Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers

Oct
31
2018

Soul Path Practices for Week of October 31: Moon – 8 of Air – Explorer of Fire

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For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot – Weekly Practice

When not observing the Solstice seasons or special lunar happenings, I pull Tarot cards weekly to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of this blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot. You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments. You are also free to draw your own cards using these positions.

PATH: Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question: What path would it best serve us to walk this week?  THE MOON invites us to walk this week on pathways of …

  • Honoring natural cycles, particularly those which the moon shows us of dark to new, from waxing to full, from wanning to back again to dark.  (MoonCircles is a favorite site of mine for moon cycle information).
  • Remembering that “one stage of life always succeeds another, and that a time of darkness is always followed by renewal” (quote from Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Tarot companion book). 
  • Tapping into a wild, dark, feminine mystery.
  • Tuning into the realms beyond through dreams, connecting with the ancestors, letting the natural world be your guide, or recognizing psychic messages.

PRACTICE: Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question: What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week? EIGHT OF AIR invites us to practices such as …

  • Storytelling; sitting with friends and/or family to tell stories that are important to each of you, that help you make meaning of your lives, or that simply delight.
  • Listening inwardly to all the different voices and ideas that surface.  Yes, it sometimes feels like there is a raucous committee meeting going on inside our heads! But you can align this group for forward movement or internal peace by letting each have its say.  You might give names to each of these different aspects of yourself and then listen in turn to what each of them would say in regard to an important matter before you.
  • Joining a support group specific to the need or change that you are going through.
  • Admitting that you are stuck that you don’t have all the answers and opening yourself up to receive support from others. You don’t have to do everything alone.

POSTURE: Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as: What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path? EXPLORER OF FIRE invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Flexibility and embracing the flow.
  • Openness to whatever comes. It’s not really that you are fearless; it’s that you feel the fear but harness that energy to do what you want.
  • Recognizing that you have great creativity and can use it move through life.
  • Acting on instinct developed from long practice.

OVERALL MUSINGS:  We are stuck. We are broken. We thought we knew where we were going, but now the way forward is uncertain – even dangerous. This week’s lunar path – coming amidst the holidays for remembering the dead  – directs us to mysterious places to find the support we seek.

To find this support our practice is inspired by Gaian Eight of Air which on the surface looks rather mundane: people gathered in circle outside on a sunny day. But there is a detail in the image that strikes me as odd and opens the door to mystery. The man in the hat is not really in the circle, but sits outside of it. Joanna Powell Colbert, creator of the Gaian Tarot, is a magician in creating circles of support where all are equally honored, where all take their place in the circle. So for her to have someone outside of the circle invites me to make meaning. Joanna doesn’t state this as her intention for this card, but I believe this figure on the outside represents the loving ancestors who watch us and support, especially when we tell the stories about the truths of our lives. You may notice that talking stick is decorated with a white feather and a dark feather, representing both the light and the dark of our lives. The loving ancestors can hear it all and send their healing through to us.

To follow this lunar path opening ourselves to the love and support of the ancestors, we can be like the Explorer of Fire who dances in the dark energized by the connection to a strong energetic flow. The loving ancestors shine a light for those who enter the dark to find them.

Over the past few weeks, I have been opening my heart to my beloved dead and the ancestors and feeling a powerful flow. This is energy to aid me personally. But also the loving, the wise, the ancient ancestors are the backup we need to face the crisis of our times that comes out of long history. I offer for your use the Heart-Centering Meditation for Connecting with the Ancestors that we have been using in the Persephone Descending series. May it serve you at this time when the veils between the worlds are open and as we here in the United States face a critical election. We should take all the help we can get!

Heart-Centering Meditation for Ancestor Connection

Turn your attention inward. Taking a meditative posture, closing your eyes, and tuning into the flow of your breath are common and helpful practices.

Bring your attention to the places where your body is connected to the earth through the surface that is supporting you. Feel/imagine the energy of the earth rising up through your body. Follow its movement from feet through legs, from the base of your spine through your belly and into your solar plexus. When the earth energy reaches your heart, let it pool there and sense how the earth energy expands your heart energy. Take some time making and basking in the connection of earth and heart energy.

Bring your attention above you. Feel / imagine the energy of the Above. Perhaps you visualize or sense in some way this energy as a glowing orb above you. Then from this orb, strands or sparkles of energy are flowing down to you. They are come to your crown and it is almost as if there is an opening there through which they enter. Perhaps they come in as colors of silver or gold or have a sound or special feeling. Imagine the energy flowing down through your head, through your throat, and into your heart. Let the energy pool there, mixing with your heart energy and the earth energy. Let it expand your heart even further. You sense or feel the expansion through tingling in this area of your body or through seeing green waves coming out through you.

