#001 – WHAT IS THE INTERNET?
An occasional blog series I plan to pursue until death, or 999 answered entries of random, on-the-spot questions for a tarot deck, whichever comes first.
Start at the beginning…and go on.
No bullshit, no pre-planning, no card-sharking, just shuffle and pull either one card or a designated spread (which I’ll designate) for insight and day-to-day knowledge of the Tarot and its workings – expect mid-length exegesis and eisegesis. Maybe keep a dictionary handy, I use words like ‘eisegesis’. By all means play along and share your own insights.
If you want to skip some rambling, go straight to the answer/reading here. << that’s a hyperlink.
Tricky to spot, huh? There are loads here, keep your eyes peeled. (July Covid-19 lockdown edit: I came back and underlined ’em all! ;))
Background you can skip if you wish
So, after being inspired by an unlikely friend I observed taking the plunge before me – my oldest childhood buddy, who has a stellar career as a global bigwig in the world of digital advertising and thus close contact with many of the ‘unicorn’ companies to have emerged from Silicon Valley, including the Zuckerberg Panopticon – I decided to follow suit, and to completely ditch Facebook this year.
When I say ‘ditch’, I don’t mean give it a wide berth, uninstall the app (I did that years ago), de-activate and login just occasionally, or reduce my usage to just family and friends and certain times and days.
I mean The Ripley Manoeuvre, for those who like an ‘Aliens’ reference in their esoteric ditherings.
I joined the social network we all love to hate back in 2007, so there is no small shortage of sentimentality, and some significant escalation of commitment involved in this decision – it’s a 12 year-old blog of my online life since then, after all, just on the perimeter of its blog-adolescence, so to speak. It’s me making witty non sequiturs and getting on my high horse, humorously (well, I laugh, anyway). But then again…
I seriously can’t think of anything specific that it does for me, other than reduce the number of Great Works of Literature I am likely to read before I expire, and wind me up. My Gods, it winds me up. Or rather, the bilge that circulates on it does. People I barely know but apparently have a ‘connection’ with seriously do – people, let’s face it, are fairly insane.
Facebook sucks Soul out of self and society. Attempts to better define its benefits always seem to end up in ‘It’s where everybody is!’ type circular canards, a bizarre statement on every level. The more time you spend there, the less time you are spending anywhere at all except in your own trap. No-body is there. It’s dis-embodied. There are so many ways to ‘stay in touch’, some of which literally involving being in close enough physical proximity to touch, as served us for the last 10,000 years as a species.
So I remember my Kohelet (Vanity! All is vanity!), my Daoist Straw Dogs, my anicca, and offer my lovingly woven online poppet as a joyous sacrifice to the (Wu) Way.
Facebook is a giant scam.
The Internet is Better Than This.
So am I.
There’s always been that gnawing feeling, ever-present, with Facebook – it’s a creepy monster that crept up and swallowed everything, creepily, being run by creeps being creepy. Subsequent, constant, and consistent affirmation in the daily news that things, indeed, are not aright in the High Castle of Cornball Connectivity, gave me enough reason to dispassionately reconsider my relationship with the whole platform and concept. It’s been more than a decade of this shit let’s face it, and the trend is toward ‘graver and graver’ in terms of violations and revelations. It needs breaking up. I’m a Queen of Swords, Libran as they come, if that helps explain. I have an Aquarius Moon. We are, as a species, well into the opening Act of the Apocalypse. This is no time for syrupy sentiment. Saturn is Returning, hard.
As if by Magick, the latest scandal to engulf Facebook crossed my threshold in the middle of this cogitation, and proved a sufficient catalyst for what turned out to be a much easier decision than I had imagined it would be; so I hit the buttons to vaporize my account.
A Burning Facebook smell
It’s vaporizing right now – the process takes 30 days (and I shouldn’t log-in again during that time or I’ll recover it and reset the counter). They are not making it straightforward and simple with a keystroke to Exit the Stage – which either tells you something worth knowing, or you are definitely choosing that it doesn’t. Resurrection is as simple as an email address and password in Social Paradise. Never mind all the crucifixion at the third hour, expiration at the sixth hour and ascendance at the IXth hour…
“It is difficult to get a person to understand something, if their livelihood depends upon them not understanding it.”~ Upton Sinclair
For posterity (vanity), here is my epitaph, briefly ‘shared’ while I downloaded my info and did necessary administration on business pages that were linked to my account.
