Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area

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Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« on: May 17, 2019, 08:10:17 AM »
I'm a devotee of Habondia and Cernunnos living in an unincorporated area of Harris County, Texas. If you've come here from the Facebook Polytheist Monastics group, you probably know me as Patricia.  I moved back to my family home to care for my elderly mother until her passing, and am now caring for my elderly sister.  I've been lucky enough to find work in my field (CRM Archaeology) that allows me to keep an office at my home while generally working on solo field projects.

I had felt a niggling call to a more dedicated form of life for many years, but it was only after I had raised my daughter and finished graduate school that I finally decided to make it official and made certain private vows at Samhain 2016.  At the time, I had proposed finding a plot of land of one acre or less, near but not in a larger city and with few restrictions on land-use, on which to build a small house and a large garden. I had envisioned it complete with chickens, bees, and possibly a little milk goat or two.  Not long after, I found out that my mother needed more care than the occasional home-health aide visits could give her.  I strongly resisted being pulled back to my heavily polluted, industrialized home town, but eventually gave in. It took several months before I realized where I was: in a small house built on just under an acre of unincorporated and largely unrestricted land on the outskirts of a larger city.  I still have a good laugh about it. 

Since then, I have been working on getting to know the land once again.  The wooded back third of the property is being left largely untouched for the benefit of the local wildlife. I've stopped mowing the liminal area between the woods and the house, hoping to see more of the native plants become established.  So far, I'm seeing some bushy bluestem, Texas lantana, greater ragweed and goldenrod.  Eventually, I plan to construct a small labyrinth in this meadow garden.  A substantial  kitchen garden is planned for the sunny area immediately behind the house.  Because of the history of heavy pollution and abuse of the land in this area, I feel it is very important to limit the amount of chemicals used on it, so I am incorporating both organic methods and aspects of permiculture in the gardens around the Hermitage.

Mom sadly passed away a year after I returned, at the age of 85.  At the beginning of this year, the house and land for the Hermitage was officially transferred into my name.  Since then, I have been in a very Earthy place, dealing with the tax office, utility companies, banks, and contractors; and ensuring that the house is safe and solid with a new roof, updated wiring, newly repaired and refinished floors, new doors that seal against rain, and new good quality paint to protect it all. Soon, the Hermitage will play host to four solar panels that will allow my sister and I to meet our energy needs while also contributing excess power to the local grid.  I expect, though, that as the Hermitage's needs change, so will my focus. 

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Syren Nagakyrie

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Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2019, 12:16:46 PM »
Good to see you here! I look forward to following your path and progress on the hermitage. It is so interesting how we wind up where we wind up, and how we come to realize what it is we actually have.

Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 07:03:26 PM »
Thanks, Syren.  Good to see you, as well.  :)

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Danica Swanson

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Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2019, 08:53:07 PM »
Welcome, Patricia. Glad you're here. As you know, I very much appreciate your writings on the Harvest Home Hermitage website. Thank you for serving as a moderator for the Facebook group, too.

It took several months before I realized where I was: in a small house built on just under an acre of unincorporated and largely unrestricted land on the outskirts of a larger city.  I still have a good laugh about it.

I find this aspect of your story hopeful. I mean, I know you resisted it, and I'm sure I would have resisted it too, had I been in your shoes. But I find it very telling that you were placed where you were needed by Those you serve, and that the location matched the specifics of your vision. I've heard many other "it was right under my nose, but I didn't even see it until after the fact" or "it never occurred to me that it could happen this way, but the gods showed me otherwise" stories.

These stories help me trust that when the new home for Black Stone Abbey is ready, we will discover it, and we (the monastics) will find some sort of opportunity to relocate to its new home in a way that enables us to carry out our vows of service. And there's a fair chance that it'll happen in some way we never imagined, but a way that fits the original vision.

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Lorna Smithers

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Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 01:37:02 AM »
Hello Hopeful Home Hermitage, lovely to meet you, and such an inspiring story :) I will look forward to reading about your progress.

Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2019, 08:46:56 AM »
These stories help me trust that when the new home for Black Stone Abbey is ready, we will discover it, and we (the monastics) will find some sort of opportunity to relocate to its new home in a way that enables us to carry out our vows of service. And there's a fair chance that it'll happen in some way we never imagined, but a way that fits the original vision.

Yep. It's apparently not uncommon among our set, regardless of religious background.  Last year, I read Seasons in My Garden: Meditations from a Hermitage by Sr. Elizabeth Wagner. In one of the chapters, she describes how she came to live in her laura, and how she railed against having to move to Maine with its harsh winters. In the end, she discovered it was a true blessing.  I found that deeply amusing. No matter who our Patrons are, they know where we are needed most and what we need most, regardless of our own thoughts on the matter. 

This is why I say They are the ones steering the boat, I'm just along for the ride.  Where I end up, whatever happens to me, it will be where They want me. Handing over that kind of control is not necessary or even wise for the general lay person, but is a requirement for the votary.   None of which makes it any easier.

Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2019, 08:49:38 AM »
Hello Hopeful Home Hermitage, lovely to meet you, and such an inspiring story :) I will look forward to reading about your progress.

Thank you, Lorna.  I'm enjoying your work in The Broken Cauldron immensely.

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Danica Swanson

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Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2019, 04:33:38 PM »
Last year, I read Seasons in My Garden: Meditations from a Hermitage by Sr. Elizabeth Wagner. In one of the chapters, she describes how she came to live in her laura, and how she railed against having to move to Maine with its harsh winters. In the end, she discovered it was a true blessing.

Thank you for mentioning this book. That sounds like a chapter I should read.

I looked up the book, and in the process I found the website for Transfiguration Hermitage, where Sr. Wagner resides. She tells a bit of her story, in which she mentions that even though she wasn't Catholic or a believer in the Christian god when she started out, eventually she learned to trust her devotional relationship, and although there was no map she was nonetheless shown the place where the Hermitage would be.

I've long had the sense that there's a long-term home for Black Stone Abbey that awaits, but after years of banging my head against the (metaphorical) wall, I've finally come to the conclusion that it won't be found through a search in any of the standard ways. It's got an inherent trajectory of some sort. We'll have to wait until it finds us, on its own timetable, and trust that if we keep developing our listening skills we'll recognize when it's time to take the next step. If we try to get ahead of the process in any way, I suspect we'll just end up with bigger life-messes for ourselves to clean up. (Ask me how I know...)

This is why I say They are the ones steering the boat, I'm just along for the ride.  Where I end up, whatever happens to me, it will be where They want me. Handing over that kind of control is not necessary or even wise for the general lay person, but is a requirement for the votary.   None of which makes it any easier.

"None of which makes it any easier." Truth! It might be more meaningful sometimes. But it's definitely not easier.

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barefootwisdom

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Re: Hopeful Hermit in Houston Metro area
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2019, 06:15:21 PM »
Welcome, Harvest Home!  I've lurked on your blog from time to time, and been inspired by what you've shared there, so it's great to see you here as well!

although there was no map she was nonetheless shown the place where the Hermitage would be.

Now that is an encouraging and hopeful sentiment!  Especially since this:
They are the ones steering the boat, I'm just along for the ride.  Where I end up, whatever happens to me, it will be where They want me. Handing over that kind of control is not necessary or even wise for the general lay person, but is a requirement for the votary.   None of which makes it any easier.
is the perfect description of my own situation right now, as I've actively been aware and trying to express since the winter.

I'll be looking up Seasons in My Garden soon myself!  Thanks for the tip!