I’ve been thinking deeply about what it means to be alone. As a concept, as state of being, as a perception, as a choice. In Western culture ‘alone time’ is undervalued. When we see someone dining alone, we assume they’d rather have company. In other cultures, time spent in solitude is part of a disciplined spiritual practice. And in fact, in some traditions to pursue a spiritual path requires solitude. It requires knowledge of your own voice. It demands that you spend time alone as a means of empowerment.
The Hermit in the tarot is a fantastic model for empowered solitude. The featured image of this post is a feminine visage of the Hermit, quite different from the one in the Rider-Waite deck or other more masculine images of this divine essence. She reminds us to go within for answers, seek our own counsel, connect deeply with God or Source, and light the path vs. waiting for illumination from someone or somewhere else. The Hermit is a leader, a seeker, a mentor, a guide. H/her lantern is a symbol of light in the darkness.
I spend a great deal of time in empowered solitude to hold sacred space for others and to channel my creativity. It’s not the right path for everyone. Many might find it lonely. But I encourage you to think about the power of solitude and create space for your own voice, your own breath, your own wisdom in your life. Go crazy and take yourself out to dinner! The Hermit reminds us that we are often our own best company. And we, as sacred bearers of the lantern, have much to teach ourselves.