Librarian and Professor of Candle Magic
Mandrake’s school librarian usually scurries through the
archives as quickly and quietly as a mouse. He’s hard to corner, and you
might only catch a glimpse of him before he disappears into a secret alcove
or a hidden reading room. He occasionally teaches a class in candle magic,
but you’ll have to register early: the Hermit doesn’t like crowds, so
enrollment is extremely limited.
The school librarian is an old
man, stooped with age and wrapped in a heavy, hooded cloak. He moves
through the shadows of ancient tomes by the light of a hand-dipped
candle. He carries the light of wisdom for others to follow, but he
doesn’t go out of his way to attract attention.
The Hermit card usually represents wisdom, prudence,
and illumination, as well as philosophy, introspection, and meditation.
The card also illustrates the concept of solitude and the power of
The Hermit’s constant companion is a mouse, a symbol
of quiet watchfulness, observation, and attention to detail.
One of the books behind the Hermit is marked with the
Hebrew letter Yod, a simple
form that looks like a flame. It means hand, and it signifies the hand
of God. It’s also a form that’s incorporated in every other letter of
the Hebrew alphabet.
The Hermit is carrying a book inscribed with a glyph
for Virgo, the sign of work, duty, and service. Virgos are hard-working,
practical, resourceful, and organized — but they sometimes isolate
themselves in an effort to live up to their own high standards. In
Latin, Virgo means “unmarried” or “self-possessed.”
Virgos can be critical
although usually, they are most critical of themselves. They’re also
extremely helpful. Once you seek them out, they are more than willing to
share the wisdom they have accumulated on their own journeys.
Use candle magic to focus your intent on goal that you’ve
set for yourself. Start with a small candle, because you’ll burn it in one
sitting. Choose a white candle for purity, pink for love and affection, red
for passion, orange for desire, yellow for clarity, green for creativity and
financial success, and blue for insight. Choose a black candle if your goal
is to reduce, eliminate, or banish something from your life.
Use a toothpick to inscribe meaningful words or symbols on
the candle. Place the candle in a safe spot, and surround it with tarot
cards that remind you of your objective.
As you light the candle, state your goal aloud. As it
burns, visualize yourself reaching your goal and enjoying the results. When
the candle burns out, record the session in your Book of Shadows.
Red, the color
of wine or blood, symbolizes passion, love, and sex. Red is also the
color of Aries, the sign of the warrior, and Mars
, the planet of energy and aggression. It can
represent danger, anger, and alarm.
Pink, a lighter shade of red,
indicates passions that have cooled. Shades of pink and rose are
soothing, calming, and symbolize acceptance, friendship, forgiveness,
love, romance, peace, and harmony. Pink is associated with Taurus, the
sign of comfort, and Venus, the planet of romance.
Orange, like a blazing fire or a
sunset on a tropical island, symbolizes the flames of desire and burning
passions. Orange typically represents vitality and enjoyment, vigor,
physical health, enthusiasm, and enjoyment. The color is associated with
Leo, the sign of the showman, and the sun.
Yellow, like the sun, symbolizes
energy, clear thinking, and consciousness. Yellow is also the color of
Mercury, the planet of speed and communication, along with Gemini,
the sign of the twins. Yellow represents optimism, radiance, and
brilliance. Yellow can sometimes symbolize cowardice and weakness.
Green is the color of nature, growth,
healing, and fertility. It symbolizes creativity and prosperity. In the
United States, green is the color of money and financial success. Green
can also symbolize envy, jealousy, and greed. Green is associated with
Taurus and Libra, two signs ruled by fertile Venus.
Blue, the tranquil color
of sea and sky, is associated
with meditation and reflection. It also corresponds to Jupiter, the
planet of luck and expansion, and Sagittarius, the sign of exploration.
Indigo, like the midnight heavens,
symbolizes cosmic mysteries. Lost in its inky depths, the color inspires
contemplation, wisdom, spiritual realization, and cosmic wisdom. Indigo
is associated with Uranus, the planet of revolutionary thought, and
Aquarius, the sign of social groups and causes.
Violet, the traditional color of
royalty, symbolizes leadership and divinity, as well as luxury, wealth,
and sophistication. It’s associated with Neptune, the planet of
illusion, and Pisces, the sign of the subconscious realm.
Black, the color of night, is linked
to darkness and sleep, when our consciousness fades and our unconscious
thoughts and emotions take control of our dreams. Black is mysterious.
It can even be elegant and authoritative. Black is also the color of
mourning, depression, darkness, and anxiety, and it can symbolize dark
and destructive forces of nature. Black corresponds to Pluto, the planet
of transformation, and Scorpio, the sign of life’s greatest mysteries.
White, like the clouds, symbolizes
innocence, pure spirituality, intuition and psychic ability. It can also
seem sterile, cold, clinical, and easily marred. It’s often associated
with the moon, the brightest luminary in the night sky, along with
Cancer, the sign that’s ruled by the moon.
Brown, the color of bare earth,
symbolizes the potential of fallow soil. It can represent grounding,
stability, and practicality. Brown can also symbolize poverty and dirt.
The color is associated with Capricorn, the sign of earthly concerns,
and Saturn, the planet of boundaries, limitations, and restrictions.
The Hermit’s Solitary One-Card Spread
The Hermit is thoughtful, introspective man, and he can
get more information from a solitary card than most tarot readers can get
from ten or twenty cards.
How to Read a Single Card
Start by saying the name of each card out loud. “This
card,” you might say, “is the Queen of Swords.”
If the card you’re reading is from the major arcana,
discuss what you know about its archetype, and the powerful life lessons
that major arcana cards represent. It might help to bring up the stories
and myths associated with each card.
If the card is from the minor arcana, summarize what
you know about the suit. Wands, for example, usually relate to spiritual
issues, while cups are emotional, swords are intellectual, and pentacles
are physical cards.
Look at the numbers assigned to each card. They could
indicate whether the issue at hand is in the beginning, middle, or end
Pay attention to the color schemes in the card. What
moods do the colors convey? What accent colors are used? What do they
add to the card’s meaning?
Then describe the figures or characters in each card.
Describe their clothing, their posture, their expressions, and their
attitudes. Imagine what they might say if you could hear them speak.
Look beyond the characters in the card, and describe
the scenery that surrounds them. Look for meaningful images and signs in
As you study each card, your eye will probably be
drawn to a single image or symbol. That image might remind you of a
word, a phrase, or an expression. It might trigger a visual image or
scene in your mind’s eye. It might make you feel hot or cold, or inspire
an emotional reaction. In fact, a card could activate any one of your
senses: sight, sound, touch, scent, and even taste. Simply put your
reaction into words. Don’t worry about being right or wrong; just
describe all of the impressions you get from the card.
Once you start talking, don’t censor yourself. Go with
the flow and just keep talking, stream-of-consciousness style. Random
words and phrases might pop into your head. Repeat them out loud, even
if they don’t seem to make sense. That’s because the cards sometimes
communicate through puns and wordplay. You might say “sun,” for example,
but the person you’re reading for will hear “son,” and the message will
make perfect sense. At any rate, verbalizing your impressions will help
you assess each card, and you may even surprise yourself with the
accuracy of your insight and intuition.
Tarot reading is a collaborative process. If you get
stuck, especially if you’re reading for someone else, ask them what the
images could mean, and which symbols seem most important. There’s no
need to pretend you’re psychic if you’re not. Even if you do have an
especially sensitive sixth sense, asking for basic information is much,
much easier than trying to intuit the facts. As you look at the cards
together, you may even find that your querent has a good sense of what
the symbols and images portend in their lives.
Return to the Study Guide