hermit is known as a person who prefers and professes an ascetic and solitary lifestyle.

What is a hermit?

A hermit is a person whose lifestyle is oriented towards loneliness and isolation from the rest of the social context. Usually, it is associated with people with asocial tendencies and few friends, who value work, prayer and loneliness above all else. It is a tradition with a high religious component, and that can be found in various world religions.

  • Definition of hermit
  • Characteristics
  • The hermit in Christianity
  • In other religions
  • In the tarot
  • Examples of hermits

Definition of hermit

The figure of the hermit or hermit is very old. We can find it, searching, in the first centuries of Christianity . Not for nothing, it is a tradition or lifestyle that resonates in the collective unconscious with that saint who retires to the mountains to pray in solitude .


When we speak hermit or hermit , we usually speak of the one who is in charge of the care of his cave . It is said cavern or hermit, because that was the destination that many ancient sages went to live. However, the hermit can live in a desert , on a mountain , in a forest or among the commons . The important thing is that you meet the criteria to be called a hermit .

What is a hermit ? He is a person who decided to withdraw from society. Unlike many of us, the hermit does not appreciate the contact with the other, choosing to be disconnected . Or “unrelated”, since the bond established by the hermit is not precisely with another, as similar, as human. The hermit seeks other types of contacts, which we will detail a little better below.


The characteristics that differentiate the hermit could be listed as follows:

  • It is about an individual who follows a lifestyle based on loneliness and abstinence .
  • The Christianity consider the hermit as a connected individual to God . By disconnecting from the sensory, the subject makes a deep bond with the non-material.
  • It should be noted, however, that this is not an exclusive tradition of Christianity, but has been presented in other Eastern disciplines .
  • Currently, it is perceived as that way of living based on disconnection . It is usually linked to the so-called “schizoid personalities” .

The hermit in Christianity

As stated above, and even though this is a concept born in times before Christ , the hermit is a figure born under the bosom of Christendom. There are important antecedents of wise men and saints who gave themselves to this way of life . The ultimate goal was to create some kind of bond or nexus with God . For the Christian hermit , everything carnal or worldly represents a distracting element from the spiritual. Its first antecedents are found in the first centuries after Christ. At that time, the hermits had a lot of extravagant practices . His custom was to take refuge in deserts or hermitageswhere to stay only with own work. These practices were, as the centuries passed, institutionalized by the Church. This was the antecedent of monastic life.

The practices of emeritism have evolved over the years, but the idea has remained over time. In fact, cases of this type have been seen in recent centuries. Such are the emblematic cases of Maria Boulding , Thomas Merton or the emblematic Carlos de Foucauld . It was, however, with Pope John Paul II , where this lifestyle found their place in the legal canon . Many Westerners today follow the hermit practice by following this code.

In other religions

The Christianity not is the only religion that has seen this in his practice. The Taoism , the Buddhism and other disciplines also presented in its assets. In eastern countries these antecedents of hermit life have been seen , although without the same drama that is registered in western cases . Buddhism, for example, professes a lifestyle based on the denial of desire; Such postures have spawned monks who withdraw from human contact to devote themselves to meditation and prayer. Christians, had the perception that these people thought that the carnal was a distractionunnecessary before the course of mental elevation. The latter is widely sought after by Buddhists.

In the tarot

But the figure of the hermit is not going to be found only in the historical or religious representations to which we are accustomed. We can also detect it in tarot cards . Precisely, rummaging through the deck of this famous card game, one finds a very particular one. The image portrays an old man with a flashlight that lights the way. Its symbology connects with everything exposed so far. It reflects the need to withdraw from the external world and to resort to insight . That is, to do introspection .

Examples of hermits

One of the most emblematic cases of the hermits has been that of Carlos de Foucauld. Born in the mid-1850s, and with a background in military life and exploration, he converted to Catholicism at some point in his life. Later, he would dedicate himself to hermitism when he entered the Sahara desert . This practice became moving, because few hermits have been proposed to this task.

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