Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers

Jul
12
2017

Pilgrimage Report in Poetry and Prose

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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. 

Jun
11
2017

Faces and Spaces of Justice: The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery

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For Seekers – Justice

The inspiration of Robert M. Places’ Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery is Neoplatonic mysticism as it emerged from the Renaissance. The whole deck, and most directly the Major Arcana, grows from Plato’s idea that each person has 3 souls: the Soul of Appetite, the Soul of Will, and the Soul of Reason. Each soul’s development moves progressively through these soul layers, and that growth is aided by adherence to the Cardinal Virtues of Justice, Strength, Temperance, and Prudence.

Robert includes this description of the Sevenfold’s Justice in the companion booklet to the deck:

Justice is the cardinal Virtue which balances the Soul of Reason. She is impartial, uses her scales to find truth, and is obligated to put truth into action. She hands her sword to her champion, the knight, who is sworn by the code of chivalry to serve Lady Justice, defend virtue, and the honor of women. She teaches that might does not make right but that might must serve truth and virtue.

The Sevenfold Mystery shows us Justice in relationship to those who serve Her. We are invited to contemplate our personal relationships to Justice and try on the identity of being a knight in her service and defender of her rule in the places where we live.

The special place of this face of Justice is at the beginning of a quest where we dedicate ourselves to a higher cause and receive the blessing of Justice for the journey ahead.

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This moonth’s chat and meditation will be inspired by finding a knight with whom we identify and letting this knight lead us to an encounter with Justice. The live call will be Wednesday, June 14th at 8:30pm Eastern/USA and a link for later listening will be offered for those who can’t join the call live. Sign up to get all the logistical info and links.

Apr
26
2017

Faces and Spaces of Justice: Sojourner Truth of the Pentimento Tarot

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For Seekers – Justice – Moonthly Renewal

In Joanna Powell Colbert’s Pentimento Tarot, the ancestors – some famous figures, other unknown – look out at us from the layers of history and invite us to enter into their wisdom.
The deck was conceived when Joanna began experimenting with the medium of beeswax collage. She says: “I found myself envisioning antique tarot cards partially obscured by time and wax, with old interpretations of the cards illuminated by newer ones, and new concepts enhanced by older ones.”

The deck’s images retain the connection to the power of the past, but invite the figures represented to speak to us today. Sojourner Truth is Justice and she has much to teach us for today.

Born a slave and given the name Belle in New York state around 1797, Sojourner Truth was sold away from her family as a child and as a young woman separated from the man she loved and pushed into a marriage arranged by her master where she had five children.

When her master failed to honor his promise to free her as part of New York’s abolition of slavery, she escaped to freedom with her infant daughter. She described this act by saying: “I did not run away, I walked away by daylight.” When Truth heard that one of the sons she had had to leave behind was illegally sold to a slave plantation in Alabama, she successfully sued her former master, becoming one of the first African American women to win a case against a white man. Her son was freed and returned to her.

In 1843, Truth become a Methodist, taking the name we know her by today and beginning her life-long involvement with religious seekers, utopian communities, the abolitionist movement, and women’s right’s supporters.

In the 1840s, she also began her career as a powerful public speaker. At an 1844 religious revival meeting in Northampton, Massachusetts, she overcame her own fear of a wild mob by singing to quiet the rabble rousers and give courage to the congregants. In 1851 at the Women’s Rights Convention held in Akron, Ohio, Truth delivered not only her most famous speech but also one of the most important of the abolitionist and women’s rights movements. Popularly known as the “Ain’t I a Woman” speech, this southern-sounding phrase was unlikely to reflect Truth’s real language and cadence, but the ideas are clearly hers:

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Truth never rested from working in support of those who were excluded from and abuse by the imperfect justice of existing institutions. Following the abolition of slavery, she worked to secure land grants for former slaves, and, continuing her recognition of the intersection of issues, some of her final work was around prison reform.

Her deep faith sustained her through her long life and undergirded the endurance she needed to do her work. As death neared, it is reported that she said: “I am not going to die, I’m going home like a shooting star.”

Truth shows us the space of Justice as the public square of the convention hall, the church basement, and the streets filled with people speaking and marching and singing.

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If you would like to have your own encounter with the Pentimento Tarot’s Justice of Sojourner Truth join me – and Joanna Powell Colbert, too! – for the Serving Justice Moonthly Chat & Meditation on Tuesday, May 16th at 8:30pm ET in the USA. It will be recorded for later listening. Sign up to come onto the live call or receive the follow up link.
Apr
10
2017

Enconter with Raziel’s Hermit for Passover

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For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot

Chag Sameach (That’s Joyous Festival in Hebrew)! Happy Passover!

