The Vision Tarot card has the keyword Solitude. This is not something I would usually associate with this card. In the companion guide, Dirk Gillabel offers this insight into the card “The world of humans can be hectic, chaotic and sometimes even destructive. A spiritual person will find a growing need for solitude, a necessity to be by oneself, be it in a cave, a basement, or in nature. It is a time to calm one’s mind and to reconnect with the life forces all around us.” Looking at the image on the card I was struck by how much it reminds me of Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Christina’s World”. In it, Christina sits looking at the landscape before her with a farmhouse in the distance. Despite the fact that she’s obviously part of this world, she is also distant and separate from it.
So this made me wonder how solitude connects with one of the traditionally associations of this card with victory. At first there doesn’t seem to be much overlap. Solitude and victory actually seem to be almost as opposite ends of the spectrum. Then I really considered it – the times when I have been victorious or highly successful at something have also been somewhat isolating. Yes, people might crowd around to bask in the glow of victory of experience the thrill of success, but at the end of the day once the parades are over and the trumpets have stopped blaring (and yes, this happens to me every time I’m victorious at something), they disperse and you’re left alone. Sometimes it even serves to isolate you from your peers. Who can remember being the champion at something in school and then finding that the other kids tease, avoid or even torment you? You have managed to stand out from the pack and cast their lack of success into stark relief. This rarely endears one to those who have not been victorious or successful. In fact, it can sometimes breed serious hostility.
Perhaps the solitude is a necessary adjunct to success. It is what allows us to stay humble and grounded. How many celebrities, sports figures and rock stars have we seen crash and burn because their egos got too big for their talents? How many times have we seen child prodigies burn out by the time they reach adulthood because the pressure to succeed was relentless and wore them out? It’s an all to familiar story – those that fly to high and lose touch with reality, like Icarus, often end up with singed wings or even crash and burn. Not a very positive or hopeful outcome. Considering this has given me a greater appreciation for how solitude and victory do work together. The help us stay balanced, grounded and focused because as long as we can see the bigger picture and our part in it, we can avoid suffering from inflated ego syndrome.