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Upright Meanings: Slow deliberation, the wisdom of age, contemplation, caution, precaution, seniority.
Reversed Meanings: Obstacle, apathy, avarice, ageing, dementia, compulsive retentiveness, hoarding, decrepitude.
Like several other Trumps in Dame Fortune's Wheel, Huson's Hermit draws on the 15th Century, pre-occult Estense deck from Ferrera.
He is shown carrying an hour glass rather than a lantern which suggests another identity for the Hermit of 'Old Man Time' or 'Old Father Time'.
Huson references Greek God Kronos (Saturn to the Romans) and his attempt to hang onto his throne by swallowing his babies, but he was thwarted by his wife and was overthrown by his son Zeus (Jupiter).
Kronos is also known as Chronos, from where we get the term 'chronology' to indicate events over a period of time. Saturn is also associated with the flow of time.
The Hermit's aged body reminds us that time is "the devourer of all things" and that as the sand in the hourglass empties from top to bottom, physical vitality will also drain away.
A flip of the hourglass however, and a new period of time, new life begins. Indeed Saturn, as an agricultural God, was often depicted with a sickle or a scythe and associated with both harvesting and sowing of seed.
And time is not altogether destructive either as with age comes wisdom from experience. Saturn is often shown with a white beard indicating a purity and innocence that age has gifted him. Saturnalia was a popular Roman festival in his honour, described by Latin writer Macrobius as "a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, with the abundant presence of candles symbolizing the quest for knowledge and truth".
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