The Hermit and The Magician

Wednesday July 8, 2020

Today’s cards are The Hermit and The Magician.

The Hermit tarot cardThe Magician tarot card

The Hermit represents introspection and searching, while The Magician represents conscious action and concentration on a single task. I often find myself oscillating back and forth between these two modes of operation — first searching for interesting ideas, pulling in possibilities and examining them in my own mind, one by one, then, once I’ve found an idea worthy of pursuit, devoting all of my energy and attention to it.

This of course begs the question — how do you know when to do one or the other? When have you searched enough, and found the thing worthy of putting your attention towards? I don’t have an answer to this question (I’ve been searching for one for a long time), but I have some ideas that I’ve seen:

Wait for External Conditions

Waiting for external conditions to change or for my knowledge of external conditions to change to take action is very much my default mode, and it has advantages and disadvantages — while it frequently results in spending a non-optimal amount of time searching (since one can change conditions ones self, if one wants), it has the advantage of being simple and more consistent than you might expect. If you take this approach, you don’t need to worry whether you’re doing the right thing or not — simply have faith that some change will come at some point to shock you into action.

Schedule Time

Another approach to deciding which mode to operate in is to schedule time — if you default to action, schedule time for reading and introspection. If you default to introspection, schedule time to build something (anything), and see if it feels like the right thing once you’ve started.

Find Opposite Collaborators

Instead of taking it upon yourself to decide when the time is right to switch modes, you can seek out collaborators who are predisposed to operate in the opposite mode that you are. This has two advantages — first, just by being around people who are operating in a different mode, you realize that that is a possibility for you as well, should you choose to pursue it. Second, if you’re working together with someone who has a different tendency from you, you can have faith that they are covering the part that you aren’t, allowing you to focus on the parts that you’re inclined towards.

I’m sure that other approaches exist (as well as simply trusting your intuition, which is an often underrated approach) — for now, I’ll continue searching, collecting, gathering, and thinking over the possibilities. And maybe some day, I’ll know exactly which path to take.