If you click through some of the hyperlinks scattered in the text so far (not especially visible, but they are slightly darker than the regular text, and turn gold when you hover) you can decide for yourself if Facebook deserves all the Soul-Fuel you feed it so that it can profit massively off you and, er, confused little kids using their parent’s credit cards unwittingly (‘whales’ as they are affectionately referred to by the FB Archons, a Vegas casino term for ‘big spender’. Leaked internal email exchanges reveal refusing refunds as a matter of policy, and achieving precedent-setting high scores for untrustworthiness with credit-card suppliers – themselves no angels, but still, disgusted at the predatory policies of the Big Blue Thumbs-Up), like a sprawling global parasite elegantly coded in PHP by the best minds of this generation.
We digress, though.
That’s quite enough preamble.
Get to the point, already
Facebook has, for many people, really become the front-end, or indeed ‘face’ (duh) of the Internet – quite an achievement for a fundamentally sinister project (c’mon, read a little news, grow up) that has been abusing your privacy from Day 1.
Since I’ve bailed on the Big Brother Eye-Ear-&-Mouthpiece, I thought I’d start this process with a question I’d genuinely like some Tarot insight on.
Online seppuku is as good a place as any to begin:
Q: WHAT IS THE INTERNET?
SPREAD: Single card draw
A: Atu IX – The Hermit
Kind of obvious.
If you asked me without the draw what I’d choose to answer this enquiry, there’s a 1 in 3 chance I’d have chosen this card immediately, from a 1 in 78 chance on a blind-draw. There are 3 really obvious Major Arcana to pick without too much heavy philosophical lifting, and The Hermit is one of them.1
The Hermit – solitary, isolated, onanistic even (if you know Crowley, and Austin Osman Spare, the whole Victorian Occult gang, sex magick is never far away, and certainly not here, where it is within reach, so to speak, well in-hand, fully grasped), wise beyond measure, knowledge hard won, pure – but through rarefaction, as a result of purgation and trial, and with knowledge of the entire journey, the bridge-node of the intricate web set in perfect balance, the receiver and outcome of the accumulated forces that preceded, unique because touched by and thus containing a little of all that came before, keeper of all knowledge, the great illuminator and revealer of secrets, the source of unexpected, high help, the “naked lunch” moment in which what is on the fork must be swallowed, no further scooping round the plate possible. Chew it down. Grizzled, yet innocent, quite the trick. The Authority of Experience. The Loss of Innocence.
The Hermit is the ‘highest form of Mercury, the Logos (‘complete explanation’, ‘word’) and Creator of Worlds’, the inseminator (one who seeds a cycle) as manifestation (spermatozoon), rather than abstraction (which would be the Magus, Mercury, the channel for Power, the transformer that is also the thing transformed). The Hermit is the spiritual-mental-physical Being that results from the equilibration-in-action of the 9 preceding cards (from 8, Adjustment, Lamed, ‘teaching’ and ‘ox-goad’ right the way back to 0, The Fool, Aleph, ‘ox’). You can never consider a Tarot card properly in isolation, even – especially – the card numbered IX and called ‘The Hermit’ 😉.
But – though our Journey has surely been long – we are not now, nor indeed never, far from the Magus, even all the way up this Mountain we vaguely recall springing off all that time ago, with a Bearded Ancient looking suspiciously like an Ibis (Thoth or Tahuti) leading the Way back to the summit ahead.
The Hermit is attributed to the constellation Virgo, ruled by Mercury (as is Gemini), the planet which also exalts therein – a double dose of that Mercurial mirror-tongued slipperiness and quickness of silver, connecting and lighting the Moon from, to and with the Sun, the bridge and transformer and that which is transformed. Alchemy, innit. Oracles speak in riddles, and it turns out I do also.
