The Hermit has left the warmth and comfort of the enclosing walls of home, left behind the bright and noisy room where friends talk, children play, and lovers embrace. He has journeyed out into the dark night with lantern and staff, to find a quiet spot to sit and read, to enter his own thoughts yet again.
Solitude can be beneficial. It can help us center, gain perspective, and introspect. Silence also allows for a special kind of connection with the divine. No longer surrounded by throngs of people and their urgent purposes, the Hermit hears the subtle, whispered messages of the cosmos. We also need time alone to heal ourselves after conflict or loss.
The Hermit's personality is strongly introverted, and this may shut him off from the intimacy he yearns for. He's eager to understand the words in his book, but fears understanding the people in his life. He wishes he could touch like the couple silhouetted in doorway of the house, but is immobilized by fear when he seeks to initiate a relationship. So he retreats from the challenge of reaching out, and withdraws, isolating himself in his private world instead. Solitude need not equate with loneliness, but it may, and often does. Perhaps the Hermit secretly wishes someone would follow him out into the silences, and embrace him there. He doesn't know how to ask for companionship, so he feels helpless in his isolation.
Even in the context of a relationship, the introverted personality of the Hermit can present difficulties. When stressed, he withdraws, and communication may break down as a result. He is uncomfortable with the immediacy and unpredictability of direct emotion, but can appreciate another's feelings if they are rendered in more objective, abstract tones, like the words in his book.
The Hermit can make many positive contributions to a relationship. He tends to have good self-knowledge, depth of character, and honesty. To bring these gifts into a healthy relationship, though, his energy must be blended with that of other, more extroverted archetypes, such as the Fool, the Magician, the Empress, the Lovers, or the Sun. If he does not connect with these energies himself, his partner may have to provide them, which can place a burden on the relationship.
The Hermit's intimacy is with his own thoughts, and with the secrets of the cosmos. Such intimacy-in-solitude is beautifully enriching, if he can overcome being trapped and limited by habitual aloneness.