New Moon Initiation: Active Hope in Violent Times

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

I finished writing this moonth’s post yesterday and almost sent it off. But I decided to wait for one more look and possible polish before sharing. Yesterday I started with hope and a little exuberance:

On January 21st the new moon arrives to remind us that renewal is possible. Before there was darkness—the moon stripped of sun’s reflection—but then the moment (3:53 pm ET, time zone converter ) that tips us toward the light—the birth of the next lunar cycle.

The new moon also ushers in the Lunar New Year on January 22nd, which is celebrated by a quarter of the earth’s population. The energy for renewal is powerful right now!

So it is fitting that at this time of year, we are invited to walk the soul shaping path of The Star.  

Then I woke up this morning and the headlines here in the US were horrific. Another mass shooting in the predominantly Asian American community of Monterey Park at a ballroom dance venue. Now the second day of Lunar New Year’s celebration in Monterey Park has been canceled “out of an abundance of caution.”

My heart goes out to the families of all of those murdered and the community waking up to this horror.

To break our hearts open even more, this year is the first year that California is officially celebrating Lunar New Year and this recognition was greeted happily. Reverend Fong, an organizer of San Francisco’s parade explained the importance of the holiday:  “It’s [about] the renewal of relationships, the forgiveness of debts and it’s almost religious in that it’s a new beginning for your life.”

We are all bystanders now—again!—to personal, political, and spiritual violence. Another way to say this is that we are all witnesses this day to the murder of innocent people during a state-recognized holiday of spiritual significance.

Can the Tarot offer anything to move us through this violence and into healing? Well, the post I finished last night, inspired primarily by the unpleasant—even disturbing—image of the Five of Swords, focused on practice for repair. The card itself did not offer the answer but its image prompted me to look to contemporary thinkers to find models for addressing the problems that we face.

I’ll return now to that original post (with a few additional resources that might be a support for repair in the aftermath of the shooting).

The Star appears after times of difficulty to offer us hope, to call us to renew, and to shed a gentle light on the change emerging.

The Star follows Death, the Devil, and the Tower, the fearsome three of the Tarot pantheon, through which we die to our old lives, confront the shadows we can no longer hide from, and experience the structures we counted on crumble. After this process, we are stripped down to our essential self, find ourselves as open as the Star figure. We may feel alone, but the Star reminds us that we are held within a vast and beautiful Cosmos, which constantly pours its gifts upon us.

This year the Star’s path takes us through the passage of the Five of Swords.

In the iconic Rider Waite Smith Tarot’s Five of Swords, a large, orange-haired figure in the foreground stands confidently holding three swords while two empty-handed figures in the background walk away. The furthest figure appears to be holding their face in their hands, their shoulders are slumped. A third figure stands between and seems to be looking at the one holding their face. Jagged clouds in the background whip along above the rippling ocean.

1909 version of the Rider Waiter Smith deck (RWS currently produced by US Games)

The highlighted figure seems to have won the battle, which could give this card a meaning of victory, vindication, or success. But a traditional name for this card is the Lord of Defeat. This name shifts our orientation to those who have lost their swords and seemingly their fight. Placing these figures at the center of the card’s story calls us  to contemplate not victory but themes such as harm experienced and inflicted, being wronged, being a bystander to harm, and abuse of power.

Nearly a century before scholars and activists popularized the triangle of victim/survivor, bystander, and perpetrators, Pixie Smith created an image to show this web of relationships—inviting we who receive this image to the soul work of repairing harm.

Ah, but these are such painful topics. Could they really be a passage of the beautiful, hopeful Star?

The answer is, of course, yes. The Star remains with us through the darkest nights, through our greatest challenges. The Star sees us not as winners or losers. No matter what we do, the Star offers gentle light to help us through, to invite us to the path of repair. Our commitment to moving through this passage connects us to what the poet Kathleen Aguero calls “the hard work of hope.” 

Because the hope that heals is actively engaged with the most difficult challenges of our times. This is the hope we are called to cultivate when we encounter the Five of Swords passage.

