Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers


Threshold of the Dark Mini-Retreat


For Grievers – For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

yellow leaves dark branchesEach season offers different gifts and challenges, flows with its own rhythm and mystery.  When we tune our awareness to the offerings and energy of the season, we can better receive its wisdom and be supported in our spiritual devotions, divinatory seeking, and/or creative vocations.

The turning from October to November is a threshold time in many traditions. In the Celtic tradition, both from its earth-honoring origins and later Celtic Christianity, these days were a time to prepare for the coming dark, gather in circle to share stories, and remember the ancestors.

In this mini-retreat day on Saturday, October 28th, we follow in the footsteps of tradition and do our own listening to the land at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, MA to find the wisdom that speaks to our hearts and souls at this time.

In our time together, we will:

  • Greet each other and the season.
  • Find focus and inspiration for the day’s exploring. Yes, we’ll use Tarot and oracle cards for inspiration!
  • Talk a Wisdom Wander. No matter the weather, there will be an invitation to connect with the land and creatures at Arcadia in some way.
  • Have time for journaling, drawing, doodling or just sitting.
  • Eat a simple lunch highlighting local vegetables and fruits (vegan and gluten-free friendly).
  • Create a Threshold of the Dark Altar and remember our beloved dead.
  • Conclude with a Wisdom of the Season Sharing Circle.

This will be an intimate gathering. Only 13 slots available.

You are invited to bring any, all, or none of these things:

  • Clothing appropriate to the weather and shoes for walking around on well-laid out trails. (OK, clothing is a requirement at this time of year. Not really optional!)
  • A journal, drawing pad, piece of paper, pen, and/or colored pencils.
  • A Tarot or oracle deck.  If you don’t have one, there will be decks for sharing for use at the retreat.
  • A picture of a loved one who has died to place on the Threshold of the Dark Altar.
  • An object that represents the Threshold of the Dark time to you to place on the altar.
  • A camera for contemplative photo receiving.


  • To be held 10am to 4:30pm at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, MA on Saturday, October 28th.
  • Fee is $85. Pre-registration required by October 21st so we can plan how much food to make.

Payment options:

Pay with credit card/use PayPal.  

Or send a check to Carolyn Cushing, 1 Cottage St., Box 33, Easthampton, MA 01027. Good idea to send me an e-mail if sending a check so I can hold a slot for you.


Faces and Spaces of Justice; Raziel Tarot


Justice – Tarot

Rachel Pollack and Robert Place’s Raziel Tarot, the Divine Feminine, the Shekinah, lights candles just as Jewish women do each Friday night to begin the Sabbath. Through this simple practice performed at the kitchen table, the world is renewed. In using this image for Justice, the Raziel Tarot teaches us that justice, too, can be renewed.

Rachel writes: “Our lives, our very existence, are an ongoing gift, one that is renewed at every moment, with every breath and this depends mystically, emotionally, even physically on our commitment to Justice.”

That commitment to Justice is shown in acting in diverse ways. As Rachel writes, in mystical, emotional, and physical ways. Mystically, rituals such as the lighting of the candles to enact the remaking of the world is an act of justice, Emotionally, opening your heart to the pain of injustice experienced by others and yourself is an act of justice. Physically, showing up in public (at a large rally or in a conversation with a neighbor) to say no to injustice and yes to your visions of future where all are respected is an act of justice

Rachel opens her meditations on Justice with a line from Deuteronomy: “Justice, justice shall you pursue,” and notes that words are rarely repeated in the Torah. The repetition of Justice could be for emphasis or, as Rachel posits, could be a call for Justice in both the spiritual and earthly world. I hear it as a call for we humans to recognize our responsibility for bring Justice into being. We must be active in its pursuit.

While we must be active in bringing Justice into being in our world, it is also naturally occurring in the cosmic balance. I saw this in the stars above the Shekinah’s head. They show us as existing within an eternity beyond time where the patterns are clearer from a distance.

So the Raziel Tarot tells me: Work for Justice. Trust in Justice. Dedicate each small practice to the renewal of Life and Justice.


I was so pleased to welcome Rachel Pollack to the August moonthly Faces and Spaces of Justice chat and meditation. You can listen to her wisdom and stories on the recording followed by a guided meditation. To find out about future calls, subscribe to my moonthly e-news in the sidebar.


