Visitor Info

Incense, candles, and books

About the work I do here:

As part of my service path, I occasionally host visitors (usually from out of town) who are interested in collaborative efforts to develop organized monastic traditions appropriate for polytheists interested in the pre-Christian religious and folk traditions of Northern Europe (i.e. Heathenry, Norse Paganism, Forn Sed, etc.)

Modern revived polytheism is in its infancy, and except for the Maetreum of Cybele (the only legal Pagan convent in the US), we don’t have any polytheist monasteries yet, let alone ones with provisions for religious hermits. However, Those I serve have tasked me with doing what I can to make inroads toward the day when established polytheist monasteries will exist. So I do the best I can, within the constraints of my situation, to live as I would if I had taken a religious vow to live and serve as a Sister in a hermitage affiliated with a recognized polytheist church or monastery.

I offer hosting on a barter or gift-for-a-gift basis for people who have been introduced to me through mutual friends or extended social networks. If you are unknown to me and we have no mutual acquaintances, please write to me to introduce yourself (see address at the bottom of this page) and provide links to your blog, social media accounts, etc.

I also provide professional copywriting and proofreading services, either for hire at standard market rates or as part of a mutually agreeable barter arrangement.

Information and guidelines for visitors:

The space is very small. Claustrophobics take note: you may find the Hermitage a little confining, especially if you’re used to a larger space with lots of room to move around, and are planning to visit for a full weekend. It’s a 550 sq. ft. open floor plan studio. I use subdued mood lighting, dark sun-blocking curtains, and other methods to keep it as cave-like as I can get it. Given that it’s on the seventh floor of a modern brick building, that is quite a challenge! I’ve found that the sense of being cocooned inside the contours of the space – away from the prying eyes of the outside world – greatly facilitates incubation, deep listening, meditation, and creative flow, but it presents its challenges as well.

The space is always kept organized and clean. Order is important in this space, as it is for monasteries of other religions. Clutter and disorganization are drags on my attention, and interfere with the flow of my practice. If you love organized spaces as much as I do, great!  You’re likely to feel right at home. If you prefer a more free-form environment, you probably won’t want to stay for long.

Welcoming space for the marginalized: The Hermitage has always been, and will always be, a welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ folks of all genders and ethnicities. I will use the correct applicable pronouns and religious forms of address for you (e.g., sister, brother, sibling, gydja, gothi, etc.) as soon as I am made aware of them. I am a queer-identified cis woman myself (pronouns she/her), and I will stand with you against bigotry in all forms.

I cannot host tobacco smokers or those who use fragranced personal care products. This is due to an invisible disability: I am chemically sensitive and have allergic reactions to smoke and fragrances, so I can’t allow them at the Hermitage without compromising my health.

I’ll repeat that for emphasis, since I’d hate to have you put in the effort to get here and then be turned away at the door! I cannot host visitors who smoke cigarettes or wear synthetic fragrances. This includes not only perfumes and colognes, but also clothes washed in conventional scented laundry detergents such as Tide, and scented personal care products such as hair sprays. However, if you are an MCS sufferer, please note that I do use aromatics with no additives: handmade cedarwood incense and pure essential oils made from conifers such as spruce, fir, and pine. If you’re in doubt about a product you use, please ask about it in advance.

Parking: I recommend that people use Tri-Met public transit to and from the Hermitage whenever possible, as parking can be difficult to find. There is no guest parking for the building, and even street spots alongside the building require a city-issued permit, which I do not have. For those who drive, there is a garage one block away where visitors can park for $2.50 per hour, $10 for a weekday, or $6 for a full weekend. (You do have to hike from the parking lot up a hill to reach my building, however, so please factor that into your planning.) You may have to go back and feed the parking meters if you pay by the hour.  So please plan carefully if you’re going to drive.

Accessibility: Unfortunately, the Hermitage is not wheelchair-accessible at all. I’m told that due to the age of the building, no ADA modifications are required. Stairs are the only way to get into and out of the building. If you can’t climb stairs, you won’t be able to get in. I apologize, but I have tried all avenues to change this, and have had no luck. I am well aware that if I were to need a wheelchair one day myself, I’d have no choice but to move out. Other questions about accessibility? Please contact me – I’m happy to answer them. If I’m unfamiliar with your disability, I will gladly take time to educate myself about how to improve accessibility, and will do my best to accommodate your specific needs.

Kitchen at The Black Stone Hermitage

The Hermitage kitchen, complete with Zojirushi water boiler, Vita-Mix blender, tea tin collection, and photos of dancers, hermits, and dark ambient albums.

Food and drink: If you stay overnight or for a weekend, meals during your visit will be your own responsibility, though if you are a good cook, I’d be happy to make arrangements to barter my services in exchange for meal-sharing, as I am not much of a cook at all!  There are stores, restaurants, and a weekly year-round farmers’ market located within walking distance of the Hermitage, and you are free to use my kitchen, refrigerator, and dishwasher for preparing meals. Tea service (western-style) is provided for all visitors – I have a full tea cabinet and I keep a Zojirushi hot water boiler going all day long so my guests can enjoy hot tea whenever they wish. If you prefer coffee, please bring your own! I can provide a French press for brewing.

Other questions? I’m happy to answer them. Contact me via e-mail:

shrine.of.skadi AT gmail dot com

Photo credit: Ilana Hamilton of Blackthorn Photography