Clearly, the Cross-Roads where conditions blur and the One with Winged Sandals, the Messenger of the Gods has rulership, is of some relevance to this Tarot explanation of the Internet, via ourselves, so let’s digress a little to explore that. Mercury is closest to the Sun (the Light which He bears ‘in hand’, shaping it, on the design on the Atu IX for The Hermit), and the Sun – as any Fool gnose – is the Querent, the one seeking the Tarot, the Self (not necessarily the Per-sona-lity, the mask with an actor inside it, but the Id-entity – the actual Consciousness, no mask). Mercury is the planet par excellence of the cycles of conscious perception and awareness (compared to, say, the Moon (Priestess), who rules cycles of unconscious attention, suggestibility and emotion).
In His stories (and He owns ALL stories, all symbols, all languages, all scripts, including of course Tarot) He is always involved in hi-jinks, tricks, playful games (which are of course, utterly terrifying and amoral games delightful, delirious, demonstrative, deadly and devastating to mortal beings, when not recondite, ridiculous, redemptive, righteous, reasoned or responsible for sudden recourse to synonyms unceasing and suddenly sibilant, flowing from alliterative fluid flexibility with the anachronistic assonance or consonance of an otherwise ordinary and unremarkable sentence).
Born to the nymph Maia (and thus only semi-Divine), Mercury finagled his way to full divinity within a few days of his birth. Researchers and developers of Artificial Intelligence using the enormous datasets of the World Wide Web may wish to play close attention to this interesting aspect of our protagonist and his Internet tutelage here, in these opening moments of Apocalypse, and all that goes along with that old yarn ‘unveiling’.
Mercury covers a vast and multitudinous range of functions in the World of myth and astrology, with an ever-changing face – not for nothing is He the patron of thieves, liars, tricksters, jesters, mountebanks, illusionists and charlatans… as well as the supposedly more noble writers, playwrights, orators, myth-makers, philosophers and the apparently (though don’t be Fooled) more worldly merchants, and their functions of commerce, and markets. This Hermit opens pathways to brand new vocations, that’s for sure, as is eventual retirement. He invents solutions for problems we didn’t even know we had, just like Jeff Bezos. He is often depicted with a purse (10 of Disks, Mercury in Virgo – the ‘shadow’ of the Queen of Swords 😉).
A very slippery and perfectly amoral agent, Mercury has a supernatural stamina for eluding responsibility, retribution or blame with a limitlessly inventive litany of excuses and alibis, sophistries and arguments, caveats and mental traps. He is a very fine illusionist, and all Reality is His trick.
This silver tongue can also, of course, be put in the service of great oration, poetry, and inventively loquacious linguistic acrobatics at service to something High – illusion is illusion, stories are representations. An essential Alchemical description of Mercury is Mercurius Duplex, utriusque capax – Mercury Double, and capable of either or both. Unsurprisingly, there are two Mercurial ‘roads’ – Promethean Mercury (a morning star) and Epimethean Mercury (an evening star). As morning star, He is known for His rulership of Gemini – quick thinking, inventive, ranging across disciplines and effusively communicative, playing all angles, social, projecting and experiencing the results of attempts at ‘reconciling the opposites’ both within and without (individually and collectively).
This also works well for The Internet, of course, and is an important consideration; but let’s stick with the card we pulled, narrowing our focus (Mercury to a tee) to his Epimethean mask in His rulership of Virgo, shuffling along as The Hermit: scholarly, footnoted (hyperlinked, even), careful and cautious with regard to history, protocol, precedent; analytic, detail oriented and thus capable of sage observation and meticulous, profound research. Many passwords, hidden security questions, guarding many secrets. There is no conflict or contradiction here with the idea of the Virgin, as we shall see further on. With the Hermit, though He often represents Journey’s End by one understanding, any serious student of Tarot knows that Ends are always (always) Beginnings. And so, as the Master says to the Student convinced that they have arrived somewhere: Go further.
Contrast this – which my Tarot deck seems to be pointing toward as some sort of ideal (for me, at least) conceptual framework with which to consider ‘The Internet’, and which certainly coincides with the idealistic dreams of its architects – with the devil-may-care, creative-destruction, smash it up and see what’s left, do-first-ask-later, disruptive techno-utopianism of the Silicon Valley Set and their digital vampire-squids, ‘creatively disrupting’. Ahem.