I’m reading a book right now that gives a form and practice for such an active hope: On Repentance and Repair by Danya Ruttenberg. She is a rabbi presenting the teaching of the 12th century philosopher and scholar of Jewish law, Moses Maimonides, for how those who have harmed can make amends. Which means most of us, maybe all of us. Rabbi Ruttenberg states that we all have caused harm, been harmed, and been bystanders to harm. These experiences happen not just in personal ways but also because we are part of larger systems that perpetuate oppression.

Because her focus is on those who have harmed, she does not focus on healing strategies for those who have been harmed, but the approach she offers centers the victim/survivor and their needs—for immediate care, on-going repair, and speaking their own truth. Bystander interventions are also outside the focus of the book. Activists working against sexual violence and racist, homophobic and transphobic actions and comments have developed trainings to prepare us to act in immediate situations. For situations like the Monterey Park murders that are part of a larger history, we can pay attention rather than look away and look to impacted communities for their requests to use for action (I’m watching for what AAPI Women Lead call to action will be.)

Rabbi Ruttenberg writes out of the Jewish tradition but offers Maimonides’ teachings in a five-step sequence for a broad audience. (Steps and essential message below are hers. Summaries—and any errors in thinking—are mine. Read the book to gather all her detailed wisdom.)

Step One: Naming and Owning the Harm

The harm caused needs to be named and acknowledged. This is easily said, but not as easily done.

When we hear we have caused harm our first reaction may be to defend ourselves and deflect the truth. We may need a process that includes support from skilled helpers (therapist, spiritual director, a consciousness raising group for white or straight people, for example) to work through to acceptance.

This work is not to be done with those harmed. Our stumbling through to full awareness could cause further harm that should not be inflicted on them.

Once the full harm is understood, it needs to be stated publicly within the context in which the harm was inflicted. This is the beginning, not the end, of a process of repair.

Step Two: Starting to Change

Not just words are required for repair. Different kinds of actions must be taken not only toward the one harmed but within the wider community.

Step Three: Restitution and Accepting Consequences

Rabbi Ruttenberg shares Maimonides five areas where damages must be paid: for the injury itself, the pain suffered, medical costs, time away from work, and humiliation. This restitution could range from money to an individual to cover a direct damage or therapy for psychological distress to nations paying reparations to communities that have experienced historical and ongoing harm such as land dispossession, slavery, and genocide.

The one who has harmed is also called to accept consequences for the harmful actions and willingly take on payment of the restitution or punishments.

Step Four: Apology 

The ones harmed determines when, how, and if an apology is to be made to them directly. The one apologizing must detail their understanding of what they did wrong and center the experience of the one they harmed.

Note that asking for forgiveness is not part of this step.  Forgiveness may or may not be part of the process Ruttenberg suggests. The focus here is on the one who has harmed changing themselves, not asking for another to change by giving forgiveness.

The apology must be offered without expectation of receiving anything in return.

Step Five: Making Different Choices

Most people do not harm intentionally. The abuse we inflict may come from coping behaviors we developed out of harm we have experienced. Or, as Rabbi Ruttenberg describes, “those who have any kind of privilege (white people, for example, or wealthy people, or men) say and do things that support the dominant power structures at least some of the time—intentionally or not, our of malice or out of ignorance, or out of a perspective poisoned by the normalization of ideas that are racist, ableist, transphobic, fatphobic.” 

Harmful behaviors that spring both from coping and privilege are rooted within us and will take work to uproot. To make different choices that will keep us from continuing harm will require on-going examination of behaviors, identifying and practicing new behaviors, and changes in how we act. This will require not just a statement of “I’m sorry,” but a long-term process of personal change, possibly a whole lifetime of unlearning and learning anew.

Rabbi Ruttenberg ends her outline of Maimonides steps with:

Repentance—tshuuvah—is like the Japanese art of kintsugi, repairing broken pottery with gold. You can never unbreak what you have broken. But with the sincere and deep work of transformation, acts of repair have the potential to make something new. 

