Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers


Tending Week 3: Emergence


For Seekers – Seasonal Observances

Welcome to Tending the Returning Light, the second half of our Solstice-hinged ritual and retreat-in-everyday life. To join in the ritual, you may want to find a Solstice Seed of the New (don’t worry selecting this Seed any time after the Solstice). You can join the ritual in progress this week or catch up on previous week’s theme of What Can Be Born from Our Broken Parts and Root and Reach

 The Solstice Seed emerges. After root and reach, the Seed takes form and moves out into the world. Now this Seed is both of you and beyond you, being born of your release and renewal, but responding with its own unfolding to take its place in the Whole of All Things.

To live, the Seed must change. For you to gain the gift of the Seed, you must be open to this change. A dynamic relationship between you and the Seed is required. You must tend it with the energy fed by your original longings, but also allow the Seed to grow where the light is shining. The light may call you both to surprising places if you would follow its path of fullness and shadow, if you would listen with the ears of your heart, if you would close your eyes like Justice to take a lesson from the wisdom within.

The Minoan Tarot’s Chariot is a beautiful teacher about how to flow in a cooperative movement of Self and Seed.  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.


The griffins of Earth and Heaven show last week’s work of the Seed’s root and reach. The single rein the Goddess holds is the focused connection of Her longing; this will help to set a direction.

But I see only one rein of conscious control in this image.

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 their griffins might want to go. The heart rein is open to the journey as it unfolds. A heart rein invites new revelations.

So in this third week of Tending the Light, we ponder a trinity of questions. We might want to do this exploring as we light three candles in an evening ritual or as we spend a few minutes in observations of the sunset’s movement through the week. The questions to ponder might be these (or modifications you make out of your own seeking):

  • Where to be active in the shaping of the Seed’s emergence?
  • How to stay open to surprising revelations of the Seed?
  • What is the message coming from my heart in this time of emergence?

Yes, take some time to tend to your heart this week. Perhaps you might find or create a poem or prayer that directs attention, support, or guidance to your heart. I’d love to hear yours. I’ll close with mine:

In the lengthening of day,

in the light of moon and shift of seasons,

in the imperishable stars that burn behind clouds,

may we meet the immensity of our hearts,

open to the rivers that flow through its chambers –

of happiness and sorrow,

of anger and compassion

of grief and joy –

and rest then wiser

in the heart’s source

that is Abundant Love,

Renewing Love,

Simply Love.

Blessed Be.


We conclude the seasonal ritual next week with the theme of Follow the Heart’s Light. Look for that post next Monday. 


Tending Week 2: Root and Reach


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

Welcome to Tending the Returning Light, the second half of our Solstice-hinged ritual and retreat-in-everyday life. To join in the ritual, you may want to find a Solstice Seed of the New (don’t worry selecting this Seed any time after the Solstice). You can join the ritual in progress this week or catch up on last week’s theme of What Can Be Born from Our Broken Parts. Next Monday you can look for a post on the theme of Emergence.

The Solstice Seed of the New bursts the constraints of its casing. The potential of the elemental seed breaks apart, leaves the protective cocoon in response to the promise of growing light. In the natural world here in the Northern Hemisphere, the twilight lingers a bit longer and glimpsing even this small increase lifts our spirits when we pause to note this subtle change. Demetra George in Mysteries of the Dark Moon calls this period Light Ascending when “the symbolic seed establishes its root and stem structure.”

Our seeds must root and reach.

The work of the seed to establish itself is two-fold and divergent. The seed – and our vision of it grown and mature – must reach toward the heights and our soul’s greater aspirations, but to do that the seed must be rooted in a soil that gives it support from which to grow.  The Visionary (Major Arcana IX) of Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s newest deck, The Minoan Tarot, expresses this balance beautifully in words and image:

The Visionary watches for souls. She sees where they live and where they go. She can send her sight to travel with them. Souls have a brightness that draws her to them. She seeks to discover their origins and destinations, their meaning and purpose, in this world and beyond. The Visionary does not lose herself, but remains grounded through her affinity with the stone. She brings profound knowledge and inspiration down to Earth.