Now the mixed energy of the Above, heart, and earth is rising up, passing through your throat, moving behind your eyes and forehead, stimulating that place known as the 3rd eye through which you can see beyond the surface of everyday things. This energy reaches the crown of you and flows out like a fountain spills out. You might imagine this energy spilling out of you as surrounding you with a spray of color. Perhaps the green and/or rose, the colors of the heart.

You take a few moments to bask in the feeling of being surrounded and protected by this loving energy.

Then you send your awareness out into the Beyond. With your imaginal senses, you are reaching out to and connecting with your Beloved Dead and your loving ancestors. You might imagine yourself traveling back through generations of ancestors to meet those far back ancestors who are radiant in the dark because of their love and wisdom. Take time to greet each one you perceive and give them “a long loving look.” Open yourself up to receive their love.

When it feels right, take your leave with words or a gesture of gratitude. With your imaginal senses, let yourself come back into your body. Bring your attention to your crown. Imagine a flower there and then perceived its petals closing like a flower closes itself up for the night. Know that you are sealing the energy into you to aid you in your waking life. Now bring your attention to the base of your spine and your feet. Imagine flowers there and then they close sealing the energy into your to aid you in walking forward on your soul path.

Bring your palms together in front of your heart. You can bow your head toward your palms and half open your eyes. Begin to move your palms over each other slowly at first and then faster. Open your eyes fully. Throw your hands up over your head and arrive back fully awake and alert.

 

Oct
22
2018

Soul Path Practices Week of October 22: Ace of Air – Eight of Fire – Guardian of Earth

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For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot – Weekly Practice

When not observing the Solstice seasons or special lunar happenings, I pull Tarot cards weekly to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of this blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot. You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments. You are also free to draw your own cards using these positions.

PATH: Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question: What path would it best serve us to walk this week? ACE OF AIR invites us to walk this week on pathways of …

  • Allowing the new to emerge in our lives and consciousnesses.
  • Connecting with and communicating possibility.
  • Creating space for deep soul work and celebrate a new level of Self emerging.
  • Reimagining our world and our place in it.

 

PRACTICE: Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question: What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week? EIGHT OF FIRE invites us to practices such as …

  • Listening within for the spark of inspiration—and then acting on it (Quick, rIght now: write some words you love to start a poem, grab a crayon and put color a page, burst into song)
  • Making a wish upon a shooting star with deep intention.
  • Marking off a day or a night or an afternoon to just tune into what gives you energy and follow those impulses
  • Taking a quick walk or even jog—just enough to get your energy going—and then pause and listen/feel what is sparking in your body
  • Watching for signs and omens about your projects and questions in the sky. Where do they lead you? Go there!

 

POSTURE: Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as: What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path? GUARDIAN OF EARTH invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Being very grounded in and attentive to the place where you live so that its power and gifts can flow through you.
  • Careful attention to the details of everyday life.
  • Honoring tradition and stability.
  • Knowing your power comes from tenderness.
  • Loving awareness of all that comes before you.

OVERALL MUSINGS:  Almost simultaneously I had two thoughts upon seeing the Ace of Air appear. Seeing an Ace here reminded me of last week’s encounter with The Magician; magic as our path continues this week with an invitation to locate our work in the realm of consciousness. And as I looked at the image, I was attracted to the leaves in the background and reminded that this is a Hawthorn tree, which has medicinal qualities for heart strengthening. Our magical work this week can be to bring the consciousness of the heart into the world more fully in the days to come. On a societal level this can seem daunting; so much public speech right now is full of fear and divisions. Or perhaps in your own life, your heart is battered. But the source for heart renewal is shown in the cards. Let yourself for 5 minutes, an hour, or an afternoon, get connected to the natural world and let yourself be captivate by and grateful for its tiniest elements, its smallest growth, its littlest creatures. Your heart and mind will be inspired. Let those waves of inspirational energy fill your own body and then spill out of you as you go about your day. The week’s path invites you to be a Guardian of Heart Consciousness letting your energetic arrows of Love fly out into the world.

 

As you may know, lots of my energy this moonth is directed intentionally toward the ancestors and beloved dead through the Persephone Descending with Letters for the Dead seriesthat we are in the midst of here at Soul Path Sanctuary. The overview first session with prompts for ritual and practice was recorded and is available for viewing. We continue through the November dark moon. You are invited to join us

Oct
15
2018

Soul Path Practices Week of Oct. 15: Magician – 7 of Fire – Explorer of Fire

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For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot – Weekly Practice

When not observing the Solstice seasons or special lunar happenings, I pull Tarot cards weekly to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of this blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards using these positions.