Soul Shaping Path of Strength Reading


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

I’ve cleared my schedule on the full moon (August 7th) so I can offer my e-reading of the moonth on that day. I have time to do 4 readings and send them to you by e-mail. See button at end of post to purchase.To see how I offer my collaborative-intuitive readings in an e-format, you can check out this sample.

The focus of the reading is on our wildness – and we are having a wild time, aren’t we? Governments across the globe are in crisis, the climate is changing, and here in the United States, the drama coming from Washington, DC, is head spinning.

It might be time to meet wildness with wildness, particularly if we can harness our feminine power and passion to steer us toward our highest values. (And you don’t have to be a woman to tap into and move from this power, orient to this perspective.)

To develop my e-readings this year, I’ve been looking to the Tarot’s astrological correspondences and connecting them to my Soul Path Reading format. At first, I was worried that this was actually a bit too intellectual and lacking the spark of my nature inspired reading, but lately I have been grateful to these readings for proving a larger perspective on the dizzing daily news.

For example, when we traveled the path of the Star in February through a full moon aligned with Strength, the 7 of Wands (with its courageous lone figure against a crowd), and Knight of Pentacles (who slowly but surely moves in service to his cause) was when we first heard “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Though this was directed at Senator Elizabeth Warren as an admonishment, it soon became a call to remember and be inspired by all the women – our foremothers – who persisted in their work for Justice.

We have two new moons in Leo/Strength this year, and the August 21st new moon is going to take us once again through that same path of Strength – 7 of Wands – Knight of Pentacles. If we gather in the lessons and learnings between then and now, we can be even more powerful during the second emergence of this pattern. We can be prepared to persist.  

I offer the Soul Shaping Path of Strength reading as a way for you to do that learning and preparing.


Path: Strength

Joanna Powell Colbert speaks to the essence of Strength in her companion book to the Gaian Tarot“A strong and beautiful woman holds a cougar in her arms. Both wear crowns of flowers. The mountain lion symbolizes her passion, her instincts, her sexuality, and her wildness. Instead of believing that her animal nature needs to be subdued, she embraces it and makes it a friend.”

WILD INSIDE: What is the wild inside of me that wants to be befriended?



Posture: Elder of Fire 

To walk this moonth’s path of Strength, we are invited to be like the Elder of Fire. Joanna writes that this Elder “doesn’t sit back and accept things as they are. She embodies the power of transformation.” She is able to be bold in her imagining and her working because she is attuned to powerful allies. Through ritual and trance she tunes into the Greater Than and receives the guidance that comes through this connection. In the image, the Elder is sitting before an altar for the Mexican holiday of Day of the Dead, inviting us to especially listen for the help the ancestors want to offer us.

GUIDANCE: What guidance do your ancestors offer you for befriending the wild inside?


Action: Five of Fire 

Joanna created this image to show rage and fear being expressed. And it well might be a time to express your rage at places in your personal life where you feel trapped or about injustice in the wider world. A powerful expression can lead to breakthrough or renewed balance. But this image also shows light being brought into smoky darkness. The expression of your wild inside – perhaps along with others working together – could be what is needed to clear the air and bring forth a needed transformation.

EXPRESSION: What will you be able to express when you come into relationship with the wild inside?


Do this reading on your own or sign up to get an e-reading from me for $22.


Not on my list? Be sure to sign up to the right get the next monthly e-news and reading ahead of the August 21st new moon.  






Faces and Spaces of Justice: A Reading


Justice – Tarot

Since it is summer, I am lingering a little longer with last moonth’s Face and Space of Justice from the Haindl Tarot published by U.S. Games Systems  so I can tell you about the “Gifts of Justice for the USA on its Birthday” meditation and Wisdom reading that I did on the 4th of July. I found the gifts fascinating.



Guided by the imagery of the card with its upper chakra colors rising from an earthy tree-trunk source, I meditated and pulled cards for gifts for the USA from the earth, our human visionary capacity (3rd eye connected), and the Divine / Universal Energy (crown chakra connected).

