Eremite (the plural of Eremite is Eremites) or Hermit refers to a religious recluse or someone who lives alone. A Hermit is someone who lives in seclusion. In Christianity the term was applied to a Christian who lives the solitary life out of religious devotion; most particularly applied to the Desert Theology of the Old testament, which corresponds to the 40 years spent wandering the Desert which brings about a Mystical Transformation. In the Magdeline Mysteries, Mary was said to have retired to the desert following her Katharsis and after Jesus’ crucifixion.
The word comes to us as a latinization of the Greek word eremite, meaning ‘desert’, ‘uninhabited’ and thence referring to a dweller of the desert. Describing someone like this would be ‘eremitic’ which came to be hermitic.
Some claim that the Christian Life is rooted in the Desert Theology of the Old Testament (while others claim differently). In such a case, the Christian Life is entirely given to Devotion, Praise, Contemplation and Love of God; typified by penance, gratitude, prayers, and Service. The life of hermitage removes the devotee from the mundane pursuit of business and social responsibility, for the purpose of nurturing the Spiritual.
A similar term is Anchorite, from the Greek word meaning ‘to withdraw’ or ‘depart for the countryside’. In the middle ages, the anchorite would often live in a small hut affixed to a wall of the church. After moving in, the door was bricked over and the anchorite was imprisoned inside, with only a couple of small windows for receiving food from charitable parishioners and for his followers to get advice from him.
While remaining metaphorical adjectives to describe persons of social reclusiveness and oddity, the Hermitic devotee has many more options in the modern world and will proceed according to his conscience and the Holy Spirit with the above mentioned traditions guiding him only as metaphors, which he is free to expand or transform in the exploration of mystical devotion and its daily application. Many artists and sedakas prefer a hermitic condition, at least during the initial stages of their practice in order to develop and consolidate their Spirituality. At some point the Hermit may emerge and proceed on a mission, prophetic or otherwise, directed by the Holy Spirit in Service to God or his Kingdom.