Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers


Persephone Rising at Equinoxtide


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

In mid February of 2016, I stood on the dike along a bend in the Connecticut River watching the ice floes come down from the north. First, there were just the sludgy, half-submerged chunks with their edges clicking together in the surface water. Then whole islands of white snow took their place and set a new pace for floating toward the sea. Finally, and faster now, continent after continent came round river bend with a deep slicing of ice in water, sounding that kind of roar that is both huge and nearly silent.

The sun had done its work on mountains and ice pack; winter was loosing its hold. The sun set salmon with the ice flowing toward sky’s streaks and a nearly full moon rose opposite in a still light blue sky.

I felt the seasonal shift in my cells. An image rose in my mind’s eye of the Greek Goddess Persephone climbing out of the Underworld to take her place on one of the ice floes and lead the parade toward spring time.

When Persephone’s story is told, we hear how the innocent girl Kore was picking flowers when the earth opened and out rode Hades to kidnap this beautiful maiden and make her his consort in the Underworld. The details of how brutal the abduction and Kore’s role in what happens vary depending on who tells the tale, but once in the Underworld stories align to show that the young girl transforms into the woman Persephone – meaning She Who Shines in the Dark – and she tends to the dead who dwell there with compassion. She steps into her role as Queen of the Dead.

On earth, the grief of Persephone’s mother the Goddess Demeter is so great that its ripples cause the plants and the crops of the earth to die. Worried that humanity soon would be wiped out, the other Gods convince Hades to let Persephone return to her mother. But before she goes Persephone eats some pomegranate seeds.

Demeter waits for Persephone at the edge of the Underworld and their reunion is ecstatic. Now ripples of joy bring life back to the earth. But because she has eaten the food of the Underworld, Persephone must return there for a period of time each year and while she is gone Demeter mourns again and life recedes.

Images of Persephone emerging from the Underworld show her as a beautiful young woman because, of course, she was – the first time -when she emerged. But on the day I stood on the banks of the Connecticut River, Persephone must have been making her multi-billionth trip out of the Underworld. The passage of time must have marked her. These reflections inspired my poem about Persephone emerging.

Fresh from Death

Necklaced still in
lais of the dead.
Dressed in dark mold
skirting with hair tangled:
her worms. Seeds
in her belly – unseen –
the only slip of color: red.
No longer young.
not now beautiful,
Persephone climbs
from the Underworld.

A crown of dirtied light
and each prong a plough
driven an eternity of times
through frozen earth to find
the roots where sap is siren
signing, “Come.” Bruised
arms and legs shake,
wake the ten thousand cells
to pull her through tree’s scar
shaped like an owl’s eye.

She emerges. A river
below her. Ice murmurs
the surface before sinking.
Banks weedy with last season’s
death: goldenrod stripped,
pods emptied, stalks broken
all along the tongueless way
of water flowing south.
She’ll make it her chariot,
find an island of white to ride.

Blackbird comes to rest
in the nest her crown has become,
Water laps her toes, her clothes
are dissolving. Where she is dirt
all of winter’s dark, the sounds
shook from the dead’s good-byes
surrender here in the bend
to river’s blueing blush, a rising
takes the banks, spreads itself
to slake the thirst of fields folded
now into her watery embrace.

Persephone from the Oracle of Initiation on a Wisdom Wander

The Persephone I encountered loves Life and fights her way back to its realm each year. But she also is touched by and opens her heart to the Dead and the dark mystery of the Underworld.

I imagine that she takes her annual leave with care, promising to come back in the Fall, and in return is given gifts to take into Life: seeds gestated in the dark to catalyze spring’s return; messages from the dead to bring Love into the lives of their beloveds above; and the ability to shape shift, releasing the muck and rot of the Underworld that clings to her so that it becomes the fertile soil of the new.

Persephone’s great power comes from her ability to live in and honor both Death and Life. She captures our attention once she has put on her springtime dress, but it is her ability to wear many garments – some bright, others decayed – that show her fullness of being.

She offers her power to us; invites us to meet our Persephone Self who is able to flow with both Life and Death. The Equinoxes, where seasons of extreme touch, are the prefect place to practice walking in and honoring both worlds. In fall Death seeps into the fullness of Life while in spring Life springs from the Death of winter and the dry stalks of the last harvest.

In these early days of spring here in the Northern hemisphere, we are invited to walk between the worlds. Religious celebrations such as Ostara, Passover, and Easter offer communal connections and ancient traditions to follow or adapt. And/or you may want to create some personal rituals to tune yourself to the wisdom of the season. Perhaps you will take a Wisdom Wander to observe how Life and Death are interconnected at this time of year. Or you might journal or draw Tarot/oracle cards to cultivate and draw forth your own insight on Persephone-inspired questions such as:

Taking Leave of Death:

  • What is ready to be left in the Underworld?
  • How do I take my leave of my beloved dead?
  • What gifts does Death give me to bring into Life?


