Arid landscapes with little or no vegetation, deserts are hard places to survive in. Although the stereotype is a rolling sea of sand, deserts can be cold as well as hot, rocks or bare earth as well as sand. Both visually and symbolically, the desert is free of confusion; there is no doubt. Because they are wide, open vistas without covering vegetation, they represent brutal honesty, impersonal struggle and the harsh realities of survival. Mankind is poorly tolerated in these areas, an occasional visitor who stands out clearly.
There are no distractions, giving deserts an association with clarity, revelation and purity. Because it is such a difficult, threatening terrain type, it represents barriers, obstacles and challenges. There are strong overtones of spirituality and religion bound up symbolically with desert landscapes. These areas are brutal, but they call upon the deepest reserves of a traveller’s will. In these struggles, there is no barrier to the heavens, no distractions or comforts to distract the soul from its communion.