Thursday, July 26, 2012

Contemplating the Hermit...

I decided to do a slightly more focused draw today - asking the deck for a card with a message I need to ponder, contemplate, focus on right now.

The Hermit came up, and that strikes me as rather appropriate, all things considered. We have a rather straightforward image here, the robed old man with a lantern and a cane, moving forward, lighting his own way. His robe is golden, illuminated by the lamp it seems, which is a nice touch, and the shape of the cane brings to mind a serpent image, association with Hermits in more detailed decks - Thoth especially comes to mind for me.

The Hermit is fine, comfortable with being alone, with making his own illumination:, self-learning, self-wisdom, self-guidance. Sometimes we need that space, wrapped up in ourselves, in our own cloaks and robes and personal bubble, using our own tools and resources.

Appropriate this is, because I have been feeling a bit odd in recent days about the fact that I have been kind of isolating myself from others in my language school. On the one hand, I mostly feel comfortable with this, getting things done on my own time, seeing to my personal priorities. On the other hand, I feel like by avoiding people I am somehow depriving myself of opportunities I should be taking advantage of. I do have a tendency to over-isolate myself sometimes, and I am aware of that - aware of the need to get out of comfort zone and be social, the fact that sometimes that really turns out for the best. How to balance the push and pull?

The thing is, a lot of my self-isolation in this case is due to differing priorities. By and large, the others here are a few years younger than me...not a huge age difference, but in a way it does feel significant. Different priorities. For me, learning as much Arabic as I can is very, very important. I try to use any free time - on the train, waiting around for something - to study and review, because free time is precious. I try to listen to radio and watch Arabic news clips and just expose myself as much as I can. Coming from this kind of place, the prospect of sitting around with casual friends and acquaintances, not really doing much, not really talking about anything in particular is just...not very appealing, much of the time. So perhaps, in this context, being a bit of a Hermit is only natural, and useful for my purposes.

I decided to also pull a pair of cards from my Oracle of the Radiant Sun deck to add some nuance/shading to this reading. The two that come up...Principle and Discovery. The Sagittarius influence across both strikes me: that positive, optimistic, active drive forward, the energy and push which kind of characterizes how I feel about striving to learn all that I can. Principle, about staying true to what is important to me, about building on those internal foundations to achieve what I want. And Discovery...the fact that just being here is amazing to me, an adventure. The littlest things here fill me with joy...overhearing two women chatting and understanding a bit, walking past the Presidential palace on the way home from school, the edifying experience of struggling to be understood by a store clerk, experimenting with making my own vegan version of local foods for dinner.

I shouldn't isolate myself constantly, of course, but keeping to myself more is not necessarily a bad thing, if I am doing so for the right reasons, if I am making sure to pursue what is important to me in my own way. The important thing is to act in a way that will ensure that, when I look back on this experience, I will be satisfied with the way I took advantage of everything.


Inner Whispers said...

Hi Bonkers,

I so understand where you're coming from with this! When I lived in Spain there wasa big "ex pat" community of English speakers - Brits, Yanks etc. Many of them might just as well have been living back home: eating McDonalds, sharing digs, and always talking together. I chose Spanish friends instead, and ended up feeling like Spain was my home.

Obviously, it's harder in an Arab country and when you're only there a relatively short while. But I'm sure you will return feeling you experienced an enormous amount :)

Love the Radiant Sun, not so sure about the Mix Deck...


Post a Comment