PATH: Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? THE MAGICIAN invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Bringing Spirit to Earth by being a messenger who moves between these realms.
  • Calling upon and weaving together all your capacities and skills – physical, intellectual, emotional, inspirational – as your create this week.
  • Connecting with the ancestors and those who have danced before you in the flow of life
  • Letting your light shine in the darkness.

 

PRACTICE: Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week?   SEVEN OF FIRE invites us to practices such as …

  • Creating something – bringing an inspiration into being and giving it form – and then pausing in the gifts of stillness that come in between the phases of action.
  • If you are engaged in a creative project, spend some time in the revision stage where you shape and trim and hone. Dedicate this work to your spiritual growth.
  • Pushing through toward a goal or commitment you made, no matter how difficult, knowing that the work serves a greater good.
  • Spending some time communing with or learning about a wisdom teacher such as the Viking god Thor or the Celtic goddess and saint Brigid. What quality or attitude of theirs could you adopt to persist in reaching your goals?

 

POSTURE: Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?   EXPLORER OF FIRE invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Openness to whatever comes. It’s not really that you are fearless; it’s that you feel the fear but harness that energy to do what you want.
  • Recognizing that you have great creativity and can use it move through life.
  • Stepping into your passion fully.
  • Acting on instinct developed from long practice.

OVERALL MUSINGS: We don’t make magic alone. We collaborate and create with magic, but we are not the sole source. To keep open the channels of magic, we practice. We repeat the same simple gestures, say the same prayers, sit in the same place, walk the same path – and have the persistence to continue even when we don’t feel the magic flowing or see our desired results. In this way we build the muscle of receptivity to the Beyond so when the conditions are right we are available to be a conduit.

The Gaian Tarot highlights the ancestors as a source of magic through the inclusion of ancient handprints on the cave wall shown in the image. As we move toward ancestor veneration days of Samhain, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, All Saints and All Soul Day, the loving ancestors are waiting to connect with us. We can respond to their availability through practice and ritual.

In these times when our challenges seem so daunting, our divides so deep, our usual ways of working are just not working. We need something different. Yes, we need magic. Calling upon the loving ancestors as guides and allies for magical shifting brings new power and perspective to our work of tending this world so we can pass something beautiful, just, and sustainable on to our descendants.

The message to honor the ancestor keeps coming up the oracular work I am doing for myself and others. I am attempting to respond. One of my responses is the Persephone Descending with Letters for the Dead series that we are in the midst of here at Soul Path Sanctuary. The overview first session with prompts for ritual and practice was recorded and is available for viewing. We continue through the November dark moon. You are invited to join us

Oct
1
2018

Soul Path Practices Week of October 1: Death – 7 of Earth – Explorer of Fire

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For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot – Weekly Practice

When not observing the Solstice seasons or special lunar happenings, I pull Tarot cards weekly to inspire practice that cultivates soul wisdom for readers of this blog as a group using the Gaian Tarot.  You are invited to use the cards below to inspire your practice, and, if you like, share your reflections in the comments.  You are also free to draw your own cards using these positions.

PATH:  Use Pile 1 / Majors and Aces to pull a card for the question:  What path would it best serve us to walk this week? DEATH invites us to walk this week on pathways of  …

  • Knowing that Life and Death are intertwined.
  • Recognizing that what dies is gone and can not come back in the same form.
  • Standing in awe of the Great Mystery of what lies beyond the living world.
  • Grieving that which is passing away as a doorway that must be passed through to enter the new.

 

PRACTICE:  Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question:  What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week? SEVEN OF EARTH  invites us to practices such as …

  • Bringing a contemplative, purposeful attitude to your planning for each day, the week, a season, or the year.  Think about how current actions will have long-term impacts. Using Tarot or oracle cards to prompt action taking or become representations of what you want to accomplish can make this work-in-the-world task feel more contemplative. Choose your actions based on how they will advance your longer-term vision.
  • Communing with a tree (This can be a simple as approaching the tree, asking its permission to connect, putting your hand on its bark, and just being with the tree. To offer gratitude, you can breathe on to the tree as they use the carbon dioxide we expel. What happens may surprise you.)
  • Repairing something (i.e. darn a sock in your house, pick up litter out in your neighborhood gather with others to stand for justice in the country where you live) and dedicating the task to to tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of repair of the world. 
  • Watch The Man Who Planted Trees for inspiration on how rebirth can follow desolation.

