Sometimes you have to step into the dark to find your guiding light.
It’s an urban legend of sorts.
I’ve always heard that you can see stars from the bottom of a well or through a tall chimney even in the daytime. It isn’t true. But that is the point the Hermit card makes today.
Astronomy Cafe suggests an experiment: look at the sky through a paper towel tube. It is to scale about the same amount of light shielded and sky seen as looking up from the bottom of a six feet wide and 50 feet deep well. Sure enough – no stars.
So what is the point? It takes a crises, big or small, to show you which things are reliable and which are not. The crises here is direct experiment. It shows you can rely on scientific method and observation rather and this old wive’s tale isn’t so trustworthy.
The same thing applies philosophically. Even though there is no empirical evidence to prop up one religion, tradition or belief system over another, there is a kind of subjective testing. There are times of inner challenge that, experimentally, shows what works. Those things may not be able to prove themselves to the rest of the world, but they can indeed prove themselves true to you. What ideas support you when you need it? What ideas crumble to dust at the slightest touch? What ideas are your guiding light in the dark, and what ideas are just glare and dazzle full of nothing?
The Hermit talks about the life within. When other people are involved, communication, measurement, proof are needed and necessary things. In the inner world, however, evidence is a different thing. What is nothing to others is substantial to us, and what we utterly believe substantial is nothing to them. In order to find the reliable and substantial we must first look and test and experiment. Inside or out, it takes a little pressure to see what will hold up. It takes a little dark in order to find our guiding light.
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