We can walk this path of challenge and of hope when we emulate the qualities of the King of Swords. 

The King is a master of the mind and uses their intellect to serve the good of the Whole. 

To be like this King, we assess rather than block feelings, and we do not allow ourselves to be controlled by them. Once the emotions are acknowledged, we can look at current reality analytically, assess options from a larger perspective, and identify how our personal choices might impact others.

Working from the highest potential of the King, we are able to hear feedback about our impact on others, even to learn that we have caused harm. We might go through a range of emotions even recognize our defensiveness, but remain open to the message that is being offered. Then to act quickly to change behavior. If we have a King role in our lives—being a manager, minister, or head of state, for example—we move our organizations and institutions to be agents of change and transformation to eliminate harm.

Being like Kings, we remind people that hope is fed by action and we all have a role to play in the work of renewal.

In the aftermath of another of so very, very many mass shootings incited by the racism entrenched in our social, cultural, and political systems, it may seem foolish to believe that change can happen.

If it seems foolish to dare to believe we can repair, the Tarot supports us to be that Fool. In fact, using the correspondences of astrology and Tarot, we find that The Fool, through its association with the planet of innovation Uranus, is said to rule The Star. To be Star beings we must follow The Fool. 

I know some Fools. They are working on reparations for African Americans in the Valley where I live. And members of the Nipmuc Nation are leading the push to have a state-owned farm rematriated to their care. These are local examples of national movements that Rabbi Ruttenberg writes about in her book. She also writes about how Germany came to its reparations work following the Holocaust, attributing the success it has had—while acknowledging it is not perfect—to grassroots movements in the 1960s and 1980s. In the 1960s young people—some might call them fools—engaged in grassroots organizing and then when they were adults in positions of responsibility continued the work.

The work is continuous
—as continuous as the stars’ appearance in the night sky. The ancient Egyptians were close observers of stars, like the Pole Star, that did not set. Called the Imperishable Stars, they served as an image of eternity and a reminder of the constant presence of the Gods and Goddess in the people’s lives. The Tarot’s Star, too, reminds us of this Divine accompaniment, both when we are aware of Her presence and even when we doubt it. She holds us within Her embrace as we rest, and in the resting are reshaped. From here we will emerge into a new wholeness made from our broken parts.

Reading of the Moonth

These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question.

REPAIR: What work of repair does Five of Swords passage call me to this moonth?

ACTION: How can I engage in the repair work this moonth?

RENEW: How will I be contributing to the renewal of the Whole when I commit to this work?

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. I generally have time for these readings on Mondays and Saturdays. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email.


Full Moon Revelations: The Heart Rein

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving on Friday, the 6th (exact at 6:08 pm ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the December 23rd new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with The Devil, Two of Pentacles, and Queen of Pentacles, invited us to have the strength to make magic. On the full moon we invite a revelation about how this energy is developing. As we integrate the revelation in the last weeks of the lunar cycle, we are issued an invitation to return a gift to the world.

The exact moment of the moon’s fullness comes in the sign of Cancer associated with the Tarot’s Chariot archetype.  When the Devil meets up with Chariot, a challenge is presented to align disparate—possibly conflicting, perhaps bedeviling—parts of ourselves. Once aligned, we can be propelled forward from where we’ve been stuck and enter new territory.

Key to the Chariot delivering you to the place of your soul’s calling is aligning with your deepest/highest values. What are the values you want to be guided by this moonth? Or as this full moon arrives so near to the new year you may want to create some space for reflecting on values you want to live by and uphold throughout 2023. Then these values can guide any planning you do for the year.

In the Minoan Tarot’s Chariot I find an invitation to keep Love at the center of our lives.

