Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries: My Hermit Year

Yeah, so it’s been more than a whole-ass year again. But it was my Hermit year, so the radio silence makes sense this time!

Last time I posted I was winding down from my Strength Year and into my Hermit Year. Interestingly enough, the Hermit is also my life path card (in numerology, my life path number is nine), so it makes sense that a Hermit year for me would have a sense of comfort-via-familiarity. And even though it was a tough year at times, I always felt pretty grounded and sure.

Nine is also the number of completion and mastery, which I try not to be too big-headed about. (Oh, you’re only a life path number three? *smug face*) (JK! JK!)

The Hermit card in any deck generally contains at least three elements: an old person, a lantern/light, and isolation depicted in some form. Often it’s an old man on a snowy mountaintop, sometimes it’s Charon the ferryman, sometimes it’s a dwarf in a cave. There’s also usually a fourth element of a staff or a pole of some kind, something that helps stabilize the hermit as he moves along his (often treacherous) path.

The Hermit card represents turning inward to move forward on your spiritual (also emotional) path. For me, spiritual and physical life don’t have a lot of areas where they don’t overlap–it’s my natural inclination to read spiritual meaning into everything that happens to me (this is why I’m a witch…I’ve always been like this). So when my Hermit year began with intense, expensive, demanding medical treatments, the spiritual implications seemed obvious.

The main thing about my healing experience that sticks with me is that I spent so long being invalidated by medical professionals, and then…I finally got the confirmation I needed. My experience was validated. A solution was laid before me. The solution? Massive detoxing, huge infusions of nutrients, plus a crap-ton of pharmaceuticals. AKA: getting rid of the bad, making a concerted effort to take in more good, and accepting help along the way.

And here’s the thing I’ve noticed in my life: when one area of my life undergoes dramatic change, all the other areas are affected, too. When I stopped questioning whether or not I was “crazy” or actually sick, I also stopped questioning my feelings. Specifically, I stopped gaslighting myself about my anger with people who were treating me poorly. Suddenly, all the lies I had been keeping myself bogged down with were utterly untenable. Laughable, even. (“This person really does care about me, so I need to cut them slack forever no matter how many times they hurt me, because that’s loyalty!” was the main one.)

With this newfound clarity, I could hardly believe the amount of bullshit I’d been swallowing my entire life.

This led, as revelations often do, to some heartbreak. Namely, realizing someone I’d thought was an intimate friend for over 16 years was actually not much of a friend at all. (I won’t go into too many details here, for her privacy as much as my own, but sometimes people grow apart, and sometimes people do nothing to grow at all, and that’s all I’ll say about that.)

To make things worse, this person is so beloved by so many people (whom she doesn’t actually know but love-bombs anyway) that I could not talk about our “breakup” with anyone who actually knew her, at least until recently.

So that was basically my entire Hermit Year: me sitting alone in a small room at a doctor’s office with an IV in my arm while quietly mourning a loss I could not speak about. (I vague-tweeted a lot though, and actually had one other person come to me about this person’s confusing behavior.)

But, while it was tough at times, and I have cried my fair share over many different things this year, it didn’t feel like suffering. It felt like healing, in the way breaking a fever feels like healing. And “healing” was the lantern I used to light my way this year. “Does this lead to healing?” was my “Does this spark joy?” in every moment, on every day.

A thing I have always believed is that a doctor who does not empower the patient to heal themself will never have as good of an outcome as a doctor who takes all the healing power for themself. I was empowered to heal the moment I was told “you are right, you know your body, and you have known your body well this whole time.” (I regret that I hated my body for “betraying me” all those years, when really it was doing an excellent job of just keeping me alive) And with that empowerment came other empowerments: the power to respect myself, to trust my instincts, and to see myself as worthy of the love and consideration I’ve offered to so many people who couldn’t give it in return.

Boundaries, baby. Learn ’em, love ’em, enforce ’em.

I’m tilting into my Wheel of Fortune year now. I calculated my last Wheel of Fortune year and it happened to be the year I got fired from my last job and my marriage ended. And I know that sounds rough, but honestly those were two excellent changes in my life, so I’m not too bothered.

Besides, I’m querying a novel for the first time in over six years! So maybe this year the fortune on the wheel will be a little more explicitly good fortune 🙂