Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers


Dark Moon Release with Spider Woman as Guide


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit

Before the moon is made new on March 6th at 11:04am ET in the USA, it returns to the place on the astrological Wheel where it began its moonthly journey. The energy gathered through the moonth now flows away into moonless nights. What will you send with this energy to be transformed in the dark?

The moonth we are concluding began and now ends in Aquarius which corresponds to the Tarot’s Star card. In the Dark Goddess Tarot The Star is Spider Woman, the Hopi Goddess of Thought and Creation (XVII, Stars). Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, creator of the Dark Goddess Tarot, description of Her includes:

She creates the stars to shine upon her people in the darkest night. She arranges the constellations to show her people there is meaning in creation. A single star in the sky may appear a small thing, but be significant in relation to another, through the patterns they make together, and in the feelings the expanse of a starry night evokes.

Spider Woman reminds us that we are connected to each other, to the earth, to the sky, to the Whole – and invites us to release all that separates us from flowing with this connection. The 48 – 24 hours before the March 6th new moon’s arrival is the optimal time for engaging in reflection and ritual to make this release.


Take a sheet or paper or open up your journal and make a place for 2 lists:

Times I felt connected to something greater ~ Times I felt disconnected

Now look back on the happenings of the moonth that began on February 4th. If you journal, you’ll have a handy record, but even just looking back at your appointment calendar can jog your mind about what’s been going on in the past few weeks. Make entries on each list.

If you need help making entries on your list, you can always turn over Tarot and oracle cards to show you images to inspire entries.

When your lists are complete, let yourself be for a while with the connections you have found and how they have enriched your life. You might reflect on what made them possible – and think about how to keep building that into your life. You might offer gratitude to others, the Divine, and/or yourself for making these connections possible. You might finish with creating a small art work, writing a poem, or saying a closing prayer.

Then you can turn to your list of disconnections. What will you do with these broken and fragment parts of your life? Maybe some need further reflection to better understand what wisdom they are trying to offer you. Maybe some are so clear and now you can let this part of you know that it can rest and no longer work in your life this way. Maybe some stir up strong feelings and you should walk or box or scream with them.

After you have spent a while with your disconnections, identify which ones you want to release into the dark moon time to be dissolved and transformed.

Dark Moon Ritual

Inspired by The Stars’ focus on consciousness and creation, an internal meditative process would be appropriate.

Find a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes. Take some time to tune into your body and your breath. Feel how you are supported by the earth through a chair or the floor you sit on. Imagine stars above you and their light flowing down to you to connect you to the cosmos. Remember your connections. You might imagine that they are a circle of pulsating energy that supports you and that ripples out, connecting you to the Whole.

Now you might call to mind individually each of the disconnections you wish to release. They might rise up in your mind’s eye as a shape, symbol, or even a Tarot/oracle image. Let it float in front of you and when you are ready circle your lips and blow toward the image and watch it float away. Your breath might match the intensity of work to release. Some might be gentle, others fierce.

When your disconnections are gone, let yourself be under a clear starry sky on a dark moon night and bask in your connection to their luminous light.

Source Note: The reflection is inspired by my encounters with Ignatian Spirituality and the practice of doing an examen to name consolations and desolations each day and look for a pattern. I have borrowed the form and made it more general rather than specifically Christian.

Want to know more about the next moon coming? Be sure to be on my e-news list the receive my new moon news.


The Poetry Oracle – Call for Submissions


For Writers – Poetry

Writers from, or with a connection to, Easthampton, MA and the Pioneer Valley are invited to submit 1 short poem on the theme of Possibility to be included in the Poetry Oracle as part of the Art of the Word show at Local Gallery in Easthampton, which will open on Saturday, April 13th from 5pm to 9pm to coincide with the city-wide Book Fest.

Poems of all types are welcome: free verse, poems in forms, prose poems, song lyrics, translations, bilingual poems. Unpublished and published poems welcome. The only limitation is length and a specific submission format; see below for details. April 5 deadline.

What is the Poetry Oracle?  An interactive piece that helps people see how poetry can be helpful and inspiring in living their everyday lives. The Poetry Oracle will be part of the Art of the Word show that runs from April 13 to May 5. The collected poems will be held is a container with a sign saying:

From The Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
  • Pause and think of a question. If one doesn’t come to mind, you can always use: What’s most important to pay attention to now?
  • Close your eyes, reach into the box, and let your fingers find a poem.
  • Read the poem and consider how it is a response to your question.
  • Remember poetry “tells all the truth but tells it slant” so your answer may arrive in an indirect manner from or at some point after reading the poem.
  • The poem is yours to keep.

Poems must be submitted in the following format. Any poems that do not follow the format will not be included:

  • Use the theme of Possibility as broad guidance for the content of your poem. You don’t need to shy away from difficult topics, but you do want to leave the reader with a sense of possibility to guide them in answering their question.
  • Submit 2 copies of your poem, both on an approxiately 5.5” x 8.5” piece of cardstock of any color. (Yes, that is one sheet of 8.5” x 11” / standard piece of cardstock cut in half).
  • Print your poem in no smaller than 12pt font on the front of the cardstock. (Orient to vertical or horizontal depending on what best suits your poem).
  • On the back of the card include your name and where people can find more of your work (books, websites, blogs, ect.). Optional to include contact information and/or a short bio.
  • Send with a cover sheet that includes your name, address, email, telephone number, and the poem printed out.

