A Big Message from a Little Creature

by Barbara Moore

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The Animal Totem Tarot is a popular animal-themed deck. One reason is because Leeza created the deck based on interactions with the spirits of the animals and assigned them to the cards accordingly. The temptation would be to categorize them by type, for example, Swords being birds and flying creatures, Cups being water creatures, etc. In fact, one of the Majors is the humble insect the Mantis. Let’s take a look at what the Mantis, as IX, The Hermit has to say:

“Have you ever noticed that things look different in the morning? With just a small period of separation from you and your need for a solution, new options now present themselves. Sometimes waiting is the best way. Sometimes removing yourself, if only for a short period of time, is the best way. Then we turn and head to the light and step into its brilliance with confidence and resolve, just as we wake each morning from our darkened slumber to the glowing embrace of the sun.”

–Message from the Mantis

Many depictions of the Hermit show him in the dark of night, holding a lamp. The lamp has become somewhat synonymous with the Hermit image. But here, the Hermit stands in the light and hold the ultimate lamp between his antennae. Just as the lamp is a symbol of light in the dark, the sun reminds us that the light will always rise again. The Hermit becomes the promise of the light’s return after time spent alone in the darkness. And time alone in the darkness is now what is required. The Bushmen of the Kalahari tell a story of how the Mantis, finding himself in need of a solution that he could not immediately find, would put himself to sleep so that he could dream it. This traveling to the darkness to find what one seeks, and then bringing it back to the light, is an important aspect of the Hermit archetype. It is also a reminder that sometimes we really do need to sleep on it and bring the problem back in the light of the sun the next day to be seen with new eyes. The Mantis teaches that it is okay to have space between yourself and your current problem. This is not to be seen as a delay, but as a way of allowing some time and space to help align yourself with the solution you need.


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