 

POSTURE:  Use Pile 3 / People cards for a question such as:  What attitudes and behaviors will be most helpful to undertake this practice and walk with path?   EXPLORER OF FIRE invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Flexibility and embracing the flow.
  • Openness to whatever comes. It’s not really that you are fearless; it’s that you feel the fear but harness that energy to do what you want.
  • Recognizing that you have great creativity and can use it move through life.
  • Stepping into your passion fully.

 

OVERALL MUSINGS:  I start most days with a long walk where I seek to connect myself with what is happening in the natural world through my senses and my imagination. This morning I was taking in the trees turning here in the New England fall. Burst of red can be seen along the path I walk, but most leaves are just slightly yellowing, some are mottled with brown and mustard hues. The summer wildflowers are just stalks now, dark browns and blacks, with darkened seed pods. I paused to look at the head of a no-longer-flower – it’s color gone but shape still present – and words popped into my mind: In the fall, death is illuminated. [When I returned to the house, I pulled cards for the week, and I promise I did pull the Death card by chance – or rather by synchronicity.]

This is the season in which the fullness of summer life recedes into the surrender of autumn leaves and shifting light. There is a loss – we may mourning the passing of the summer variety and exuberance – but there is also now space for something different to enter in. This week’s cards guide us to recognize what no longer serves us, let a spark of a new inspiration emerge into the cleared space,  and invite the new we want to bring into our lives through careful, long-term planning.

The fading of the green world’s energy also creates an open for our beloved dead and the presence of the ancestors to return to our awareness. Their form is emptiness now and our imaginations can be led to them by the emptying of the season. I have a practice of writing letters to the dead in the fall and you are invited to join me in the Persephone Descending with Letters for the Dead series that starts on the dark moon of Sunday, October 7th. Details below and questions most welcome.

Sep
24
2018

Persephone Descending Series 2018

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For Grievers – For Seekers – For Writers – Seasonal Observances

The seasonal shift from summer to fall is a potent time of year for remembering our beloved dead. In October the growth of the natural world recedes and absence becomes a presence. The first days of November bring Mexican Day of the Dead traditions, Catholic masses for All Saints and Soul Days, and secular commemorations on Veterans Day, which offer different ways to connect with those departed. At this time, we are called to keep up a loving flow between the living and the dead.  

In this tele/video-series, we will answer this call from our beloveds in the beyond – and send messages back to them.

We will connect in virtual circle from the October dark moon to the November dark moon to write love letters and gratitude notes (not a metaphor! our practice will be writing notes/letters!) to the recent dead and to our loving ancestors. This time is inspired by my experiences connecting with Persephone around the equinoxes since 2016.

A $18 offering gives you access to the live sessions, follow up recordings, and handouts. If you can’t make the scheduled session time, you can catch up by checking out the recording.

Session 1 – Sunday, October 7th at 4pm ET – Setting the Context, Creating the Container

This is primarily an information sharing session in which I will cover:

  • Persephone as my guide and message carrier for this practice
  • Love letters to our recent dead with prompts for writing these special missives
  • Connecting with the loving ancestors from generations past with a guided meditation

We will start and end the call with introductions and inspirations from the group gathered, but these will not be recorded.

“Writing Rooms” – Wednesday, October 31st at 9pm ET & Thursday, November 1 at 9am ET

Following a check in at the start of the hour, we will write our letters and notes together in supportive silence. We will end with words of gratitude. Drop in or leave at any time. These will not be recorded.

Session 2 – Tuesday, November 6th at 9pm ET

I will lead a guided meditation for the “mailing” of our letters and notes that will be recorded.

In an un-recorded part of the session, we will share about those we sending our missives to.

The Logistics

These sessions will be offered via conference call with an option to add a video component. I’m using Free Conference Call which international dial in numbers. Your regular rates apply for live calls. Links can be accessed through the internet.

After you register, I will send you the information for connecting at the appointed time.

You will get reminders ahead of each session as well as links for the recordings after they are complete.

Why am I doing this?

My partner John died in a car crash when he was 48 and I was 45. My beliefs about death were a flimsy paper cup, immediately ripped apart. But the practices I developed through working with Tarot, nature, and writing lead me through creative mourning to find in grief a “secret medicine for those who hurt too hard to hope” (to gratefully borrow Rumi’s words). The grief also had a hidden gift of inspiring work to connect with my ancestors. Writing letters to the dead is one of the practices that I have found healing and connective. I want to share it with you, if it can be of help in your grief or ancestor work. 

The quickest way to sign up is to send the $18 offering through Pay Pal, but you can also send a check to Carolyn Cushing, 1 Cottage St., Box 33, Easthampton, MA. Send me an email to alert me the check is coming and I will put you on the list. 

 

 

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