Welcome to Of Hearth and Shadow, the newsletter for Black Stone Sanctuary (formerly known as The Black Stone Hermitage and Black Stone Abbey.) Currently this newsletter and the Twitter account are the only active public online presences for the Sanctuary.

Black Stone Sanctuary is a privately owned dark monastic incubation space inspired by animist pre-Christian Nordic and Germanic religious and folk traditions. This contemplative space is consecrated into service of the Ásynjur (goddesses) and other Holy Powers.

Resident Danica Swanson is working to build the Sanctuary as a modular structure of “building blocks” for contemplative animists that can be open-sourced on a public wiki and adapted/recombined for use by other monastic aspirants in the modern polytheist revival.


2011: Danica Swanson’s project The Black Stone Hermitage launches its first outreach efforts with a blog, and begins hosting incubation retreats.

2019: The Black Stone Hermitage becomes Black Stone Abbey, an entity with two co-founders. The co-founders launch the Polytheist Monastic web discussion forum.

2020: Black Stone Abbey formally dissolves, and the web discussion forum goes offline. (The archives are preserved at archive.org, including the call for submissions for Janet Munin’s Polytheist Monasticism anthology, and the hibernation announcement.)

Nov 2020: Danica renames the project Black Stone Sanctuary, and resumes the project on a solo basis. Incubation retreats are on hiatus indefinitely due to the pandemic, but documentation of the work continues.

[Update, added June 2021]: Danica begins sorting through all of the Sanctuary’s early documentation and re-uploading selected highlights. This process will continue throughout 2022. There is a LOT of archived material!

[Update, added Dec. 2021]: For pandemic-related reasons it looks doubtful that the Sanctuary will be able to resume hosting of mini incubation retreats anytime soon, but hope springs eternal. In the meantime, the monastic service work will be carried out online as much as possible, with an eye toward finding a new home for the Sanctuary when the time is right.

Questions? Contact: blackstonesanctuary [at] pm [dot] me