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Top 15 Symbols of Loneliness with Meanings

Top 15 Symbols of Loneliness with Meanings

Loneliness symbolism is widely used throughout history in literature and several forms of art, including film, paintings, sculptures, and music. These art forms allow the artist to express emotions like isolation or disconnection in an impactful way for the audience. 

In the spiritual world, solitude and isolation are the keys to spiritual growth a person seeking to connect to their inner self must undertake. It’s an opportunity for self-discovery where a person questions and confronts their beliefs without any influence.

These symbols of loneliness stem from feelings of solitude, isolation, and loss. Exploring these symbols provides a better perspective of these complex emotions linked to loneliness. 

This article will review the top symbols representing loneliness in the real world and the spiritual realm. 

Symbols of Loneliness are: an empty chair, the moon, shepherds, silence, an isolated patch of land, a wolf howling, darkness during the night, an empty road, staying under the clouds, an empty room, a gray sky, seclusion, being a hermit, the desert and a lighthouse

Top Symbols Depicting Loneliness

Following are the symbols that depict loneliness:

1. An Empty Chair

Rocking chair on the deck.
Ed Yourdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

An unaccompanied chair reflects feelings of solitude and longing. The empty chair symbolizes loneliness due to a loved one passing away; it shows the emptiness your life is experiencing after their demise. 

2. The Moon

The moon behind dark clouds.
Photo by Joonas kääriäinen

The moon is a unique creation of nature that often sits alone in the sky. No matter how long someone stares at the moon, there will always be a sense of separation and loneliness due to its massive distance.

It is associated with loneliness because it can never meet the sun. The sun and moon are mirror creations of the universe; however, if the moon comes up, the sun goes down, and vice versa. Their appearance and disappearance indicate that they are chasing one another but are destined to stay alone and never meet up.

3. Shepherds

Shepherd with his sheep.
Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

Shepherds spend days in the wild grazing their livestock and ensuring the herd remains safe from unexpected hazards or predators. While living on the outskirts of society and spending their time in loneliness, they work on their own while herding the animals. 

The shepherd symbolism was widely used during the early times of Christianity as, at the time, shepherds were seen as lonesome characters. As they tended to work alone, they used the solitary time to pray and strengthen their connection with God.

4. Silence

Boy looking out window.
Image by Shlomaster from Pixabay

In visual arts, prolonged silence often depicts loneliness and isolation. A classic example is seen in films where a character is shown sitting next to a window, peering outside in complete silence. 

Another popular example is when a character spends their life after their significant other has passed away, living in silence, isolation, and loneliness.

5. An Isolated Patch of Land

Small island.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Ending up in an uninhabited land or an isolated area like an island is another powerful symbol of loneliness. From ancient folklore to modern-day films and novels, getting stranded on an island is a common depiction. 

6. Wolf Howling

Wolf Howling in the snow.
Image by steve fehlberg from Pixabay

While most of us think a wolf howls at the moon, some interpreters describe a howling wolf as calling for company or friendship when they are alone. Their continuous howling is seen as an expression of loneliness that has no outcome. 

7. Darkness During the Night

Whether it’s a novel or a movie, the loneliness of a person is often depicted during nighttime when there is little to no light. The darkness here is linked to sadness. This feeling of sadness will eventually trigger feelings of loneliness and isolation.

8. An Empty Road

Dark alley at night.
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

A deserted road where you can see no one else carries a powerful sense of isolation that often comes with the feeling of loneliness. The road depicts your life’s journey, and having no other driver or vehicle around means you are alone in your journey and have no one to support you. 

9. Staying Under the Clouds

Dark rain clouds over road.
Image by Enrique from Pixabay

If someone feels lonely or depressed, films depict the character as being under a dark cloud. No matter where they go, an overhead cloud keeps chasing them, symbolizing that they are lonely and need the required support to eliminate these feelings of loneliness.

10. An Empty Room

An empty house with wooden floors and hanging light.
Photo by Curtis Adams

It’s one of the most effective approaches to represent loneliness. The fewer furnishings you place in the room, the lonelier it will look. An empty room misses the people and the warmth, representing sheer loneliness.

11. A Gray Sky

Grey clouds.
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

The sky, covered with a thick layer of gray clouds, is lined with sadness, depression, and loneliness. The mono-colored sky here signifies there’s no hope or joy in your life. 

You might be living a life, but it’s without any goals. The gray sky representing loneliness is also a reminder to find your lost purpose in life and remove the burden you carry as repressed emotions.

Symbols of Loneliness in the Spiritual World

In many traditions around spirituality, loneliness is seen as a path everyone has to take for self-discovery and spiritual growth. 

Here are some common symbols connected to loneliness:

12. Seclusion

Woman sitting alone on cliff edge looking out over gully.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

In the spirit realm, solitude is a crucial component of spiritual growth, allowing the person to calm their mind and connect with their inner self and higher powers. 

Seclusion provides a deeper understanding of a person’s purpose in life. Once your life’s purpose is clear, the shadows of loneliness will eventually fade away. 

13. The Hermit

It’s connected to a spiritual symbol of someone who has chosen to live in solitude only to gain a deeper understanding of their inner spirit. Instead of seeking worldly relationships and connections, they intentionally stay in isolation and connect with the divine.

14. The Desert

Desert landscape with a dead tree and clouds.
Image by Marion from Pixabay

Although lonely and barren, deserts in the spirit world are represented as the path toward enlightenment – while there will be hardships and challenges along the way, the journey through the barren landscape will enlighten their inner self and connect with the divine. 

15. A Lighthouse

A lighthouse on a small rocky hill.
Photo by Pixabay

These functional structures are seen near our coastlines, isolated on rocks, cliffs, or elevated pieces of land. Typically, lighthouses are made on bare islands or rocky cliffs that are not inhabited.

The person taking care of the light is solitary without loved ones or friends. 

It can take months for someone working in a lighthouse to visit a loved one. Storytellers and filmmakers depict a lighthouse on a dark, rainy night, showing it and its caretaker as the loneliest on the coastline.


The symbols of loneliness are used widely in real life, in spirituality, and in the dream world. While most symbols signify the feeling of being isolated, alone and facing challenges on your own, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. 

Being solitary is undoubtedly unpleasant, but the time spent will make you resilient and better connect with your inner self.

See also: Top 6 Flowers That Symbolize Loneliness