By April 1, mail your poem to Carolyn Cushing, 143 Main St., Easthampton, MA 01027 or deliver in person to Local Gallery, 40 Cottage St., Easthampton, MA.

Poems will not be returned. One copy will taken home by the person who pulled your poem in answer to their question.  The second poem will be part of a set that is sold with proceeds going to Local Gallery to support their work in creating the show.

You don’t have to present on April 13th to participate and there will be other events at Local Gallery through April and the start of May. Details on those will be posted here as soon as they are announced.

I welcome your questions via comment here on the site or you can send an e-mail to [email protected] name of this website.

If you want to know about future Soul Path Sanctuary offerings for seekers, creatives, and writers, sign up for my moonthly e-news.


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. You may want to create personal rituals to atune yourself to the wisdom of Death flowing into Life at this time of year.

[Note: On Tuesday, the 19th/Equinox Eve around 8:30pm I will be doing a Facebook event on the Soul Path Sanctuary page to share and elaborate on these ideas. Join me live or check out the video posted afterward. Liking the page can help you get alerts about such happenings.]


Soul Path Practices for Week of Feb 25: Moon – 10 of Water – Child of Water


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

When not observing the Solstice seasons or 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).
  • 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.
  • Exploring the power of the number eight (from the eight phases of the moon) and its suggestion of the infinite, renewing cycles of life, of the soul.

PRACTICE: Use Pile 2 / numbered cards for this question: What practice(s) will best serve us to move along this path this week? 10 OF WATER invites us to practices such as …

  • Contemplate the life cycle of the salmon, where adults return to the freshwater from which they were born to spawn the next generation after which they die and their decomposing bodies become fertilizer.
  • Do a simple ritual where you symbolic release an emotional burden into a stream or river near your home
  • Remember and honor water as the source of life with a simple gesture or internal word of thanks for a day – for 10 days, if you can! – every time you take a sip of water or bathe or swim.
  • Go swimming with a specific intention such as to serve personal or collective emotional healing.
  • Use crayons or markers to get you into a child-like/fool-like state and draw or doodle a picture of the new that will come when you release the old. Let your emotions and intuition guide you. Don’t start out with a plan. Let yourself be surprised.
  • Weep for sorrow, for joy, for how they are mixed together. Set the intention of having these be cleansing tears that help you move into a new beginning.

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? THE CHILD OF WATER invites you to follow your path and practices with attitudes of ….

  • Happiness
  • Grace and ease
  • Daring to stand at the edge of vast mystery – because you don’t know you should fear such places – because you feel you are always protected.
  • Moving from a place of open-heartedness to encounter the world.

OVERALL:  How to encapsulate a week filled with so much water, so much mystery, and the mixing of death and birth? It’s too enormous for plain words and so I turn to poetry.

The end of regret by Carolyn Cushing

When you listen to the moon

at year’s end, you hear

voices of the dead losing

the world’s words one by one:

lawn chair




They don’t need those things now.

The rooms they lived in are emptying,

every day memories unmoored. In the drift,

they forget you were late. Or left early.

Forgot that date. Didn’t say.

Your said and unsaid then, don’t matter now.

Only the listening to what they still know:












February has me cycling back to a renewed depth of connection to my poetry and inspired to find ways to share poetry with others. I’m preparing to put some of my words on the wall at Local Gallery’s Art of the Word Show and I’m coordinating the creation of a Poetry Oracle at the show. If you are a writer with a connection to Easthampton and the Pioneer Valley check out my call to submit to the Poetry Oracle.


Full Moon Revelation: The Hermit holds the Star


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit

The height of this moonth cycle comes on the February 19th full moon, and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated by The Star on February 4th on are developing within us. Out of the revelation, we are issued an invitation to return a gift to the world in the final weeks of the lunar cycle.  

This full moon comes in the sign associated with the Tarot’s Hermit, a wisdom figure who withdraws from the human world to receive the guidance of the Greater Than. He then gathers that guidance into a form that can be shared with others. This sharing is commonly symbolized as a lantern containing a glowing star.

With the Hermit as our mentor, our encounter with The Star this moonth can ignite within us a message, a teaching, an artwork, a sending that we can offer to others.  

To mark the full moon and gather its wisdom, you might do one or combine all of these practices on nights around February 19th:

  • Take out any reading or your reflections from the new moon and look at them in a new light. How does your understanding of the cards shift now that time has passed and light has shifted? (If you haven’t done a reading yet, no problem, just do it now under the light of the full moon. You can try this one.
  • Bring out a Hermit card from a Tarot deck and connect it to your new moon reading / reflections. Make this card the start and/or the end of the sequence and adds its meaning into the story the cards are telling.
  • Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light.
  • Before sleeping ask for a dream that gives you a greater understanding of how you are already, and can best continue, attuning to the energies of the moonth.

When you are done, remember to offer gratitude for what you have received. Consider what gift you now want to return to the world. Pulling a card for guidance on what this gift is always a fine thing to do. In the coming weeks and before the moon returns to dark around March 5th offer your gift to the world.

Note on the image: From HollyVoley’s 1909 Rider deck as shared on The Rider Waite Smith deck is published today by U.S. Games.

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