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Originally posted on my Patreon March 8, 2021

According to The Tarot Handbook by Angeles Arren this past year is supposed to be my Hermit year. It is a year of “things definitely ending or being resolved”, a “year that one cannot compromise values” and a time when I have a “strong need for the feeling of space and time alone to assimilate the major completions and new beginnings.” The Hermit year is part of growth cycles identified by Arren as they relate to life path numbers and the major arcana of the tarot.

The previous year had seen me in the midst of Judgement: Sew Witchy was published and my legal fight with my ex-husband had been resolved. After all of that, I was looking forward to a period of rest and introspection. I had blocked out six months to write The Scent of Lemon & Rosemary. With my children in school and my husband and housemates employed, I expected to have the solitude I needed to work on it.

That … did not happen. Well, endings absolutely happened, as did my refusal to compromise my values, just not in the way I had expected.

Right off the bat my children and husband were home due to the pandemic, as was one of the housemates. I found myself trying to write, keep house, help my kids with their schoolwork and keep them from interfering with my husband’s work. I wrote on a $300 laptop I had to pick up as my seven-year-old computer stopped working. I tucked away in the basement, in the bedroom, at the kitchen table: a nomadic writer in my own home. Since April of 2020, I have not been alone, there has always been someone nearby. For an introvert, that has been … difficult.

By the fall we gained a little more space in the house at the expense of the room we had in our budget. Our housemates moved out due to a disagreement over Covid-19 precautions. As hard as it has been financially to shoulder the whole cost of rent and utilities, I have no regrets. We’ve just passed a half a million deaths in the US from Covid-19. At the time, almost five months ago, I was not willing to put my family at risk. The fact that we were in a place where we could make that decision is a point of privilege that so many others don’t have at this moment.

It’s easy to look back, now that my Hermit year is nearly over, and to map what happened to a description in a book. The point I’m making here isn’t so much that numerology or growth cycles are “real”. What I’m more interested in is using them as ways to order and approach time. And it is this last part of the description of what a Hermit year entails that I found the most useful.

I am forty-four years old and find myself at a sort of crossroads. In eighteen months my daughter will graduate from high school. When she does so, my parenting agreement with my ex will be completed and I will be free for the first time in almost twenty-five years to do what I want with my life. But before I can begin to lay the foundation for what my life will look like, I have a lot of brush clearing to do. I have to “assimilate the major completions and new beginnings.”

I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and interrogation of who I am and who I want to be. I look back on who I was at fourteen and ask myself if I’m going to be the kind of person she wanted to be. The process has involved going through everything around me–my books, my clothes, my relationships and attitudes–and evaluating if they still fit in my life. It has also prompted me to create a plan for the next year and a half to accomplish those goals that I have put off because other priorities have always gotten in the way.

I’ve spent the last year not only physically cleaning out the clutter, by donating items we don’t need and throwing away a lot of junk, but by also tackling those mental blocks and unhealthy mindsets that have haunted my head. I’ve turned to magick to help with some of that, as well as therapy. I am exploring what it is that I truly believe in and what I’m willing to stand up for, and I’m writing about it, putting my anti-capitalist and anti-racist beliefs out here where people will be able to read, and react, to them, which is a scary thought for someone who has a hard time with confrontation.

There is this belief that once you have hit your forties you should know who and what you are. It is uncomfortable to sit here and recognize that I have a teenage daughter, a ten-year-old son, bills and car payment and so many years behind me and I could  possibly still not know what I’m doing. The realization is scary, but also freeing. I think that’s the magick of the Hermit year. It gives you space to reevaluate and spin out what-ifs. It gives you a checkpoint to make sure you are still happy with where you are headed.

I’ve got a couple more months in this growth cycle. I’m making the most of that time finishing up the work of deciding who it is I am deep down inside. I am building that firm foundation so that when the next cycle, The Wheel of Fortune, starts up, I will be ready.

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