Hermit – Celtic Wisdom Tarot

Celtic Wisdom Counselor

Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
ISBN 0-89281-720-8

The Book says:  The Counselor is the Celtic god whom the Romans called Silvanus. The figure is one who returns to nature for his healing, with only trees and animals for companions. This deity was sometimes seen as a hunter or guardian of animals, a wise countryman who respected the rhythms of the seasons.

Keywords: Counsel, inner guidance, seeking professional help, tactical or purposeful withdrawal to recoup energies or ideas, pondering or planning, discretion, prudence, proceeding carefully.
Reversed: Bad advice, refusal to heed wisdom or seek help, isolation, reliance on limited resources, lack of accountability, rash or foolish actions.
Soul-Wisdom: The Counselor of Truth is a touchpoint of assurance and validation, reminding us that the three candles that illumine every darkness are truth, nature, and knowledge. What seeks to be born in the silence?

TarotBroad’s Buzz: The Counselor shows a more mythological aspect of the Hermit. This is the wise madman that populates so much Celtic myth. He is the guide who points out the right direction. The person who may ask us seemingly ridiculous riddles in order to help us gain understanding and enlightenment. He is the wildman who fled into the woods seeking healing and solace from the madness surrounding him. He has wondered these woods, howling at the moon and mourning his loss. He has experienced the depths of anguish, pain and insanity. And yet somehow he survived. He plunged to the depths of human misery and came out whole. But it was not an easy process. This is no comfortable walk along a wooded country lane. The Hermit’s experiences have taken him through the dark, wild woods, full of danger and the unknown – whether from real creatures or from his own mind. The Counselor offers a friendly face to help us along the way. But much like a dedicated teacher, he will push you and prod you to achieve all that you can and to test yourself beyond your normal limits. He will not ease up if he feels you have the potential. He will help you expand your horizons and explore unfamiliar terrain.

The Counselor reminds me of one psychological school of thought which sees schizophrenics as the “normal” people and the rest of us as the mad folks. This school of thoughts proposes that if modern life doesn’t drive you mad, then perhaps you are the truly “crazy” one. Or he can be seen in movies and books which present us with a “natural philosopher”, the hobo, hooker or mental patient who truly makes more sense than any other character in the movie. James Stewart in Harvey is the Counselor, helping us navigate the journey through life with wit, humor and love and not giving up hope no matter how overwhelming the odds.

 

Skill, hard work, achieving a certain level or competence and mastery in a field – all of these can be seen as aspects of the 8 of Pentacles.  This card reminds me that without practice, hard work and persistence, it is unlikely that we will become truly skilled at anything.  There are folks born with an innate talent – such as singing, a musical ear or athletic ability.  However if they do not practice and hone those skills, they are just wasted potential.  Even when we are born with certain talents, practice allows us to hone and improve those skills.

It occurs to me that the same principle applies to manifesting the future I want.  It is not just going to happen because I want it to happen.  It will take focus, concentration and plain old hard work.  It will involve making mistakes and being willing to continue moving forward despite the setbacks.  It will take believing in myself and my skills even when both inner and outer critics try to undermine my confidence.  I realized as I’m writing this that it’s pretty amazing anyone manages to reach journeyman or master craftsperson status in any field.  Our own inner demons are always so ready to undermine us and knock us down.  Perhaps the true key to becoming a master craftsperson in any field or to manifesting the future you desire is the ability to focus and ignore those damn loud, noisy, persistent inner critics.

I’m reading Ensouling Language right now and it is amazing how things I take for granted in my daily life, such as the ability to focus on small things that give me pleasure and sensing when something doesn’t feel right, are also skills Buhner recommends for someone who wishes to write.  He helped me realize why I enjoy some authors and books and dislike others, even when they’ve been highly praised by various reviewers.  Each person will have their own sense of what feels right.  In order to achieve a level of mastery in any craft, we need to stay true to our own belief in what feels right.  That is much more difficult than it first appears, especially when what we believe feels right flies in the face of popular attitudes.  Bucking the trend and being willing to be an outsider is quite challenging.

So the 8 of Pentacles/Stones is reminding me that a true master at a craft is willing to stay true to her own vision and believe in herself.  She is willing to accept that feeling and living her own truth might make her an outsider to the rest of her community.  And she needs to embrace the hard work and focus that are necessary to help her improve her skills.  Talent may be a gift we are given at birth but mastery and skill in our chosen field are only acquired through persistence, determination and practice.

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