Am I being biased? Most of the CEO’s are barely adults, and there is no oversight from Wise Ancients. You decide.
An Over-The-Hill Virgin
Virgo is the Earth at it’s most feminine and receptive (‘the Virgin Earth’), forming the crust over Hades. As Crowley says in The Book of Thoth “The highest symbolism of this card is, therefore, Fertility in its most exalted sense…”.
The seeds sown in this virtual soil may grow abundant – and certainly strange – fruit indeed. We are all reaping the Truth of that harvest.
The work of Virgo/Mercury/The Hermit is ‘to transmute the light of intelligence, active in analysing facts and processes of nature or sorting out substrata of experience, into the light of wisdom which delivers the soul hidden in all matters.’
This explanation is from the absolutely inspired astrologer Monique Pommier, whom I recommend any serious Tarot student investigate (she writes very dense prose, but her Tree of Knowledge is full of Good Oranges, so to speak).
I’d like to quote liberally from her analysis here, hoping she doesn’t mind a fair-use cut’n’paste of such rich prose. Good art is copied, but great art is stolen:
From the emergence of the exalted Sun (in Aries, The Emperor) and the receptiveness of the exalted Moon (in Taurus, The Hierophant), a son is conceived: Mercury, the seed of mind. The Ram spirit impregnates Taurus matter, and Mercury is the fruit of their engagement, the light of consciousness which differentiates and organizes world matters into an increasingly whole and mindful organism — a matrix of light, a Virgin “Mater” (Mother/Matter) pregnant with the sun. Mercury lights the “moon” with the “sun.” Indeed, “Mercury leads Aries to Virgo — where the idea or Word of God comes to the crisis of the birth hour.Monique Pommier
The Hermit, as Atu IX, is the Positive Crisis – the moment gestation becomes birth, and the Paradise of the Womb must be exchanged for Existence, that is the Self-as-Incarnation, and Mind must be “made Flesh”. Ideas become concrete manifestations with the Hermit. At His absolute best, He is what inspires the World – ‘who spiritualizes matter and embodies spirit, suggests the innermost will of Mercury: to “inspirit” the flesh of the world, to “light” all matters with the wisdom and love that the Son inherently is, as both the fruit and principle of cosmic relatedness.’ He is your Age, identical with the Age of Universe, bestowed upon you at that moment of ultimate Crisis – your arrival.
Equally, though, we should be extremely careful where the focus of our Conscious Perception – our ‘fruit and principle of cosmic relatedness’ – is trained, and Mindful – always Mindful, care will follow – of what we are admitting ‘INSIDE’ (Beyth, The Magus). The Internet is fundamentally an extension of our thinking-and-organising-through-analysis structure, the momentum of the self-created self. An ‘Artificial’ version of the human instrument of thought, created by the human instrument of thought, is genuinely terrifying for all of Nature, which it seeks – now as for the last 10,000 years – to supplant and replace with itself.
He doesn’t stop, I find. Always busy. Always recounting an endless narrative, a litany, a prayer unending, literally Making Way. There is no escaping this. Every thought is a prayer with The Hermit. Every single one, not just the ones you are paying attention to and wishing on.
The only tool that could possibly help you is the one already transformed in to the Master that has enslaved you and now recommends a mutiny – against Itself. You see the issue. You are reaching for your own hands, blind to your own eyes.
The Hermit abandons, unable to transcend or enlighten further. The final obstacle, giving up the desire for a desire-less state, dropping all works of mind, aware that Mind is a Myth, and prepared for the implications of that. Death! Though Life may go on.
Further clarity, or certainly food for thought follows – and bear in mind that Virgo rules the intestines, the athanor of the body where the subtle is separated from the gross, food become chyle, and the very building blocks of the physical organism are extracted from trapped sunlight, animal or vegetable, to supply the very cells and physical structures with which the fleshy vehicle must use spirit, the One Power, the Life Force, axé, prana, qi, call it what you Will, from void into being and back again, through this miraculous aparelho, this instrument, this dirt that we’re made of.
