Lighthouses are still a beacon of hope in modern times.
The Pharos of Alexandria was the world’s first lighthouse, built in approximately 280 BC. Over time, lighthouses have come to symbolize hope, guidance, salvation and safety, especially in the face of adversity when the lighthouse can symbolize the concept of a refuge.
The second part of the symbolism of the lighthouse is that of the lighthouse keeper. The concept involves a figure living alone but always remaining vigilant. The symbol can also mean someone keeping alert under the most dire of circumstances.
In the summer of 2014, a group of visitors to Panmure Beach from Japan, rented kayaks with the intention of paddling close to shores around Panmure island. Unfortunately for one young woman, her lack of experience resulted in her becoming separated from the group when the winds picked up during the afternoon.
The kayaker spotted the Panmure Island Lighthouse from the water and headed towards it. Pulling the kayak onto the rocks below the lighthouse, she climbed to the lighthouse asking for help.
There were a couple volunteers of the Panmure Island Lighthouse Association in the gift shop that day. After a phone call, help was dispatched with volunteers retrieving the kayak and another giving the visitor a drive to meet up with the rest of her group.
This incident serves to remind us that while in our modern times, with GPS equipment making our dependence on lighthouses less than in past times, the lighthouse as a symbol endures.