Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Death, the Four of Cups, and The Hermit

Death Four of Cups Hermit

Yikes! Would you want to be the guy at the center of this spread?! With two powerful forces like Death and The Hermit at his sides, no doubt big things are coming his way, and while it seems to promise transcendence and growth, it’s hard to imagine there’s not a little shake up in store for this guy. He looks fairly peaceful underneath his tree, contemplating the possibilities in the cups before him. Or maybe he’s feeling apathetic or restless, disatisfied with his choices. Either way, is he prepared for the jolt that’s about to transform his life?

I pulled these cards yesterday—could that be me at the center of the spread?!—and The Tower card came to mind. The Tower represents an event or a situation that shakes us up and forces us to take action or reexamine our beliefs. The circumstances that ignite The Tower may be unforeseen and beyond our control, but the card also warns us that being immobile or passive for too long will inevitably force a situation to a crisis point.

Ideally the gifts of Death and The Hermit will accompany The Tower. The Death card teaches us that after a life-changing event, there is no turning back, and therefore we have the chance to redefine ourselves, or to liberate ourselves from sadness, bitterness, or guilt. The Hermit encourages us not to ruminate as we think about our challenges but to become more introspective and thoughtful as a result of them.


3 Responses to “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Death, the Four of Cups, and The Hermit”

  1. Carole Says:

    I’m struck by the visual aspect of this three card spread. With Death offering a Rose, the Hermit holding out a Star, and the mysterious hand in the sky waving a Cup in the face of the figure in the 4 of Pentacles, this spread looks like a a wealth of possibilities arrayed before the protagonist of our story. His crossed arms (and sitting underneath a bodhi tree?) seem to express a reservation of judgment, a willingness to examine the pitfalls and seductions that surround him before he gets up and continues on his path, or maybe chooses a new one. I like to think that when he does get up, he, himself, might be the one to shake up the Tower!

  2. Dan Says:

    Ones path is never truely clear as it is always unfolding. Good direction helps and focus on the things one must deal with in this earthly world.
    Yes a change indeed, but does he seem to be ignoring his dreams for the conservative earthly choices before him? Or is he remembering those dreams he once held as he must face the harsh realities befor him?
    With reason and introspective thought I’m sure he’ll reach new heights and maybe even fulfill his dreams at the same time. The time though is always the question… How long it may take…

  3. Susan Gold Says:

    Carole and Dan, I love your hits on this spread! You have expanded my perspective. Thank you. -Susan

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