Life phases

A question that often arises is why hermits and solitaries seem invariably to be older people. One explanation is that most people busy themselves with family, work, and social activities throughout most of their lives and discover their propensity for solitude only later. Another possibility is that the social role of hermit or solitary is not approved of by society except within strict religious contexts and barely even then. But still another possibility is found in psychological archetypes, where the hermit and solitary — like the “abba” and “amma” of the desert, the hermit of the tarot, or the crone of Jean Shinoda Bolen’s books — is associated with a reservoir of experience and wisdom, with a sense of no longer being dependent upon how society judges them. The growth of self-perception can lead in different directions, but one of them is solitude for better discovering one’s self. And this phase usually takes a number of years.