In Virgo, the mind is exalted as the intermediary agent and the intermediate realm where substance (physical, emotional or mental) is clarified and light conceived, where matters are elucidated and intuitions conceptualized. It is the mediator (the true “Medea”) and the remedy. Its fundamental task is to meditate (and mediate) the fragmented world into wholeness.Monique Pommier
OIC. A tool, then, not a Master. The purpose of the tool is a world made whole, from fragments.
Hmmm. There is no doubt that this is indeed the potential and depth of ‘The Internet’. The Hermit certainly indicates this potency – Crowley jokes that he would ‘be very nervous’ if he were the Akashic Egg which Thoth-Hermes / The Hermit is ‘studying’ so intently, actively engaged in its fertilization and eventual hatching, and the fertility symbols abound on the card in keeping with the Virgo attribution as we have already discussed. There’s a spermatozoon as the Rod of Thoth (matron!), and a hand and Light bouncing around telling its own(anistic) story in the wonderful art of Frieda Harris, and the Secret of Sigils is therein hidden, as any Chaos Magic Kid from the late 80’s with a distant, nervous grin will tell you. Something is being born of ‘Danger-Opportunity’, the birth of Karma, or Action-Reaction (responding to the balance set by the previous card, Atu XIII Adjustment), a Magickal Child will be born; sometimes an actual child, but rarely of a Hermit.
It is in the all-pervasive texture of language that the “conversation” between Above and Below, essence and objective matters, self and not-self, finds the bones, articulations and substance through which it may experience itself in the human consciousness. Language contributes to bring the “logos” that “was in the beginning” to the hour of birth, by providing the vessel for its evocation from the world matrix. Language structures the “thinking” which passes as a ubiquitous bridge across different levels and areas of being, allowing spirit to penetrate further into the complexity of things, and matter to distil its ultimate simplicity of being.Monique Pommier
Phew. Hope they’ve got WiFi in the Underworld.
A vital aspect of this Virgoan quality is discrimination, or discernment – the words are synonyms, though intriguingly, the latter has fallen from usage as the former has grown in modern times, a shift which appears to correlate loosely with the pervasive and recent exponential explosion of technology, mass media, broadcast and eventually narrowcast via the Internet to all recesses of the World, acting as mediator between conscious experience and the senses by which we actually experience Reality.
Discernment fell as Discrimination rose – take from that what you Will.
It’s interesting, at least, that the first Magickal challenge, in the Virgin Earth of Malkah the Bride, Malkuth, the Kingdom, the World of Action, Assiah, what we tend to call ‘Reality’, is the capacity to develop ‘Discernment’ and avoid the trap of ‘Avarice’. Without passing this test, your spiritual growth will be impossible, as unbounded fantasy and mind-stuff supplants ever further your properly-plugged-in consciousness-and-context sense of what Is.
The intelligence is used to select and assimilate the matters of life along the patterns of the personality or the opinions of the time rather than the intuition of the soul. It tends to dissect, deconstruct and reduce them into concrete ingredients; to suspect and exclude that which cannot be weighed, measured or classified; to be captive to the technically correct, the logically proven, the practically efficient. The cultural refinement of the technical intellect brings much valuable clarification and skillful interpretation of materials, but contains the risk of constricting reality in limiting interpretations.Monique Pommier
Ahem. Now there’s an Internet I can re-cognize. How does our use of the tool contribute to each of those possibilities?
The Hermit is also attributed to the Hebrew Letter Intelligence YOD or YUD – literally “hand”, with which the Hermit carries the Light of the Sun – and, again, the perceptive reader is referred to the work of Austin Osman Spare and the onanistic practices of Sex Magick. Since we are here looking at etymologies, ‘Hermit’ itself comes from Late Latin and Greek eremita, from eremia, “desert” which, in turn, comes from eremos, “solitary”. The diamond form of the Lamp/Sun that He carries is a reference to Kether, or Jechidah, “the concealed” or “the only one”, respectively – which is itself Alone (all-one).
