The Hermitage as Pilgrimage Site
The Hermitage is a sacred site to those seeking union between the earth and the spirit, which is what it means to be a Harmonist.
The essence of the Hermitage is found in two locations: the Saal (meeting hall) of the Gemeinehaus (Community House) and the stone-lined spring below the Gemeinehaus.
The Saal is the indoor ritual site while the spring, with its steps narrowing as they descend to the sacred water, is the outdoor ritual site.
The Saal is a place for meditation. Its soaring rafters provide the backdrop for two special paintings: Illumination by Shozo Nagamo, with his characteristic shaped canvas, shows the descent of the Holy Spirit to illumine the brothers. Zephram de Colebi’s Illuminated Side Hole returns to mid-eighteenth century Moravian practice with its pierced canvas into which, by placing a hand into the wound, one enters the sacred space where the body and spirit merge.
Both locations, indoors and outdoors, emphasizes the transformative work of living the life of a Harmonist.
High in the outer wall of the Saal is our emblem of the flower growing in the earth, representing the nurtured and nurturing spirit living in harmony and beauty.
There are two springs at the Hermitage and both are considered sacred (as are all springs). One feeds the pond while the second, stone-lined with steps leading down to the water, is below the Gemeinehaus. Just as Christel’s spirit was believed by his brothers to live in the sacred spring at Christiansbrunn (the Spring of Christian outside Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania), so we believe his spirit inhabits this spring, as an example of the union of earth and spirit. And just as his brothers drank from the spring to bring Christel inside them so he could live again in and through them, so we believe his spirit enters and lives again through us when we drink this water and we partake of the mystery of the union of spirit and earth.