin and even Gandalf! He is the Zen Master and the Jedi Knight. Through praxis and immersion in occult study he is able to write his own myth, he is truly the architect of his own future but he has many trials and ordeals ahead which he will meet on his own terms.