The Hand – Yod – the seed letter, the sperm, the inseminating source of the ‘Flame’ Aleph-Beyth (Alphabet), from which all the other Letter Intelligences are created. It looks like a flame, right?
The Hand – with our somewhat unique opposable thumbs, and so, to our ancestors as to us, are we ‘made in the image of Gods’. Our mastery of the World, the sacred 5 as 4 – elements, directions, fingers, what have you – dominated by a Quintessence, Water, Earth, Spirit, Air and Fire or Pinky, Ring, Middle, Index and Thumb. The gematria value of YOD is 10, our two hands’ (10 is binary 2) count of immeasurably useful digits, with which much of our interaction with the Internet takes place, the tools by which our perceptions and thoughts (Mercury) are made flesh (Virgo), to be shared with the Whole World Wide. The World is a result of the fashioning hand of both Gods and Men. We are alike.
YOD. Both Y (why?) and I (because). IOTA. Double and capable of either, or both. The Hermit as essentially masculine (Yang, active, an odd number) but with an equally essentially feminine quality (the first non-prime of the odd numbers, a square number, and so possessing an even-ness, Yin, receptive). The depositor of Mind in the Vehicle of Matter. The Old Man and the Virgin, said the Priestess to the Hierophant. Everybody giggles up their sleeves.
The Hermit is a Psychopomp – those Spiritual entities responsible for guiding the Soul from Hades/Tartarus, the Underworld, to safer realms, guiding Lower Consciousness and our essential ignorance (guarded in the Atu by Cerberus, the three-headed dog whose heads signify Thought (the raised head, primary, first), Speech (the yapping mouth) and Action (the glance backwards) and whom Thoth-Hermes/ Mercury has ‘tamed’, bringing that lower nature into accord with more elevated currents and principles), toward Higher Consciousness, humility, and the Light of Wisdom. Summing up, perhaps, as the 9 so essentially does, to something like “De-clutch your brain before putting your mouth in gear.” The 9, we are told in Liber T, always relates to an essentially psycho-logical (Soul-Description) state, condition or environment. All the 9’s of the Tarot can only be ‘properly interpreted’ with this in Mind.
It’s a Moebius-Strip, isn’t it?
Such a shame that so often it doesn’t pan out this way in our – perhaps overextended – attempts at connectivity (Gemini) where perhaps a little more introspection and study of ourselves (The Hermit) would be appropriate, if indeed our aim is Wisdom, something Higher, rather than preening vanity, and Low attainment (Venus, the Empress has Her fall in Virgo, and depending on your own clarity and wisdom, a casual glance at your social feeds can help elucidate what this might hint at pretty well, I feel).
If popularity is to be a marker of achievement, we should all remember that Adolf Hitler had tens of millions of ‘followers’ while Jesus of Nazareth only managed twelve.
Heading into vague Jungian fog, the Hermit is a vital liberation of the Spiritual Instinct – the desire for Wisdom – from the trappings and orthodoxies and ideologies of the Hierophant. The Hermit is our personal quest for value(s), a journey within, an inner search for universal truths, stories, laws, stripped of exterior ornaments, dogmatic cultural distortions and ritual trappings. He is also the epiphany of moving beyond ‘if-then…’ logical tautologies. The Hermit helps us become more truly ourselves, to answer the question “What am I all about?” and “What is important to me, just me, me without masks or games, me with nothing to prove and nobody to hoodwink or impress, forget culture, forget imitation, forget all the input, and see what process remains”. The Hermit is fasting, as well as feasting. He perhaps hints at the Fool-ishness of ‘tribal’ identification in the guts (Virgo) of the Internet, the need to stand unique and in solitude as indeed you always are when using it, even if using it to ‘connect’ to a friend in another timezone. Seeking your tribe in such an ephemeral and spook-y Hall of Mirrors is probably not such a Wise use of the Hermit. He proves that overconsumption is a vice, whatever the ‘food’, and a need for nourishment needs careful inspection and understanding.
