The hermit is holding up and outwards the lamp to guide those who are journeying still the path of evolution.
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
He is holding out the light of his realization to those of us who are following, so we that we will not become lost in the unknown, so we have a point to which we can put our steps. The hermit is the Bodhisattva, the lord of compassion, the lord of enlightened love.
Frodo inspired by Gandalf, showing compassion to a creature as low as Gollum.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. - Marianne Williamson
Frodo shining his own light
This is the hermit, the dweller upon the heights, the light shower. The hermit is standing up on the mountain of attainment.
"We now have but one choice, we must face the long dark of Moria. Be on your Guard, there are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world."
The hermit is clothed in grey, but with the upraised right arm you can see a white sleeve indicating of course the Kether. Represented also by his white beard and by the white snow of the mountain peaks. Snow is frozen water. Here this represents the mind-stuff, the stream of consciousness. Here we see it frozen as snow. Kether has come to Earth, is made manifest and tangible. It's not for nothing that the Himalayas are amongst the most sacred mountains of the world.
They think Saruman, the established white order, approaches. "Do not let him speak, he will put a spell on us." The order that has lost its way. The order that has lost its way must and will be faced and vanquished by one who already faced his demons. Isn't it tragic how rulers throughout history fail to grasp these teachings?
"Gandalf? Ah yes, that was what they used to call me. Gandalf the Grey. That was my name. I am Gandalf the White, and I come back to you know at the turn of the tide."
There is a saying, selfish salvation there is none. When you realize that your essential self is one with all other beings, then their wellbeing is as important to you as your own. That's the meaning of the teaching, love thy neighbor as thyself.
Grey is the color of Chokmah, of wisdom. The perfect blend of the pair of opposites. This being is no longer of yang or yin, this being is the Tao, the Way. So he is a master of wisdom clothed in the grey of the secret wisdom. And he holds the staff, but the staff is at rest, it's in his left hand, because he has completed the journey. There is nowhere now to go, he has become one with all that is. He is the manifestation of the One, which is all.
Real love arises from the recognition of our oneness. You are me, I am you, we are a part of eachother. There is no true separateness. This is why in finding the divine in oneself, one finds all.
This is the beckoning light that calls the souls to the mountain of attainment, this is what encourages us, what makes us undertake the journey. Sometimes lonely, sometimes sad, over borders of challenges. Avoiding the pitfalls and landfalls of false teaching and egoistic practice. But in time we come to the snow peak and above us stands the hermit.
This is why the masters have said: The way you are now, at this very moment, you listening to this, wherever you are, whatever state you find yourself in. No matter what you think of yourself, the masters say, that where you are now, they too once were. The masters of Wisdom, the buddhas, the bhosavet, they're all a part of humanity, they're not aliens. This is the great encouragement that we learn from them, because they have done it, we can too.
So they say, where you are now, there I was. And where I am now on this summit of attainment, standing out against the great void that appears as darkness but is actually a light beyond any earthly light. Where I stand now, you will surely come to be. Because that is the purpose of creation, and its unfolding. Its unfolding, the completion of its evolution.
The hermit inspires the righteous king.
The letter assigned to this card is Yod, which is translated as Hand. I'm often reminded here of a Tibetan image, where the embodiment of compassion is shown as having a thousand arms and on the palm of each hand there is an open eye. The eye is the most sensitive part of the human body, that shows vision, insightfulness, compassion streaming out upon all beings, upon all things.
Words (not in italic) are by David Goddard - Symbolism of the Tarot (MP3 series).
"The last pages are for you."