In the Tarot the Hermit stand alone on the top of a mountain with lantern held out to see and to illuminate. He is both student and teacher and he tells us that the answers we seek can be found within.
The card has two basic meanings;
First; the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with himself.
Second; the return from isolation to share knowledge with others.
Several years ago I decided to withdraw from the world. There were many reasons for doing this. Some of them were valid. Most were not.
One of the biggest reasons I did this is because being alone hurt. It hurt so much that I became a hermit. Funny animals us humans; we withdraw when we feel alone.
I’d like to tell you that in those years I became wise, all-seeing, all-knowing, but I did not. What I did do is learn much about myself. Where I came from and how that affected who I am. How to reconcile my life experiences with where I was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
When I raised my lantern on those things that shaped me, there were things that came into focus that made me uncomfortable and though they initially made me want to remain in isolation they also became the things that drew me out of it. By examining each act of rage or insolence or passion or love or joy or whatever, without passing judgment, neither good nor bad, but simply as a thing that happened or that I did, I was able to gain a clearer image of who I was and, more importantly, who I was not.
In that process I learned one simple truth: If you want to be who you are meant to be you must first stop being who you are.
Once I gained that clearer view I began the excruciating and liberating job of dismantling who I was and recreating who I was meant to be. I say “recreating” because I have come to believe that we are born exactly who we are meant to be and life, doing what it does best, getting in the way of living, rewrites that person. We may be raised or live in a way that is destructive and damaging or make mistakes or have experiences that reshape that person, but that original person, the ego-free infant with no concept of time or space or tragedy or love or hate or pain, remains at our core. Always there vying for our attention. Waiting to be realized.
This process is never ending. I am complete and whole but my work, examining and re-examining and freeing those parts of myself locked away and learning to become a better person, will never be done.
I chose to release myself from the isolation last fall. For me the process took seven years. It was long and painful and lonelier than I can possibly express but it was worth it. I am beginning to realize that person I was born as. Become the person you see now. I like this person.
This is not the only way to become a fully realized human. Not even close. It was my way and the methods I chose ran a high risk of failure so I won’t share those methods but for me they were worth the risk.
What I will tell you is that it came down to this one thing: Courage.
If you are not who you want to be all it takes is the courage to forget who you have pretended to be. There is nothing more liberating than being yourself.
I hope your own journey brings you home.