CARD IX. THE HERMIT.

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After long wanderings over a sandy, waterless desert where only serpents lived, I met the Hermit.

He was wrapped in a long cloak, a hood thrown over his head. He held a long staff in one hand and in the other a lighted lantern, though it was broad daylight and the sun was shining.

“The lantern of Hermes Trismegistus”, said the voice, “this is higher knowledge, that inner knowledge which illuminates in a new way even what appears to be already clearly known. This lantern lights up the past, the present and the future for the Hermit, and opens the souls of people and the most intimate recesses. of their hearts.”

“The cloak of Apollonius is the faculty of the wise man by which he isolates himself, even amidst a noisy crowd; it is his skill in hiding his mysteries, even while expressing them, his capacity for silence and his power to act in stillness.

“The staff of the patriarchs is his inner authority, his power, his self-confidence.”

The lantern, the cloak and the staff are the three symbols of initiation. They are needed to guide souls past the temptation of illusory fires by the roadside, so that they may go straight to the higher goal. He who receives these three symbols or aspires to obtain them, “strives to enrich himself with all he can acquire, not for himself, but, like God, to delight in the joy of giving”.

“The giving virtue is the basis of an initiate’s life.

“His soul is transformed into ‘a spoiler of all treasures’ so said Zarathustra.

“Initiation unites the human mind with the higher mind by a chain of analogies. This chain is the ladder leading to heaven, dreamed of by the patriarch”.

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