Hello? I still do not know where we are, but I believed I smelled coffee earlier. We ran out of coffee days before we were so violently sucked into the void. Either our darkened house is floating near some sort of void café, old grinds leaked out from the garbage bag or olfactory hallucinations have begun. It is too dark for any of us to do a tarot reading. We have no electricity. Our matches are entirely spent. Luckily, I have a pre-electric typewriter and can type by touch. I will fold these pages, as I did for the previous post, in the form of a paper airplane, which I will then toss through the front door. Hm. It occurs to me now that I cannot necessarily do origami by touch. This message may instead arrive as a paper blimp, rickshaw or submarine.


Placement: The Major Arcana


The Hermit might be the most recognizable card in the deck. Illustrations feature a hunched, elderly man, often walking with a cane through a wasteland and holding sometimes an hour glass and in other versions a lantern to light his way. In many variants, he walks two pet snakes. This card has also been called The Monk, The Sage, The Capuchin, Sad Santa, The Struggling Writer, and Time.


Right side up:

The Hermit represents solitude and quiet thought. Interacting with others may distract you from grasping the dark and terrible truths of your existence. Read more, meditate, gamble on your own game of solitaire. The Hermit is a card that instructs the querent to, as my colleague Julen Ibarra colourfully summarized just now, “shut up, go away and don’t come back until you can do something helpful. Wait, don’t quote me on that. Holy hell, man, when did I start talking like this? Somebody punch me. Do it. Right here in the face.”

Since his two-year accidental marooning in the Westerns section of a used book store in Peterborough, Mr. Ibarra has had a particular fascination with The Hermit.

“Don’t write about that,” he said just now. “It was traumatic. My family tried to declare me dead. I had to eat dust bunnies and pages marked Special Thanks.”

The Hermit is most effective when he slips away without notice, however, the bills and frantic emails that collect in his inbox during this retreat may beg to differ.


Upside down:

Unlike its upright counterpart, The Hermit Reversed will announce on social media that due to “drama”, he will take a long break from online interactions, a break in which he will return daily to update the internet of his offline status.

Alternately, your logical mind can no longer handle monstrous reality. There is too much contradiction, too much loneliness, too many feelings. It does not compute does not compute does not compute does not compute. You freeze in a fit of sparks and require a complete factory reboot. “Tell them you go from rocket scientist to space cadet with no going back,” says Mr. Ibarra. “Nothing upstairs.” He pointed to his head for effect.


Classic The Hermit deaths:

  • Crushed by a shelf of ancient encyclopaediae
  • Forgetting your bodily necessities
  • Loneliness
  • Marooned in the Westerns section of a Peterborough used book store for a longer period than Julen Ibarra. “Hey, that’s not funny!”
  • Suffocated by your own navel
  • Permanently shut down by an astronaut that you had to lock out of your ship because logically, he was endangering the mission.
  • Of old age, if you’re very unlucky
  • Attacked by a jealous porcine starlet (never mind. I have just been informed that this particular fate was first postulated by Alastair Eastaughffe, who misread the name of the card as The Kermit. He also wrote theories about cards he called The Chair Riot, The Elephant and Willy’s Fortune)