This is a favorite Chariot image of mine and I return to it as a touchstone each year during the January eRetreat, Tending the Returning Light. Deck creator Ellen Lorenzi-Prince describes the image:

On a painted stone sarcophagus from the New Palace Period, the Goddess drives a chariot drawn by griffins. With the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle, the sovereign of beasts and the sovereign of birds together, griffins are especially powerful and majestic creatures, as they harness the powers of both Earth and Heaven. Yet the Goddess does not strain to hold the reins on the magical beasts. Her control is effortless.

In the overview booklet for Tending the Returning Light I reflect on the image and its meaning:

The rein we see the Goddess holding represents Her—and is a mirror of our— desires, longing, conscious control; this helps to set a direction for the Chariot.

But where is the second rein? We do not see one.

There is, however, another connection suggested. The Goddess extends her chest toward Her creatures. The heart lives in the chest. I believe Her heart is the second rein. This heart rein does not control so much as align. Her heart rein is curious about where the griffins might want to go. The heart rein is open to the journey as it unfolds. A heart rein invites new revelations.

Both reins are needed for us to move forward meaningfully through the challenges and delights of our lives.

The heart is the symbol of Love that is calling to us here at the start of the year.

When you engage Love, you may find its seeming opposites arise.

Your love for another, could also raise in you great frustration for how they do not take care or even abuse themselves. As you allow that frustration to flow you may find it is just another facet of love.

Your love for the earth could turn to fear for its future, our human future, the future of so many species. As you allow that fear to flow you may find it is just another facet of love.

Your love for the dead could raise another wave of grief within you. As you allow that grief to flow you may find it is just another facet of love.

Your love for people you do not know but that you see are suffering because of the injustice of our systems may raise in you a rage. As you allow that rage to flow you may find it is just another facet of love.

Weaving these elements together instead of setting them apart increases the power of the energy you have for moving forward in your life, toward your goals, into this new year.

To encourage a revelation on these themes as we journey through this moonthly cycle, you are invited to one, some, or all of these practices:

Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light.

~ Take out any reading or your reflections from the new moon and look at them in a new light. How does your understanding of the cards shift now that time has passed and light has shifted? (If you haven’t done a reading yet, no problem, just do it now under the light of the full moon. You can try the one from the new moon.)

~ Bring out your Devil and Chariot cards from your Tarot deck and connect them to your new moon reading / reflections. You could place/imagine these cards on either side of your reading or above and below, and then look at how they add meaning into the story your original cards offered you.

Reflect on questions such as: What is my heart’s desire? How can I be focused and directed in seeking my heart’s desire? How can I just go with the flow to seek my heart’s desire? Where can my love lead me? When I tap into my love what other emotions arise? How can I harness all that arises to move forward in my life? You could, of course, pull cards as responses to any of these questions. You may want to engage in Visio Divina to find the layers of wisdom within the cards.

When you are done, remember to offer gratitude for what you have received. Consider what gift you now want to return to the world. Pulling a card for guidance on the gift is always a fine thing to do. In the coming weeks and before the moon returns to dark around January 18th. offer your gift to the world.


Solstice Seed of the New

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

We’ve been Waiting with the Dark as part of the Descent and Return of the Light seasonal ritual.  With the arrival of the Solstice on December 21st, we shift into Tending the Returning Light. Out of this confluence of dark and light, we invite a Solstice Seed of the New to show itself to us.

Shining Tribe tarot ace of wands

The Shining Tribe Tarot‘s version of the Ace of Wands.

You can make your first connection to the Seed on or after Solstice. New Year’s Day is a fine time to find a Seed.

To find your Seed, you could pull a Tarot or oracle card or two. Or you might record a dream image, note the first animal you see, or open an inspirational book in a random place and take the first line you see as wisdom written especially for you. Just tune into what feels right to you to do your Seed selecting.

Your Seed image needs to inspire you. If you encounter an image or pull a card that evokes a negative or indifferent reaction, you absolutely do not have to stick with it for a whole year. Instead you could think a bit about why the image does not inspire you and then ponder what might be opposite qualities. Then go and consciously look for a symbol or card that represents these new ideas. In that way the original card is still a guide – just one of initial misdirection – to finding your Solstice Seed image.

