Snow is falling outside my window, the temperature is frigid and my toes are cold. Spring is a blessed promise which the Wheel of the Year begins to proclaim through Imbolc in early February. However, those of us in northern climes remain in Winter’s chill grasp for several more months. This means we have time to avail ourselves of Hermit energy as a season of inner reflection, learning, and growth!
Hermit Energy: Transform Isolation Into Introspection
While darkness can be soothing, viewed as a return to the goddess’s womb for a time of rebirth, there are those for whom the dark half of the year feels isolating. This can be due to the physical constraints of the weather (snow drifting on the roadways and sidewalks, the presence of ice making mobility difficult, the heaviness of multiple layers of clothing), lack of sunlight which may trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, susceptibility to illness or an overall malaise.
This means it can be a difficult time for folks to tap into their spiritual path, witchcraft, or Pagan magick practicing ways. As someone who deals with S.A.D., I understand when the paganism/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" class=" decorated-link">SPOONS simply are not available. For me, the celebration of Imbolc (and devotion to Brighid) brings me to a place of hope and optimism, even allowing me to appreciate the long, dark months of Winter outside the holiday season.
However, not everyone celebrates Imbolc. This is why embracing Hermit energy can be beneficial. In the Tarot, the Hermit symbolizes withdrawal from the outside world, a time of contemplation, study, reflection, and inner wisdom. While the temptation of Middle Winter may for some be toward isolation, Hermit energy can transform that impulse into something productive when we focus intention.
Hermit Energy: Create Sacred Solitude
One of my favorite decks is The Herbcrafter’s Tarot. The overall energy is healing for obvious reasons. As I thought about Hermit energy, I pulled out that deck, to see what is used to represent the 9th card.
Usnea is a lichen that resembles Spanish Moss and has various health benefits. This plant is well suited to represent “the Hermit” in Herbcrafters because it grows on trees where the air is clear (such as on a mountain).
What I like about this version of the Hermit is the emphasis on creating space for “sacred solitude.” Intentional setting aside of space and time for contemplation and gaining personal wisdom. What better time to do so than Middle Winter?
So, let’s visit some ideas for creating sacred solitude and Hermit energy even as we prepare for the return of Spring and warmer weather.
How does one go about using Hermit Energy through Sacred Solitude?
- Take time throughout the day for self-love routines, to practice devotion to any deities with whom you work, tend to plant allies, meditate or chant. Engage in activities that connect to one’s spirit, personal practice and/or witchcraft.
- Set aside physical space where you can retreat as a reminder to slow down. Give yourself time to evaluate where you are and what you are doing by adding “guide” symbols. For instance, Usnea could be a reminder to create a “nest” where you can rest and reflect.
- Read a book or watch a video about your spiritual path, magickal practice, deities, or otherwise expand your knowledge base.
- Do not assume sacred solitude means “shadow work” (which should never be undertaken if not in a mental/emotional state in which to process what could be revealed). Personal wisdom, learning, and spiritual growth can arise from a variety of mediums in which Hermit energy can assist.
- Set up an image of The Hermit (from any deck) as a reminder of Sacred Solitude. Light a candle, focus on the image you have set up to align yourself to the energy of study, reflection, and personal growth.