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Tarot picture
No. 10

Gain a Tao

Tarot 10

An old man in monk's garb, leaning on a stick and holding a lantern or time-glass, is called The Hunchback (il Gobbo), the Old Man (il Vecchio) and Time (il Tempo) in the oldest Italian decks, where he typically carries a time-glass, not a lantern. This "Father Time" teaches without words that time flies, and also about common infirmities of advancing old age. In some pictures a stag, taken to represent old age or time, sits behind him. Old age is also associated with wisdom and knowledge, ideally.

The original picture serves as an allegory of Time and Old Age. It was changed into a holy man - a hermit - seeking truth the hexagram star inside the lantern is a late Rider-Waite addition, and not originally included.

LoTraditional, harsh humour and garbs can withstand very much

Reservation and strictness come close to making the hermit. Add a sense of caution too, rather than being in a position of power.

The "never say die" approach to life needs a talent for management and perhaps also sobering up.

On a slippery road it is a good thing to be surefooted like a mountain goat.

She may be a perfectionist at simplifying life, hard to win.

Some touch of mechanical mobilisation for work - like a time-keeping devise - is likely to be present.

She is steadfast and dons the traditional outfit that can withstand much wear and tear.

She can be a devoted, hard worker, aiming at the kind of success that conforms to being determined and restrained. Appearing quite fatalistic and serious, she probably intends to bulwark others from taking advantage of such a rigorously self-centred, corny guy.

The work environment helps her to look into some dark side of matters.

The harshness of her public image disappears if she is given much recognition.

Her humour is wry and dry, even ruthless.

LoAt first glance profound, at second glance a second-hand dogmatic who is profiting from ambitions and other people

She may fit in as an "times flies" watch of a sort, ever aiming at prestige because she needs it so badly.

She seems more intent on being distant and pessimistic than subject to open ridicule.

Fond of practical wisdom of others she can profit from hard work - so watch out.

Her dominant need is to satisfy professional ambitions by careful labours of a sort, no matter how.

She may strive to show her best face to the public, and doing the right thing is so fundamental to her.

Dogmatic, conform "brick-layer" teachings suit her.

Her inherent handling power requires expertise to become productive, or else she gets awfully hard to be with.

She may turn into some kind of workaholic if she is not helped to remain resourceful, developing her own authority, no matter how sordid it may seem at first glance.

Her secret wish seems to be to marry, perhaps a bit materialistic and greedy.

She may be able to think profoundly and deeply.

LoWise choices serve getting prudent as time goes by

Basically, such rocklike characters can be both ambitious and determined disciplinarians of youngsters.

She should make wise choices. Real fun can be in dancing more than brooding over insults for ages.

If she should need whisky it may get publicly recognised unless or until she gets very prudent.



  1. Traditional, harsh humour and garbs can withstand a lot.
  2. At first glance profound, at second glance a second-hand dogmatic who is profiting from ambitions and other people.
  3. Wise choices serve getting prudent as time goes by.

IN NUCE Both fun and outright humour may show up to reflect profound prudence - after some time.


Tarot study, Literature  


Farley, Helen. A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism. London: I. B. Tauris, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Helen Farley is Lecturer in Studies in Religion and Esotericism at the University of Queensland. Her book is a researched and well written study of tarot symbolism and the changing imagery in the cards. She explores ways in which the tarot reflects aspects of European culture from Medieval Italy until our times.

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