No matter how or when you tune into the Solstice seed, you are invited to work with it for the rest of the year and see how it evolves as a contemplative practice. You might keep the images or words that have found their way to you in a place where you can see them all year (my Tarot sister Jill Scott makes images she want to pay attention to the screen saver on her phone!), place them at the center of an annual spread done with Tarot or other oracle cards, and/or re-visit the Solstice seed at the turning of each season.

You may have an idea of how your seed will develop or there might be a big surprise as you travel the coming year, but you will birth the new from your seed, a whole solar system of yourself being expressed.

10 of trees

And here the Tribe’s 10 of Trees. The seed all grown up!

Happy Solstice!

Connecting with the Solstice Seed and the gift it offers at the center of the Tending the Returning Light e-retreat that begins January 2nd. Offered via an overview booklet, daily e-mails, and weekly tele/audio gatherings, participants will discover:

  • what can be born of our broken parts,
  • how to root and reach inspired by the Solstice Seed of the New;
  • what will emerge from our collaboration with our Solstice Seeds inspirations; and
  • how to follow our heart’s light.

Devoting yourself to this seasonal-long ritual can offer you support for:

  • creating or refreshing your spiritual / soul practice;
  • continuing on a healing journey through loss or grief;
  • tuning in to your creative source;
  • clarifying and building commitment for living out your soul purpose in the year to come.

Registration is now open.


Reading of the Moonth: The Strength to Make Magic

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

The arrival of the new moon stamps the moonth with an initiating energy that shifts and develops through a cycle of growth, fullness, and descent.  Each moonth I look to the Tarot’s astrological correspondences for the new moon to find 3 cards (a Major, a numbered Minor, and a court/people card) to guide musings on soul tending as well as creation of a moonthly reading. The reading can be done any time, but ideally between the new and full moons. Revisit the cards you pull periodically up until the next lunation to gain new insight as the light changes. This new moon arrives overnight December 23rd (exact at 5:16am ET, time zone converter) . The full moon arrives January 6th.


This moonth we meet The Devil on the path. And like it or not, this wisdom figure is the one to usher from one year into the next. The Devil is a guardian at the gateway of this transition time. 

A 1909 version of the Rider Waiter Smith deck (RWS currently produced by US Games)

In Western culture, we like to make our Devils simple, to have them be the singular repository of evil. 

But the image of the Devil – in the Tarot and elsewhere – is complex and made of many parts: curved horns, bats wings, chicken feet. When we unravel the Devil’s parts and take a few moments with each’s origins and inspirations, we find positive power and potential layered into this image.

Horns are markers of vital deities across cultures. Hathor, the great Mother Goddess of ancient Egypt, is shown with cow horns that hold a symbol of the sun she is said to give birth to each day. The Greek God Pan sports horns as he makes music through field and groove. Cernunnos, the Celtic God of fertility, rules over the natural, animal, instinctual, and sexual forces of life. So peel back our first fearful reaction to the Devil, and we find horns calling us to notice the feminine, playful, and natural powers – and to reclaim these powers from how they have been demeaned and demonized in our culture. 

Bats are classified as unclean and detested in the Bible, perhaps leading to an association with the Devil. I had a bat encounter where I admit I was afraid as one flew right for my face before swerving. But in many cultures what scares or is strange is not categorized as evil. North American Native Peoples honored the interconnection of all and observed bat behavior to find the teaching offered. They realized that bats can travel easily in the dark through a connection made by sound to its surroundings; bat then becomes a guide to dreams, intuitions, and vision. Bat is also associated with the Greek Goddess Persephone who descends to the dark of the Underworld for part of each year so that new can be gestated in the womb of the earth. Aware of these associations the Devil’s bat wings guides us away from our fear of the dark and the Divine Feminine to find our way toward their gifts. (Hmm, yes, this is the second instance of the Divine Feminine hiding within what is deemed to be bad and waiting for us to connect with her true power.)