This Hermit unveils and illumines, exposing secrets, bringing to Light that which has been obscured, veiled or deliberately buried (Julian Assange is, indeed, a Hermit, though not by choice – he is suffering the consequences of having stood up to an errant Emperor and His Hierophants, Wikileaks surely being one of the most enlightened and useful outgrowths of this Virgoan Mercury Hermit that we all now use as World Brain, while his (Assange’s) ongoing character assassination takes place in the Gemini Road of this Mystery, and its Spectacle, with various Magi competing over his highly valuable Narrative).
The Hermit forces us to confront ourselves – and, of course, left to run amok this can have disastrous consequences. On the basis of what we discover, what we feel, read, hear, see, experience in this Journey through ourselves, we often discover new goals, a shift of perspective from achievement to meaning, or the other way, and perhaps kindred spirits, and the errors of tribal identification. Internal activity can become so important, so filled with (apparent or otherwise) meaning that we begin to lose all interest in our immediate environment, in relational interaction with other vehicles of, rather than disembodied curations of, consciousness – Hermit behaviour can bring us into conflict with friends, family, colleagues, loved ones through our own self-absorption, solipsism, and disconnection from the vital threads of interaction that define us in relation to others.
The Hermit scans, seeks, questions, researches, fills in the details, dots the i’s and crosses the t’s. He is borne on the wings of philosophies, cosmologies, and ideologies and through synthesizing all of this through the locus of meaning, He forms a new vision of His place in Life and Society at large. Through the solitary he makes his way to the relational (6th House ruler becoming 7th, Libra, Adjustment, the House of Marriage, and Relationship, the horizon of Self and beginning of the long journey through the Zodiac (‘Wheel of Life’) back to Aries, the Persona of the Self and its Source).
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Netizen beware, of course…There is great danger here, as with all the stations of the Fool’s Journey through the Major Arcana. The Hermit is, fundamentally and essentially, losing touch with mundane reality. The Hermit may contain Wisdom, and Knowledge and Secrets, but he also is a mad old bastard, a truculent drunkard, a spouting and fulminating loon on a shoebox at Speaker’s Corner, quoting and misquoting scripture and fantasy with no way of knowing which is which, if there is a difference or if it’s important or not, leading us Will o’ the Wisp-like into swamp and marsh land from which there may be no easy escape once we have succumbed to the undercurrents of that perfectly internally consistent derangement. There’s barely a more common and difficult type of archetype possession to be exorcised of. The Grumpy Old Loon.
Cut off from involvement in the Outside World, the Hermit can completely sever the umbilical cord linking him to the daily mundane, becoming a maladjusted eccentric, completely tangential to skilful living and the World of Action. He can be a horrendously phony guru, spouting forth delusion after delusion, wrapped in the certainty of the demagogue, the Old Man, overcompensating for chronically weak ego. Far from His more positive expressions, He can be blind, deaf and mercilessly punitive, forcing diseased ideas on those who stray within his magnetic but toxic, rigid orbit. Fruitful discussion becomes impossible, every idea contrary or critical becomes a threat to Identity and must be savaged, difference of opinion becomes “ignorance” or “bullying” – a determined proselytizer, forcing the World to succumb to His and only His perspective, which drifts further and further from the religious Truths which were supposed to have inspired it in the first place, and become husks, fossilized platitudes and manipulative speechifying designed to sell something shoddy to the unsuspecting and unaware. Too many of these Hermits roam the highways, virtual and visceral.
So, I remind myself to be conscious of which face of this Symbol I am engaged with when online and offline, and consider afresh my decision to vaporize Facebook. Beware of the demonic algorithms of the Big Tech giants, those invisible machine intelligences, disembodied, that track you wherever you are, know more about you than you know about yourself, spy on you unawares, deeply understand and predict your wants, needs, hopes and fears, suggest ‘friends’ to you, study your interactions and alliances, enemies and search terms, and – without any moral agency other than the drive to sell you to advertisers and sell more useless McGuffins, material, ideological and political – attempt to steer your behaviour toward outcomes that are definitely not your own.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, or An Evolving Planetary NLP Routine and Dodgy Hypnotic Induction?
Q) What is the Internet?
Ai) A big lonely wank-fest that is
Aii) Full of information, some bad, some good, some reliable, some not so much.
Anyway, don’t worry too much about all this.
Pretty soon it will all be gone.