Soul tending working is, at its essence, about the acceptance and balancing of elements that may seem to be in opposition but exist as necessary complements to each other. Our dance with the tension between them is how we meet and move into our soul, that fullness of self that includes root and reach, body and spirit, and, as Celtic scholar and poet John O’Donohue points us to, belonging and longing.

In Eternal Echoes, O’Donohue writes, “The hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature,” and it is the natural world that is one of our greatest teachers about how to belong. The rhythm of the natural world with its stable stones, planted trees, and returning tides instruct us in what it means to belong. “The art of belonging is the recovery of the wisdom of rhythm.”

And within this belonging is the beginning of longing; to hunger is to long. O’Donohue talks about the small voice that calls you to quest: “It is the voice of the eternal longing within you, and it confirms you as a relentless pilgrim on the earth. There is something within you that no one or nothing else in the world is able to meet or satisfy. … This eternal longing will always insist on some door remaining open. … When you befriend this longing, it will keep you awake and alert to why you are here on earth.”

So in this second week of Tending the Returning Light, you are invited to light two candles in the moments when day and night meet. See if you can sense the extra minute of daylight each day. What does it take to tune your awareness to this subtle shift? Now bring your heightened awareness to the Seed you’ve been tending since Solstice. What is happening in the life of this seed in the lengthening light?

You might think of one candle as the Candle of Root, of the Body, of Belonging. You could meditate upon its light and draw Tarot/oracle cards as prompts for insight into questions such as:

  • What grounding roots does this Seed need to grow?
  • How does this Seed root me more deeply in my values … my body … my landscape … the earth?
  • What is the earth dreaming in me through this Seed?
  • What does this Seed need to belong in my life?
  • What does this Seed teach me about the necessity of belonging?

You might think of the other candle as the Candle of Reach, of Spirit, of Longing. You could meditate upon its light and draw Tarot/oracle cards as prompts for insights into questions such as:

  • What is the Seed inviting me to reach for?
  • What is the message of Spirit coming to me through this Seed?
  • What is the Eternal dreaming in me through this Seed?
  • What longing does this Seed awaken in me?
  • How does this Seed keep me awake and alert to why I am here on the earth?

May your exploring be fruitful with both insight and mystery!




Tending the Returning Light Week One: What Can Be Born of Our Broken Parts


For Seekers – From Art of Change Tarot – Seasonal Observances

Welcome to Tending the Returning Light, the second half of our Solstice-hinged ritual and retreat-in-everyday life. To join in the ritual, you may want to find a Solstice Seed of the New (don’t worry selecting this Seed any time after the Solstice is just fine and New Year’s Day is a great time for doing so). In the weeks to come, we will will be meeting the Seed and gaining guidance for manifesting its gifts throughout the coming year. I’ll be doing weekly posts, but if you’d like more support your can join the e-retreat which is delivered via daily e-mails that break the weeks’ themes into daily reflections, a weekly tele/audio session with a guided meditation, and an Overview Booklet. 

In December we embraced the darkness, released the no-longer-needed into its dark nurture, and imagined the seed of the new planted in the compost of what we’d released. Then we gathered in holidays celebrations filled with sparkle and fire. Lit candles at tables of feasting. Circled bonfires sending a river of sparks up to find the sun. We exuberantly invited new light into our lives.

But January’s nights are still long. The light is as slim as the crescent moon, as small as the pin prick shine of distant stars. To tend this light is an act of hope and faithfulness. We might take the Spider Woman who spins her web on the Dark Goddess Tarot’s Star card as a guide. Ellen Lorenzi Prince-Prince writes of the power and wisdom of this Hopi Goddess of Thought and Creation in her Dark Goddess Companion book:

In the darkness in the beginning of time, Spider Woman is told she is too small and weak to help, yet through intelligence, persistence, and belief, she travels to and returns safely from the Lake of Fire. She succeeds in brining light and warmth into the world where more imposing animals try and fail. In another tale, she keeps the rising sky from leaving the world entirely by spinning web lines day and night to tie heaven to earth and preserve her creation.


