Lantern 1: A Lantern Along the Way

When I’m feeling unsure of myself, I’ve learned to look inward. I am still and quiet and I ask myself what I need. When the answer comes to me (as it often, but not always immediately, does), then I feel a release of tension and an opening to possibility. This is not a skill that I was taught; it is what I learned on my own, after decades of disappointment.

I was disappointed because I kept looking for a teacher or mentor, a spiritual guide or a wise old soul who knew better than I what I needed to do next.

It’s only after half a century of living that I truly understand this wisdom: those who have gone before you can throw some light on the path, but the treasure of that is all about the light, and very little about the one who holds the lantern.

We all hold within us a desire for our path to be lighted, for the way to be made clear, for some direction! Some rules!! Some enlightenment!!!

The Tarot card deck is an old ‘fortune-telling’ deck that is chock full of archetypal characters who populate our psyches and are figures in myth and legend. In the card deck is the figure of the Hermit, a stooped aged man who holds a high lantern that casts light on a winding path. I was always looking for that Hermit to advise me, until I realized that it was his lantern’s light that I needed, not him.

We make a mistake when we trade our own intuitive knowing for what our admired others tell us about who we are, what we should do, what will happen next. But we can feel solace, comfort, and encouragement from the light cast by fellow travelers’ lanterns.

That’s what I’m hoping to do here – hold up a lantern by sharing my tales of travels along the path. If the light is helpful to you, I’m glad. If not, then best wishes on your journey. The path is long, and its end is out of sight, but a little light always helps….