Door Number 21: The Hermit Portal

I finished painting this portal on May 14, 2020, right around the time Jupiter went retrograde. I needed to wait for paint and glue to dry, but mostly, I needed better light for photographing it. Michigan rivals the Pacific Northwest sometimes! I love the gloomy days, but they don’t make for good indoor photographs. This “door” has been knocking on my subconscious for months. I thought I’d begin the weekend of March 29th, tapping into the world’s pandemic “hermit” mode; however, when the world goes crazy, I get busy. I’ve had so many sessions that I didn’t even start working on it until the week of May 4th.

As usual with these portals, astrological timing superseded my own plans. May 4, 2020 marked the actual crossquarter day of Beltane, when the Sun crosses 15 degrees Taurus. Beltane is a fire and purification festival, and also one of two key times the trooping faeries change residence — the other being Samhain, on or near Halloween. Even before I knew much about astrology, the doors — literal then, now sometimes canvas with painted doors — either featured astrological signatures or began or finished on key dates like Easter Sunday or Pentecost. This Hermit portal is Door Number 21:


The bottom isn’t crooked like it looks. I just can’t get it to photograph or crop right on my phone. The bottom and right edges are gray and the darker blue. The lighter blue is the wall behind it in my office. For some reason, whenever I try to photograph doors or canvases, something weird happens with the angles. By now, I’m used to it, but just to clarify, the portal itself ends with the gray rock and dark blue sky.


The quote reads, “If you open the door of wisdom, all other doors will be opened.” The quote’s author is Mehmet Murat ildan, and I found it a perfect synchronicity that his name translates to “praiseworthy wish.”

You can see Runic coding in the texture of the cloak, as well as an OS Rune on the Hermit’s staff. The top of the staff has a different style of OS, and both Runes refer to wisdom that comes through the mouth. It’s a “Rune of acceptance, Rune of giving.” According to Karl Hans Welz, “In many ceremonials, OS is used to receive and to accept energies. … In the practice of transferring healing energies and light, OS is one of the most powerful tools.” Also called Ansuz, the OS Rune connects to the God Odin, who often appeared on Earth in the guise of a traveling hermit. (Sometimes I think Tania Marie and I met him in Mendocino back in 2009, where I first learned Runes.)

I used a citrine crystal as the lantern’s light — and the lantern’s door is the “door” of this portal, the door of wisdom. Again, these paintings prove difficult to photograph, so I’ll include two of the lantern.


The first captures more of the glow of the crystal. In person, depending on the lighting, it really does look like flame. Citrine also connects with the Sun, the focus of Door Number 19, which features a heliodor crystal on the child’s solar plexus. While most people associate citrine with abundance and the solar plexus, citrine carries additional properties related to the spiritual path, alchemy, creativity, and energy exchange:

“The yellow hues of Citrine symbolize the spiritual qualities of joy, abundance, and transmutation. …

“In times of low to moderate stress, Citrine is a perfect ally for realigning your energies back into balance. In contrast, other, more powerful crystals may be necessary for more profound healings.

“But do not let that discourage you from its importance, for Citrine knows that it is in these first initial moments of confusion and dismay where we can most easily recalibrate our energies and move back onto our true paths.

“Citrine is also known as the Merchant’s Stone, due to its ability to transmute energies quickly and easily, facilitating transfers of energy from one to another. …

“Citrine also represents spiritual joy since it spreads positive, energetic light around its aura and is said to be one of only two crystals which do not need to be recharged or purified.

“Citrine can help facilitate prosperous occurrences all year round, and more importantly, it can help you transfer spiritual energies inside yourself at all times of the year.

“Many people do not realize this, but we are continually exchanging, borrowing, and giving energies to different parts of our body, depending on what our soul and spirit are needing to experience at any given time.

“These kinds of exchanges do not come cheaply. We become exhausted when these types of exchanges occur chaotically and without reason. Citrine can help balance and facilitate these types of energies.

“Finally, Citrine is a crystal replete with creative energy.” More on citrine here.

The next photograph gets the yellow light and shiny black lantern colors all wrong, but it shows how the light textures radiate, and it almost gets the cloak colors right. It also shows a different glow to the citrine, as well as the odd hand position I felt led to create:


As I painted this, I wanted to correct the hand and make it look more natural or comfortable, but I was “told” it was a variant of mushti mudra. In particular, this mudra can help process grief and trauma. I don’t know why I wasn’t supposed to paint it with the thumb all the way to the fourth finger, but I paint as I feel led. In any case, it seems related to the purification of the citrine “light,” a lifting up of the heavy energies of grief and trauma that can get in the way of wisdom. Paradoxically, sometimes our wounds lead us to withdraw from life, and then we gain wisdom through our solitary initiation.