To honor Passover, the Jewish holiday celebrating the liberation from slavery made possible by God and through the leadership of Moses, I offer for your contemplation The Hermit of the Raziel Tarot.

Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush is the Raziel’s wisdom figure for the Hermit. Robert Place’s stunning artwork is accompanied by Rachel Pollack’s modern day midrash and musings woven from Jewish mysticism and folklore. Rachel concludes the Hermit section of the Raziel companion book by digging a little more deeply into the usual translation for YHVH as “I am that I am.” She writes:

Modern scholars suggest something even more radical for God’s answer. The suggestions I have seen are”I will be what I will be” and “I am becoming what I am becoming.” In a sense this moment does not just mark a turning point for Moses but also for God, who, seems to begin a process of evolution.

The Hermit card touches upon one of the great mystical truths, sometimes called “co-creation.” God alone cannot change the world, but must align with humans, who in turn need to accept the call, must be willing to say “I am here.” And even more, God, whom we call “the Infinite,” and “the Eternal,” God too cannot evolve, cannot “become what I am becoming,” without human participation.

As you contemplate the Raziel’s Hermit – perhaps with visio divina or by embodying the stance Moses takes in the card – you might stand like Moses with bare feet pressed to the earth and hearing a call for you to take on a great task that you don’t feel prepared for.

Make a connection; first, to the solid earth below your feet; then to the infinite sky above; and, finally, to what is growing in your life, in your spring-awakening world, your own burning bush. You may or may not have a name for what this is, but you are connected to something greater than yourself (in the Raziel this greater than is know both as YHVH and the Shekinah, the female aspect of YHVH).

With this connection made, put your doubts to the side – even if only temporarily – and in the place of your doubts find your own fire within sparking, your own inner Wise One speaking, your own power rising.

Let yourself feel suddenly surprised by the trust you have now in the support you will receive to answer the call. Find yourself saying “Yes.” Let yourself envision what you co-create with the Infinite, the Eternal, the Constantly Becoming.

The final invitation then is to take at least one step toward answering the call you hear – perhaps very clearly or more instinctually sensed – during these weeks of religious celebrations and the earth’s own answer to the call of spring.

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The Major Arcana of the Raziel Tarot is available in a beautiful boxed set with large cards that are excellent for contemplation. 

Apr
3
2017

Faces and Spaces of Justice: Balance of the Minoan Tarot

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For Seekers – Justice – Practices for Soul & Spirit

In this moonth beginning on March 27th, we are traveling the path of the Emperor moving in visionary balance with the Queen of Wands. This combination invites us to connect with our power, but in its form of “power-with” which is described by the teacher and activist Starhawk as “influence among equals.” (Read more about on the Soul Shaping Path of the Emperor in my new moon news. Want to get the news right around the new moon each moonth? Be sure to sign up for my list on the left.)

Balance of the Minoan Tarot is the Face and Space of Justice we are contemplating to deepen our understanding of “power-with”

Art work left behind by the Minoan culture as a gift for us today is the direct inspiration of all the cards Ellen Lorenzi-Prince created for the Minoan Tarot. Ellen introduces this culture to us in the deck’s companion book:

The Bronze Age people of Crete did not exalt kingship, war, nor death, nor did they conceive a vast distance between Gods and humanity. Instead these people celebrated the presence of the Goddess, the beauty of the natural world, and their own sexuality and creativity.

Both God and Goddess were honored by the Minoans and were seen as inhabiting the earth, sea, and sky that surrounded the people. Female representations of the Divine outnumbered male. The beautiful artwork created by the Minoans celebrated the Divine and the natural world.

In the Minoan the face of Justice is the card of Balance in which acrobats perform. Ellen writes of the image:

In this image of Balance, effort is made to match strength to strength to create equilibrium. Adding weight to one side would collapse both, as would a moment of weakness or inattention from either of the acrobats. Body and mind must be balanced within each individual to maintain this awareness , and each must be as cognizant of the other as he is of himself. In Balance, no one thing is of greater worth than the dynamic process of creating harmony and stability among two. A Message from Balance: Value those who respect cooperation over acquisition.

This space of Justice exists in the intimate encounters of couples and through partnerships where each member offers respect and cooperation.

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If you would like to have your own encounter with the Minoan Tarot’s Justice of Balance join me for the Serving Justice Moonthly Chat & Meditation on Wednesday, April 5th at 8:30pm ET in the USA. It will be recorded for later listening. If you’d like more details or haven’t yet signed up for Justice call, please visit the Serving Justice page.

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