So, at the start of 2016, I looked ahead at what 2016 potentially had in store for us, as the year of The Hermit.
2016 is certainly going to go down as one of those years that we look back on with an incredulous shake of the head, when we think about all the bizarre things that have gone on.
Closest to home for me is Brexit, and the political, social and socio-economic fallout from what was essentially a Hermit decision - a withdrawing from an existing connection, pulling away from a framework and an increased focus on self-reliance. It was an aspect of the Hermit, tempered and moulded by 'fear of the Other', leading us to a disconnection, cutting ourselves off in the belief that we're stronger on our own, but done in such a virulent way as to burn bridges as we crossed them, shearing the fabric of our own society in the process, turning on friends, family and neighbours alike. That process, initiated in 2016 as part of the Hermit energies for the year, is likely to continue through the 2 year negotiation period, spanning 2017 (the Wheel of Fortune) and 2018 (Justice), so while the process is likely to feel unsettled, changeable and unpredictable through 2017, it may finally find a constructive, balanced and measured response in 2018.
The Hermit's energies in the ongoing Brexit saga are based on fear, causing that withdrawal to be taxing and frustrating, and also based on the premise that "what i want for me" is better than "what is best for us all"...it has the feeling of a decision that was made for isolation and withdrawal, but based on a rejection of what some clearly thought was holding us back, rather than moving towards and embracing something that would carry us forwards, leaving us stuck on the precipice of this decision, where we've leapt unplanned and unorganised, desperate to grasp onto anything we perceive will now keep us afloat.
The Trump presidential win is a global example of that essence of withdrawal - a pulling back from a progressive global stance, to a mentality that involves building of walls and breaking down bridges; an isolationist mentality, driven by wanting 'more', and a desire to set oneself apart to somehow restore the glory days of a foregone era, made brighter by looking back on them with rose-tinted glasses. Trump capitalised on those feelings with his promises that only he could lead the way to glory, that only he could restore the country to it's former strength, that only he could deliver jobs and the best deals and a way forward - not his party, not other politicians or public servants, not experts or knowledgable individuals who could contribute, but a demagogue who promised to deliver a new path to glory, that only his feet would be able to find, despite his lack of experience, knowledge or suitability for the role.
This extreme emphasis on the individual has been historically fraught with peril - following your own path is one thing, but insisting that people follow you because only you can find the right path is entirely another...
In both Brexit and the Trump election win, we see a solid move away from interconnectedness, and a shift toward isolation, and an emphasis on withdrawing from the interpersonal and intersocial to rely heavily on the personal, no matter how filtered or flawed that individual perspective might be.
As a final example, the continuing conflict in the middle-east, and the breakdown of co-operation over Aleppo and Syria in general...with the U.S., the U.N. and Russia all pulling in different directions, wanting to be the ones to 'make the difference', blithely unaware that their contradictory and conflicting actions, acting for their own self-interest, rather than for the collective good of a country, are what is tearing the country apart at the seams. Again, the triumph of the individual, rather than the collective, has created greater problems, deepened isolation and forged a rift made worse when the Syrian people, fleeing this international conflict, have been met with suspicion and hostility, by a jingoistic and closed-border mentality.
I've always seen the Hermit as being a card of inner wisdom, of seeking a road less travelled, and following through with the courage of your own convictions...but 2016 has shown us that the Hermit, when its power is abused, and used to isolate, to weed out and to act for the good of the one, rather than the good of the many, can be a destabilising force which impacts heavily on the world around it, and a single year can undermine decades of hard work toward tolerance, acceptance and a shared connection.
The Wheel of Fortune for 2017 is cold comfort for the year ahead: an energy that is potentially further destabilising...or perhaps the needle has swung far enough one way and we'll see it tilt in the other, correcting itself, or evening the keel of a ship that is listing badly...wherever the Wheel stops, it's going to be very hard to predict, and isn't likely to offer any length of time to get comfortable before things shift again...