Connected to the Hermit’s withdrawal in order to find a deeper connection, I painted the “9” number of the Hermit Card in Tarot as Roman numerals, IX. I did this because the I or IS Rune (pronounced eees) represents the Hermit. (I wrote about this IS connection in a post describing a mystical dream I had during a Pisces Full Moon.) The IS Rune represents standstill, the correct balance of ego, the Higher Self, and ice. In particular, the IS Rune allows access to frozen landscapes that could not normally be traversed — such as frozen lakes that lead to the hag’s cottage, or frozen rivers that can now be crossed. Turned on its side, the IS Rune becomes a bridge, and it also connects to the Goddess Isis, on the back of Door Number 20.

The X, also known as the Gifu, Gebo or Gyfu Rune keeps appearing to me in dreams. The Gebo Rune lore is extensive. It covers gifts of all sorts, as well as the equitable exchange of gifts. Gebo represents true partnership, whether in a romantic sense or working with the Divine. It kind of goes along with the Biblical idea (Luke 12:48): “to whom much is given, much will be required.”


The Hermit incurs a responsibility to share the wisdom he acquires, although he can share it in a different way than he receives the wisdom. I Runic coded the wooden brace on the backside of the canvas, but the Hermit reveals a simple light to the world. He keeps his eyes closed, focusing inward, as his light shines out. Gebo has no reversed meaning. The Sun portal also features the IS and Gebo Runes as XIX, 19, tying the Hermit portal to that one with not just the citrine/heliodor crystals, but also the Runes.

My favorite part of this portal is the owl:


When I began sketching the Hermit, the owl just wanted into the painting and onto his arm. I changed the colors a little to echo the gray rock/cliff, but I like how sweet his face turned out. I also like the shamanic connection between the Hermit and the owl, like the owl’s going to land on his outstretched arm that holds the light, but his feet point to the light. Owls can see in the dark. They symbolize wisdom, so it echoes the quote. Somehow, everything echoes or complements — the Full Moon with the lantern’s light, the closed eyes of the Hermit and the wide open eyes of the owl. I finished painting the owl on the Full Moon on May 7th — again, not on purpose. It just synchronized that way.

May 7th is David’s birthday, and May 14th, the day I finished the painting was my dad’s birthday, as well as the date I graduated college. I finished the Sun portal as my 46th birthday gift to myself last year, and today is the day before the 22nd anniversary of my 1998 life-changing car accident and traumatic brain injury.I didn’t plan things this way. It just happens with these paintings.

This portal also echoes the owl painting I did in 2010, which now hangs in our living room:


Because I download my paintings from dreams and vision, most of them end up interlocking in very tight, synchronous ways. The more I “unpack” their timing, quotes or Runic coding, the more I realize, “Ohhhh! That’s what I was painting then.” The doors and canvas portals continue to open in new ways even a decade after painting them. This 2010 painting followed me around many moves for many years, half finished as a daylight image before I switched it to the night and finished it within days. It goes along with an animal communication story I wrote about a mystical owl dream and an infinity sign in the snow. You can read The Backyard Owl here.

I don’t know the how or why of all these owls, Runes and portals. Maybe the Hermit will tell me some day.


It seems I’ve entered portal painting season, as someone already commissioned Door Number 22 as a mini “porta-portal,” and I have instructions to do the Magician for Door Number 23. Another person commissioned Door Number 24, so I’ll be busy with the paint brush! Thanks to everyone over the years who’s shown interest in this strange portal painting project of mine. You can find the others linked here.


26 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eliza Ayres on May 18, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤ Thanks for sharing this, Eliza!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Posted by Eliza Ayres on May 18, 2020 at 11:46 am

    I love your intuitive manner in approaching a work of art. Speaks of deep inner wisdom… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks so much, Eliza! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful and ethereal.   

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you!


  7. I love this, Laura. The night sky could double as a deep blue sea, the gray rock a raft, and I also see a heart in the center of the Hermit’s robe. The Owl, the lantern, the flame and the moon—all so beautiful. Thank you for painting and sharing this portal with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much, Diana. Yes, I debated adding stars but decided not to, because I wanted it to be the sea or the sky, and yes, there is a heart on the Hermit’s robe, because Love is the greatest wisdom of all. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ❤ love it

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ❤️ Thank you, T!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Posted by R on May 18, 2020 at 5:22 pm


    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Like

  13. This Hermit Portal is perfection on so many levels! And your commentary about The Hermit portal is as transformative as the portal itself. Definitely a portal for the times we are in and are in search of a way forward through. The path forward is indeed “inward”.

    Laura, I truly think the time has come for you to impart your knowledge of using the runes to others. In a book. Or perhaps a course? There are many books that give rune meanings and tell how to do divinations with them, but precious few that teach how to actually apply and use the runes in one’s life. For transformation, protection, love, and guidance.

    Including your portals and your commentaries on them in the book would make for a wonderful book that delights the eye while it illumines the mind and feeds the spirit. It would be as unique a work about the runes as Elfland is.

