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Introducing The Green Altar

A new name for this blog and non-social-media landing spot for all of my internet sharings–this time, with no expectations for publishing.
Introducing The Green Altar
A small garden plot along a wooden fence decorated with planters and woodland animal statues. In the center are two tomato cages supporting black raspberry canes.

At the beginning of 2023, I introduced The Hermit Year as a weekly newsletter on art, tarot, and gardening in the spirit of my Hermit year according to a birthday-based Card of the Year system. In naming and theming the project so, I knew from the start that it would require reassessment at the one year mark (or, at the very least, the name would). Today, I introduce to you The Green Altar: a blog and non-social-media landing spot for all of my internet sharings–this time, with no expectations for publishing, and considerably fewer emails.

The Hermit card in the Tarot represents a teacher, the guiding light of knowledge, and the virtues in isolation and dedication. I made the conscious choice to spend time with this archetype in 2023; to notice it, embody it, and learn from it. Some of my learnings are just for me, and some of them I'll share with you.

A weekly writing deadline does not work for me! I've struggled with deadlines since I was a child. It takes all of my cognitive energy to organize my time enough to meet them, and when I don't, I am unkind to myself. In the coming year, I hope to focus on process goals and release the expectations of outcome goals. Also, I have a day job working in social media and digital communications. When the day is done, I do not want to sit down in front of the keyboard.

I am feeling less compelled to share about my life on the internet. In my younger years, I shared compulsively about myself and my inner world online. As I deepen into a spiritual practice around attuning to the rhythms of the earth, I am more reticent than ever to give so much of myself to an unknowable audience. I still spend a lot of time lurking! But I'm losing interest in sharing, especially on the platforms I use for work. It feels good to be selfish in this way.

Instagram bad, online community good. It hardly bears repeating but here I go, repeating: the more time I spend away from Instagram, the better I feel. It's not like the absence of Instagram makes me feel happiness–more like avoiding the platform brings me back to baseline contentedness. I've found so much more connection and joy in sharing on community-specific platforms such as the Missing Witches coven on Circle. (Witches, join us!) In that space, I've been workshopping poetry, sharing synchronicities, and truly getting to know some wonderful witches whose values align with mine.


I decided on the name Green Altar as a nod to my garden, the physical and metaphorical heart of my personal spiritual practice. In the lighter half of the year it's where I go to pray. I sit at the edge and talk with my beloved dead when they'll have me, and if they have nothing to say, we sit together quietly. It's where I dream and scheme, plant and prune, learn and fail, harvest and hope. I spent some summer days at my green altar pulling cards and reading poetry; some days I spent digging holes and hauling fence posts. As I write, the altar is half-asleep, buried under layers of deer netting and snow. In these darker months, I'm synthesizing last year's learnings as I eagerly wait to begin the work again.

"Green Altar" is also the name of a song by the inimitable Chelsea Wolfe.

As the Hermit is a teacher, I want to thank a few humans, animals, plants, and collectives I've learned from this year: Rachel Pollack, Pam Grossman, Melissa Madara, the Missing Witches, Zoë Flowers, Mary Oliver, Pauline Campanelli, Juno the hound dog, the deer at the back of the lot, wild strawberry, catnip, J.S., my therapist, and of course Goose Sleater-Kinney Campsinger.

My card for 2024 is the Wheel of Fortune. I look forward to riding the cosmic cartwheel wherever it takes me, and to exploring the balance between will and fate.

A tarot card depicting a great symbolic wheel in the sky held by Anubis. It's surrounded by angelic figures and creatures. At the top is the Roman numeral X and across the bottom is the title Wheel of Fortune.
The Wheel of Fortune in the Waite Smith tarot deck (1909).

I'll leave you with a Wheel song. Be well, talk soon!

Erin

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