First I'll tell you how I think about Hermitian positive-definite matrices. A Hermitian positive-definite matrix $M$ defines a sesquilinear inner product $\langle Mv, w \rangle = \langle v, Mw \rangle$, and in fact every inner product on a finite-dimensional inner product space $V$ has this form. In other words it is a way of computing angles between vectors, or a way of projecting vectors onto other vectors; over the real numbers it is the key ingredient to doing Euclidean geometry. An inner product can be recovered from the norm $\langle Mv, v \rangle = \langle v, Mv \rangle$ it induces, and a norm in turn can be recovered from its unit sphere $\{ v : \langle Mv, v \rangle = 1 \}$. This unit sphere is a distorted version of the usual unit sphere; the distortions will occur along axes corresponding to the eigenvectors of $M$, and the amount of distortion corresponds to the (inverses of the) corresponding eigenvalues. For example when $\dim V = 2$ it is an ellipse and when $\dim V = 3$ it is an ellipsoid.

A Hermitian positive-semidefinite matrix $M$ no longer describes an inner product because it is not necessarily positive-definite, but it still defines a sesquilinear form. It also defines a function $\langle Mv, v \rangle$ which is no longer a norm because it is not necessarily positive-definite; some people call these "pseudonorms," I think. The corresponding unit sphere $\{ v : \langle Mv, v \rangle = 1 \}$ might now be lower-dimensional than the usual unit sphere, depending on how many eigenvalues are equal to zero; for example if $\dim V = 3$ it might be an ellipsoid, or an ellipse, or two points.