    Please consider opening up your treasure house of runes knowledge for all the world to learn and use. Include all the runes you use, and bring much-needed appreciation and honor to the Armanen as well as the Celtic, Elder, and Younger runes.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you so much, Sky! I will have to ponder that idea. I promised I would not teach the Runa Faery System of Runes, since that’s the one I learned from the Mendocino Druid. He taught me on condition I would not teach it, so I cannot include that one. Perhaps the others, though. I have several book ideas percolating, plus the ever nagging Metaphysics of Lyme Disease. We’ll see which comes through in what order and when! For now, it seems portal painting and sessions will be my main focus, at least through the next three. I’m hoping those also liberate some creative energies — for everyone. 🙂


  15. Please do seriously ponder writing a book on the various runes you know, love, and use. Except for the Runa Faery runes, of course. You’ll notice I did not include them in my first comment, as I know they were given to you for your own use only. (Although I am sure they are dear to your heart!)

    In times such as these, and those yet to come, people need energy tools like the runes. And a knowing guide to show them how to effectively use runes to shape reality. For the better.

    So please do ponder my suggestion and the needs of the times and the times yet to come. Empower others with the power of the runes that you know and use so well. It may be one of the greatest gifts you could gift the world at such a needful time.


    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am giving it serious consideration, Sky. Thank you for the idea. I just find I can’t do ANYTHING creative unless I feel inspired to do so. On the flip side, if I’m supposed to do something creative, the inspiration comes in such an insistent way that I pretty much need to do it — in whatever time frame orchestrates itself as necessary. 🙂


  17. Posted by Kieron on May 19, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I hadn’t read the story about the Meeting in Mendocino, and I capitalize it since that seems apropos in this context. 🙂 It wouldn’t surprise me if it was himself in the flesh since I understand he takes a special interest in humankind. The Hermit is probably my favorite of all the cards and I am drawn to it on manifold levels, so this is another insight into my favorite card. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I am a big believer in waiting for the “flow” before beginning any creative endeavor. And I passed this knowing of “waiting for the flow” on to my kids, now grown, as well. When in the flow, words just pour themselves onto the page and paintings just flow onto doors or canvases effortlessly. At first, my kids wondered what I meant. But with time and experience, they learned to recognize the flow within themselves.

    I trust that you will know when the time to share your runes in a book has arrived. I just personally hope it’s sooner rather than later.

    Looking at your Hermit Portal again before writing this comment, I delighted in its colors and depiction of light, and the following scripture arose in my mind; “And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not”. John 1:5 KJV


    Liked by 1 person

  19. Kieron, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. At the very least, he was going in and out of channeling him. Why am I not surprised the Hermit is your favorite card?! 🙂


  20. Thank you Sky!


  21. Hi Laura, This post made me think of you for some reason… Best,Julie

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    FROM THE ARCHIVE | The Wisdom of Trees: Walt Whitman on What Our Silent Friends Teach Us About Being Rather Than Seeming “When we have learned how to listen to trees,” Hermann Hesse wrote in his lyrical love letter to our arboreal companions, “then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy.” Two generations earlier, a different titan of poetic sentiment extolled trees not only as a source of joy but as a source of unheralded moral wisdom and an improbable yet formidable model of what is noblest in the human character. At fifty-four, a decade after his volunteer service as a nurse in the Civil War awakened him to the connection between the body and the spirit, Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819–March 26, 1892) suffered a severe stroke that left him paralyzed. It took him two years to recover — convalescence aided greatly, he believed, by his immersion in nature and its healing power. “How it all nourishes, lulls me,” he exulted, “in the way most needed; the open air, the rye-fields, the apple orchards.” The transcendent record of Whitman’s communion with the natural world survives in Specimen Days (public library) — a sublime collection of prose fragments and diary entries, restoring the word “specimen” to its Latin origin in specere: “to look at.” What emerges is a jubilant celebration of the art of seeing, so native to us yet so easily unlearned, eulogized with the singular electricity that vibrates in Whitman alone. Walt Whitman (Library of Congress)


  22. Lovely! Thank you, Julie! ❤️


  23. Posted by Lisa G. on May 20, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    On Monday, I forgot to mention how much l love your portals and have been inspired by them. Even though you say “the photograph…gets the colors all wrong…”, the close up of the lantern made me catch my breath (in a good way). Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Posted by Kieron on May 20, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    Walt Whitman most certainly embodied The Hermit archetype at times. According to a biography I read, his early years were marked by being a ne’er-do-well. His first years of prose and poetry were rather dry and unremarkable, going unnoticed, until the awakening mentioned here, over some years, catalyzed his creativity and it burst forth unexpectedly into the astonishing poetry we know him for. He broke new ground and upended conventions. Jungian writer and psychotherapist Steven B. Hermann has stated that Whitman “ essentially new method of poetry-creation whereby any person sufficiently adept at language-formation may write free verse for the spiritual development of the soul towards its ultimate destiny in space and time.” But the price of his creativity was the initiation he underwent as mentioned above, doubtless related to his Chiron return. And for all of this joyful ebullience in print, in person he could be reticent and taciturn, often reclusive and a bit odd, especially for the times he lived in which frowned on the nakedly erotic tone of many of his works. I regard him and his work very highly while recognizing the Shadow aspect that is very evident in his letters and memoirs.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you, Lisa!


  26. Thanks, Kieron. I agree with all of this. Whitman is/was a fascinating character, as well as a great poet.


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