Spider Woman

Heaven sends its light to earth, and the Seed we planted at Solstice, so small itself, feels the quiet invitation: “Come, Emerge. Begin.”

Your seed is responding to what Demetra George, author of Mysteries of the Dark Moon, calls Light Quickening, which is the Crescent phase of the moon’s cycle and corresponds to January and the post-holiday season in the solar cycle. In Mysteries of the Dark Moon, she writes, “The symbolic seed breaks out of its seed casing and pushes it first shoots above ground.”

How we break is how we grow.

The urge to present ourselves as images of perfection, achievement, and control are reinforced by deep roots (the Puritan belief that being bound for heaven could be seen in success while living, for example) and surface reflections (commercials around the holidays, for example, or pretty much any time), but the truth is we are imperfect and constantly breaking. We lose jobs, love, and money. Forces beyond our control buffet us. Things don’t turn out as planed and we are disappointed.

When this breaking happens, the forces of perfection tempt us to turn on ourselves and others with criticism, doubt, shame, or just trying to escape. But in this place of Light Quickening guided by Spider Woman, we are invited to a more gentle approach, one that cultivates qualities such authenticity, self-compassion, and joy. These are some of the qualities that researcher and writer Brene Brown explores in The Gifts of Imperfection. She defines them drawing from her research on shame, vulnerability, and wholehearted living:

  • Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.
  • Self-compassion includes being kind to oneself; recognizing that suffering and feeling inadequate are shared by all humanity; and mindfully paying attention to all our emotions but not over-identifying with them either.
  • Joy, which comes from the Greek word chairo meaning “culmination of being,” flows to us when our hearts open to connect to Spirit and gratitude, both when we are happy and when we are challenged.

When our lives – and our seeds – break and are met with authenticity rather than shame, with self-compassion rather than self-criticism, and with joy rather a closed-down heart, then we grow. We are still broken, but we grow.


In this first week of Tending the Returning Light, you are invited to gather the elements of a candle wreath / ritual focal point, including four candles to represent the light and something like a bowl of dark water to represent the dark in the light. (More details on the ritual and its elements are available in the Overview Booklet.)

As many nights as you are inspired or able to this week, light the first candle to representing light growing in the season as well as your emerging Seed. Surround your Seed with Tarot or oracle cards pulled to show you what is most important to pay attention to to grow authenticity, self-compassion, and joy in your life.

Tend the returning light, wait for its emergence. Know we are all held in a web of connection. When one of us grows, the whole web expands.

The seasonal ritual continues next week with the theme of Root and Reach. Follow along on the blog or join the e-retreat.


Solstice Seed of the New

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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. Now we shift into Tending the Returning Light with the arrival of the Solstice (December 21) followed quickly by the full moon (December 22). Out of this confluence of 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 by pulling 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. This year’s line up of celestial events makes the full moon day on the 22nd a good day to meet your Seed, or you can add some ritual into your New Year’s celebrations by connecting with the Seed of the New then. Just tune into what feels right to you to do your Seed selecting.

Your Seed image needs to inspire you. If you 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 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, 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 runs from December 31st to January 28th. Offered via daily e-mails, weekly tele/audio circles, and a private Facebook group, 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 2019.

Registration is now open


Waiting with the Dark Week 4: Release and Renew


For Seekers – From Art of Change Tarot – Seasonal Observances

This is the fourth week of a the season-long ritual, Descent and Return of the Light, that takes the Winter Solstice – arriving on Friday! as its hinge. Our work this week is prepare for the Solstice by making sure you have released what you do not want to bring into the next circuit of the solar year. Those following the daily emails on the e-retreat have already completed a cycle of release and renewal, but Solstice week is a fine time to follow the prompts below for release and renewal. 

Why fear ye the Dark Queen, oh men?

She is your renewer.