The chicken feet remind me of The Raziel Tarot’s Devil. Drawn from Jewish lore, mystical teachings, and traditional stories, the Raziel offers a Devil who is a trickster but has limited power. Deck creator Rachel Pollack enlightens us about the difference between the Jewish and Christian conceptions of the Devil: “Quite simply, the idea of an all-powerful Devil … does not exist in Judaism …. No great Devil holds the souls of all humanity in its grip.” Pollack relates the tale of the Devil displacing and then masquerading as the wise ruler King Solomon. But Solomon sneaks back to court disguised as a beggar, reveals the Devil’s chicken feet, and regains his throne. The Devil can be defeated by the humble human; time to stop giving the Devils in our lives so much of our own power. 

On the surface, the Devil is a mess, but below that strange puzzle of parts great powers waiting to emerge. And isn’t that frequently a reflection of each of us? We are an assortment of quirks and wounds, conflicting desires and internal voices, and addictions both small and large. 

We may try to present a perfect face, but each of us a part of the larger world, which, let’s admit it, is a mess. But if we dig into rather than fear these strange parts, we can move more fully into who we are. We can acknowledge the challenge of a part but instead of fighting it channel our energy toward developing the gift it contains. And as we do, the untapped power waiting within can emerge to support personal and even planetary healing. 

So what is the part of you that seems ugliest, that you hide the most? During the moonth, spend some time finding the gift in this part and encountering it as a tool for transformation.

Passage and Practice

This moonth’s path takes us  through the action of the Two of Pentacles. In the iconic Rider Waite Smith image, a figure stands – dances? hops? – on one foot while juggling two Pentacles, the symbols of the suit of earth. This card offers up a mirror of us doing the busy juggle of our lives, often just barely balancing conflicting priorities but sometimes excited to find ourselves in flow of task achievement.

A 1909 version of the Rider Waiter Smith deck (RWS currently produced by US Games)

The Pentacles are connected by the  lemniscate, a symbol of eternity also featured on the Rider Waite Smith Major Arcana cards of the Magician and Strength. The repetition of the symbol invites us to recognize a greater potential in the Two of Pentacles message. Perhaps our daily struggles that seem small are really part of something larger and more meaningful. Perhaps we just need the strength to recognize how we can make magic in the world with our daily actions. Then we can choose what actions to take and which priorities to focus on in alignment with the impact we would like to make on the world around us. 

To cultivate that strength to make magic with your daily actions, you might begin your yearly planning or resolution-setting by focusing on what you most seek to serve – the Divine Feminine, Justice, increased civil discourse, greater creativity; these are just a few service examples – and then identify the action steps that support your focus. Pare away what does not serve your focus to avoid juggling too many things at once.

There is one final connection to make. In mathematics, the lemniscate can be called The Devil’s Curve. When we add the Devil into the mix, we can say that the Strength to make Magic comes from meeting and integrating all the strange parts of ourselves. This is no doubt a life long process. There is no ultimate state to reach because when we arrive at such a feeling the Devil will appear to show us something ugly that can help us grow.


The Queen of Pentacles shows us that the place to manifest our strong magic is on the earth. She sits amidst a lush garden; her partnership with natural forces has brought forth abundance and beauty. 

A 1909 version of the Rider Waiter Smith deck (RWS currently produced by US Games)

She wears red the same color as the Magician’s cloak. Her loving gaze directed toward her Pentacle is similar to the gaze of the Strength woman. And her crown is topped with … well, they rather look like horns! When Queen unites these disparate energies with herself and the world blooms. 

Her magic is elemental and manifest for the good of the Whole. She invites us to the same way of being.  

Reading of the Moonth

These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question. 

MAGIC: What magic is yours to make at this time?

STRENGTH: How can you cultivate the strength to bring forth this magic?

MANIFESTATION: What will you be able to make real?

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. I generally have time for these readings on Mondays and Saturdays. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. 