Earth Gift – Eight of Swords – Interference: I saw the word “Interference” and a “Yes!” rose up within me. I saw the interference as arising both from the earth itself and from we humans who are concerned about the planet and all the creatures here. In this way, the earth’s wild weather swings can be seen as alerts calling us to pay attention and to act to bring things into better balance. Rachel Pollack’s thoughts on interference for the human-side seemed written just for the times we live in: “The positive side of interference includes political action to reform dangerous or evil policies. If we see something wrong in the world around us, we bear a moral responsibility to do whatever we can.”


Visionary Gift – Two of Cups – Love: How wonderful to see this card here echoing the peacock of Justice. It was also the action card of last moonth – and came up over and over again in various readings that I did. Our ability to keep imagining and envisioning Love as a guiding force is a gift we can to each other and hold up as a possibility for our nation. Rachel writes of the Love shown in this card: “So love in this card becomes something more than personal happiness. We need to give the energy back to the world.”



Divine Gift – Three of Wands – Virtue: If we listen only to the news, we may feel a lack of virtue in our national life. But the Divine is still sending us virtue; it is available to tap into. And on a local level, in our neighborhoods, or  anywhere people are coming together in Love for the Whole or to Interfere in support of the earth, we may well be acting with just the virtue needed to come into harmony with the cosmic order.



I invite you to participate in the giving by finding your personal expression of each of these gifts. You can pull cards for questions such as:

  • What can I do to interfere for the good of the earth?
  • How can I express Love to increase Justice in the United States?
  • What virtue can I express now to support the cosmic order?

Pilgrimage Report in Poetry and Prose


For Grievers – For Seekers – Nature – Poetry – Seasonal Observances – Tarot

The Summer Solstice-hinged e-retreat Walking the Ways of the Summer Light just concluded. This offering is a poetic report from a few moments of my Pilgrimage trip to Acadia National Park. 


Love, the shaper, makes her

a light fish with dark eyes

swimming green, this passage

skims skin from her cheeks.

What she wanted once

was to be born without borders

before she knew

the price of this Love

and now a strange joy

in its payment.

Before tall pines and the few hardwoods give way to granite, a fullness of green growth: sheep laurel leaves spreading, constellated with magenta corollas of tiny, fused petals. Low bushes reach to each other across the narrowing path. I pull myself in to make the passage. Feel myself sway a little like the leaves I am brushing. The sun and the green and the swaying are weaving together some kind of magic.

I will play with the magic. I reach into my pack to pull out one of the handful of Tarot cards I carry. The 2 of Rivers emerges.   A dark fish with a light eye and a light fish with a dark eye entwine, reminiscent of the Ying-Yang symbol. They float above the sea and below a range of rocky peaks. At the edge of the image, smaller fish come and go through the streams that feed the sea. The fish swim by a lantern – or is it a miniature lighthouse guiding their journey?

First I see a quite literal mirror to the landscape I am walking in Acadia National Park: a narrow place between bushes on top of a granite bald. Then I remember the card’s meaning: an offering of Love. The card’s emergence calls me to see and to swim through this green growth as a place of Love.

But not necessarily an easy Love.

I travel more deeply into the image. I become the light fish with a dark eye. The dark eye of my illuminating Love sees Grief, knows Grief. This is the place that I’ve come each year as a kind of pilgrimage since my partner John died.

The first year after his death I was a dark fish. The sadness my skin. But it was pricked by surprise. I was by myself but I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t lonely. I was accompanied. It was strange. This was the little light in my eye.

It’s five years on. You might think I will say I am the light fish now, but, no, I am not one or the other. I might be the circle of them, as we are all the circles of light and dark shifting and breaking, shaking in the flux.

Sheep laurel is a plant of flux, springs up after fire. New shoots come from dormant buds on buried rhizomes exposed to the striping flame. The green waits below the surface, and when it returns the tiny kinglet and the tiger swallowtail come, too. Raise their wings above buds now burst.

The breeze blows lifting leaves and I feel the fish open up their dance. Press closer to each other. Make each other sway. Love and Grief pulsing together pushing me through into the new.

Love, the shaper, makes her

a light fish with dark eyes

swimming green, this passage

skims skin from her cheeks.

What she wanted once

was to be born without borders

before she knew

the price of this Love

and now a strange joy

in its payment.

The Two of Rivers is from Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe Tarot


Thank you for dropping by the Sanctuary! If you haven’t already, I invite you to sign up for my moonthly e-news (in the right-hand column) to hear about up coming lunar and solar observances and follow along with this year’s devotion to Justice. 

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