Dion Fortune 

We arrive at the darkest time of the year. In Demetra George’s Mysteries of the Dark Moon, these short days of the solar year mirrors the dark moon time of the lunar cycle. We can follow the moon literally in its moon-thly permutations and also adapt its lessons and rituals to other times when the same energy is needed.  These days just before the Solstice are a good time to cultivate the dark moon’s gifts of release and re-birth. This work then invites the Solstice Seed of the New to emerge in your life as the Light returns anew.

I see the work of release and re-birth in the moon-thly cycle as flowing in four (not cleanly linear) phases:

DeathRELEASE – Recognize Death: Loss is a presence in our lives.  We make plans and they are not realized. We lose jobs and favorite jewelry. Our bodies change as we age. Physical death claims our loved ones. To ignore loss requires a barricade of psychic energy be built between us and reality. Maintaining the barricades drains energy away from the movement toward new life. The first phase of renewal is to dare to acknowledge what is dead in your life, what is unrealized, what you want to or must release.


water05RENEW – Honor Grief, Practice Purification: The feelings and changed realities that flow from the encounter with Death call to be honored. Let your tears flow. Scream out into the dark night. Burn what no longer serves. Bury broken bits in the earth. No need to think too much about what to do. Rather be led by your emotions and instincts. The dark of the night helps you follow your wild nature to truly encounter death. (Of course, do this safely. We’ll ask for spiritual support to travel with us in our ritual. If you think you also need physical support, ask a friend to be with you or do your ritual with a group.)


Nut DGTREST – Let the New Gestate: You have worked hard and now rest is your reward. It is easy to ignore this phase in our busy world, but it holds the purpose of the whole process as well as its greatest gift. This is where new life emerges. The Death experience and your grief rituals are compost for a new seed to be planted in the womb of the new moon dark.


Lady of the LakeWISH – Communion with the Seed: Sit with your Solstice Seed of the New to come to know it. Yes, it comes from you, but it is born of a mysterious process that opens up new potential. The seed may want to reveal new gifts, dreams, desires, or directions to you. Delight in finding them. Let yourself wish for how you would like to see this seed grow.



Tarot Preparation 

You can use phases above for reflection without use of cards, but I have found the Tarot helpful for connecting with that which is Greater Than to be guided through this dark moon time. There are no limits to what this Greater than might be. The Dark Goddess Tarot is, of course, a wonderful source for connecting with the Divine Feminine (and the source of the images above).You can pull by chance or choice a Goddess to be with you in the Dark. If you are not using the Dark Goddess Tarot (or one with Divine figures on all 78 cards), then I suggest that you pull a card from the Major Arcana.


This ritual time brings us from the last days of Waiting with the Dark into the celebration of the Solstice.

Start of the Week (Monday):  Light one candle and invite one Guide / Dark Goddess to lead you through this week.  Spend some time making your requests for help and support from your Guide.

The Days Before the Solstice (Tuesday – Thursday): You light no candles but let the Dark and your Guide help you through release and renewal (as described above).  Depending on your schedule you may want to give a theme such as Release or Renewal to each day.

On the Solstice (Friday): Let yourself rest. Go out and play with others. Light as many candles as you wish. Attend a bonfire. Quiet yourself and make your first connection to the Solstice Seed of the New. Don’t do too much meaning making around the Seed on this day, just admire it and let it enter your heart.

A Day or Two After the Solstice (Saturday – Sunday): Keep lighting candles and basking in their light. Spend time with your Seed and meet its invitations, challenges, and gifts. Make your wishes for the coming season of the Light’s return or for the year. Write them down for later review and reflection. Keep your Seed card out where you can see it through the end of the year, and be open to new messages emerging

Things you might like to know ….

  • Yes, the images are from the Dark Goddess Tarot: Death-La Santa Muerte; Renewal – La Llorona; Rest – Nut; and Wish – Lady of the Lake.
  • The opening quote is from Demetra George’s Mysteries of the Dark Moon.

Enjoy your winter celebrations! The Descent and Return of the Light seasonal ritual will continue in January with Tending the Returning Light. We’ll be adding more candles each week in our ritual to call back the light. Registration will open for that on December 26th.

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