The work of cultivating truth isn’t completed just at the time of the new moon. When the full moon comes on January 6th, we will open up to an emotional and mystical flow blending with the devilish and earthly. 


Six Winter Solstice Celebration Ideas

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

To celebrate the Winter Solstice you are invited to do what best suits your soul. Some spend the day in solitary quiet. Others gather around celebratory bonfires with many friends and family. 

As the Solstices are generally not recognized on public or work calendars, you may have to find ways to work into a day when you still have responsibilities. Here are some suggestions to select, combine, adapt, or tweak to fit your needs: 

Spend some time outdoors communing with what is happening in the winter world as well as sun and moon. 

The holiday arises from a natural event—the moment when the earth reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun, and in the next moment starts tilting back toward sun—so finding a way to connect with nature is aligned with the meaning and mystery of what springs from the Solstice moment. 

You might want to make a trip to a special place or just be sure to step outside your office building and look up at the sky. Let the wisdom of the natural world seep into your senses and inform your consciousness. Let this guide your honoring of the day and season. 

Find a Solstice Seed of the New that you will nurture throughout the coming year. 

The Solstice Seed is a wisdom image that you contemplate and work with as a practice throughout the year. You can find your Solstice Seed by pulling a Tarot card, remembering a dream image, or observing an animal on the Solstice. Full details on this practice are here. 

Take brief pauses throughout the day to remind yourself that it is the Solstice. You could perform a small ritual action. 

Muslims pause to pray five times a day at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening, and Christian monks and nuns gather to pray the liturgy of the hours up to 7 times away including in the middle of the night. 

Dawn, noon, sunset, and the Solstice moment (this year occurring on Wednesday, the 21st, at 4:47pm ET, time zone converter) are good spots in a day to make a pause for: meditation; walking outside for a few minutes or an hour; selecting your Solstice seed or contemplating it; saying a prayer; or reading or writing a poem.

Make this day the start of your celebration of the 12 days of Solstice. 

Why rush? Spread your Solstice practices out through the holiday season. When the Solstice falls on the 21st and you take it as the first day of Solsticetide, the 12th day is January 1. 

Eat something harvested on the Summer Solstice to remind you of the connection between the extremes of dark and light. 

A few years back I started harvesting and freezing strawberries on the Summer Solstice to eat on the Winter Solstice. You could do this with anything available at summer solstice. 

Enter Darkness. Invite Light.

Right before the Solstice moment we are at the height of the year’s darkness and invited to enter into its healing potential for release and renewal before starting the next solar year. But from the Solstice moment onward, the dark is reunited with the light and we begin our journey toward the height of light at Summer Solstice.

In the Overview booklet for Soul Path Sanctuary’s retreat-in-everyday life centered around the Winter Solstice, Descent and Return of the Light, I offer an image of what this reunion is like: 

In these moments, Dark and Light mix together. I imagine they rise and fall exuberantly like long separated lovers to conceive the next spiral of the world’s becoming. Dark and Light each need moments of their own fullness, but then their reunion on the Solstice creates that generative energy that the Italian poet Dante named so beautifully as the “love that moves the sun and other stars.”  

The Dark does not actually birth the Light. The Dark and the Light – after times of separation –  come together to conceive and birth Love. They begin a partnership of nurturance to bestow on Love their own best qualities that might be named as: intimacy, mystery, surrender, passion, growth, and joy. The inheritance of Love is both Dark and Light.

To encourage this birth of Love, you might spend some time with both Dark and Light. Before the Solstice moment, sit in the dark. When the Solstice moment comes, light lots of candles or even a big bonfire. You might imagine your leaping flame or dancing sparks play a part in moving us toward loving balance of the Whole. 


You are invited to join us for the second half of Descent and Return of the Light where we encounter the potential of our Solstice Seeds, tend the returning light, and find support for spiritual and soul-focused practice as we start a new year. Details and registration are here.  

If you are looking for an event to attend on the Solstice day 2022 I know of these organized by my Tarot friends:

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