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Welcome to the Hermit Year

Friends and beyond, welcome to the Hermit Year! A weekly-ish writing on the topics of life on the edge of the woods, Tarot and astrology, art and gardening, climate despair and hope and grief, and regrettably probably also the internet.
The Hermit is a bearded figure in gray robes, holding a yellow staff and a lantern containing a yellow star.
The Hermit, as illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith for the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck (1909).

After a few years of dabbling in Tarot, I started working with a Card of the Year framework in earnest on March 2, 2020. My card for that year was the Lovers, and I was certain the great choice it alluded to was one between sticking with the salaried life at a dreadful marketing agency and moving away to pursue an MFA in creative writing. I started preparing, excitedly, for the latter.

Nine days later, on March 11, that preparation came to a grinding halt due to the global declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was stuck with the salaried life at a dreadful marketing agency, executed from my apartment. The cards became a comfort, a routine, and a distraction from the uncertain, unprecedented daily shifting of reality. The weeks, months, and years that followed were a rich soil for study, contemplation, and growth; of the Tarot, my own psyche, and eventually everything else too.

I use the Tarot as a secular narrative and psychological tool. To me, its 78 archetypes represent a broad range of experiences, orientations, truths, and mysteries that we encounter here in this thing called human life on Earth. By "secular," I mean that I don't earnestly believe in God, goddesses, or any supernatural powers or beings. I do have reverence for sacred texts and symbolism as tools for making meaning—the more esoteric and mystical, the better—so I've found the iconic Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck and its aesthetic influences especially evocative. Rachel Pollack's classic Tarot book 78 Degrees of Wisdom (1980) has also been a key text for me as I've learned the RWS in context of Western esoteric traditions. What good is religion, is spirituality, if it doesn't flirt with the edges of the observable and understood?

Using a popular numerological formula, 2023 will be for me a year that corresponds to the number 9, a space occupied in the Tarot by the Hermit. I am entering a Hermit year on the heels of a Strength year. The trials have been many and I have risen to meet them, repeatedly, and I am tired. I spent many lucky summer days gardening under the Leo sun, glory be, and now I am ready for a year of September. A gateway into the next set of challenges, deeper and more complex than what I've faced before (yes, witches, I'm anticipating my Saturn return; it will come for me just a few months into my year of Justice, number 11).

When it comes to Tarot, I choose to take to heart anything that resonates and leave behind anything that doesn't (including cisheteronormativity and non-mystical Christian overtones). In this season of life, the Hermit feels appropriate for a few reasons: one being my moon in Virgo, prominent in my chart, denoting an emotional nature that's classically associated with the Hermit’s lessons; a second being a personal turn toward introversion over the past two years that has radically altered my self-understanding; and a third being the dialectical nature of my day job, in which I communicate with hundreds of thousands of people every day without leaving my house (some days without even leaving the couch).

So, friends and beyond, welcome to the Hermit Year! A weekly-ish-hopefully (!!) writing on the topics of life on the edge of the woods, Tarot and astrology, art and gardening, climate despair and hope and grief, and regrettably probably also the internet. I look forward to this little project as a regular opportunity (nay, a requirement!) to write and share and connect with folks like yourself.

If you want to share back, I'd love to hear from you! Have you used the Card of the Year framework? Which archetype will guide you through 2023? You can reply directly to this message and I'll do my best to get back to you.

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