  • What obstacles might I encounter in moving toward Life?
  • How do I move through them?
  • Who/what supports me as I climb?


  • What awaits me in Life?
  • How can I embrace it?
  • What can I make real?

This was originally published in my new moon e-news in 2016 and I am just now getting it on to the blog. Sign up for my enews to the right to be sure to get my latest offerings.


Solstice Seed at Equinox Reflection & Spread


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

The Equinox arrives March 20th. At this time of year, day and night stand equal inviting us to contemplate and connect with balances of light and dark, life and death, grief and joy. As we tend these opposites we may come to know how they each contain the other, and how they work together to bring forth the next cycle of our becoming.

The days around the Equinox are good times to check in with seeds you planted at the Solsticetide when light and dark reunited.

You can meet the seed’s unfolding with the assistance of the cool stillness of the night as well as the fiery passion of the day. The Moon Mother is passing responsibility off to the Sun Father, but not before she offers some advice of where not to rush yet. The Sun Father receives the emerging seed ready to impart his renewed vigor for forward movement. It’s a potent combination for emergence.

Your seed might be a dream, a project, a plan. Those of us who followed this year’s seasonal ritual of Descent and Return of the Light, drew a Tarot card(s) to represent a seed we would nurture all year. (If you didn’t draw a card at Solsticetide, it’s not too late. You could pick a card consciously to represent something you are moving toward or draw one by chance and start working with it now.)

Today I offer you a spread of questions to support your meeting of the seed. The questions can be used just for reflection or connected to pull of Tarot or oracle cards.

To begin, take out (or select) your Seed card(s) and place it at center.

To receive the wisdom of the Moon ask/draw cards for:

  • What have I completed around the tending of the Seed?
  • Where should I remain still around the tending of the Seed?

To receive the wisdom of the Sun, ask draw cards for:

  • What is ready to emerge from my Seed?
  • What action to take to support the Seed’s emergence?

Image Notes: You are looking at the beautiful backs of the Gaian Tarot and the Sun and Moon from the Burning Serpent Oracle. 


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, and as we shift into the return of the light, we invite a Solstice seed of the new to show its first shape to us.

Shining Tribe tarot ace of wands

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

You can do this on or after Solstice morning – New Year’s Day is a great day to do this – by pulling a Tarot 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.

No matter how 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.

If you want to give the Solstice seed a boost of attention (a rich fertalizer!), please join us for the Tending the Returning Light half of Descent and Return of the Light, which starts Monday, January 1.  Cost is just $22 and if you sign up Solstice week, you’ll get the last daily e-mails from Waiting with the Dark to guide you through this special week as a bit of a bonus.

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!


Waiting with the Dark: Dark Power


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

There is no end to death.

There is no end to birth.

And what has been lost, lives still in the dark,

waiting for its moment

waiting for its form

into which to be re-born.

These are the 2015 Guardians from the Dark Goddess Tarot who inspired my poem above


This third week of Waiting with the Dark begins with a quarter moon and ends with the dark moon on Sunday, the 17th. Yes, we are in the darkest time of the year.

Who are the guardians at your gateway to Solstice illumination?

Tarot and oracles helps to meet these guardians at the gateway, to learn their lessons and receive their support.

Pull a card to represent the first guardian who has a message for you of a lesson to learn necessary for your re-birth. Pull a second guardian card to represent a message of support being sent to you as you enter deep Dark.

This week we light four candles and blow two out, creating the gateway to Solstice through ritual. As you sit with your two candles lit, bring out your guardian cards.

Weave their messages together and cross under the archway of their wisdom into the longest nights in the week ahead.

You would like to receive more support and inspiration to travel through this darkest week? You can sign up today for Descent and Return of the Light, an e-retreat in everyday life that will guide you through release and renewal in the dark so you ready to tend the returning light after the Solstice. 


Waiting with the Dark: A Week with the Ancestors


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

“In the dark, every voice could be the voice of an ancestor or a spirit guide. In the darkness, who can tell the living from the dead?”
― Clark Strand, Waking Up to the Dark

The ancestors are our biological family, of course, but also those connected to us through choice, place, ideas, and traditions. Like the living, they are a mix of wise ones and trouble makers; sometimes all mixed in the same person.

These ancestors come with gifts to offer and as the days grow darker the way opens for rituals, meditations, and reflections that connect us to their wisdom.

In this week in our movement toward the Solstice, we light four candles, but then blow one out to create a doorway through the ancestors can pass to join us in the circle of light. We sit with them, receptive to the gifts they have to share.

You would like to receive more detailed prompts for connecting to the ancestors? You can sign up today for Descent and Return of the Light, an e-retreat in everyday life that will guide you through release and renewal in the dark so you ready to tend the returning light after the Solstice. 

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