Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers


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. 


Descent and Return of the Light: We Begin in the Dark


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

“Though you live and work in the light, you were conceived and shaped in darkness. Darkness is one of our closest companions. It can never really surprise us; something within us knows the darkness more deeply that it knows the light. The dark is older than the light. In the beginning was the darkness. The first light was born out of the dark.”
Celtic poet and philosopher John O’Donohue 

Today begins the first half of the 2017 Winter Solstice-hinged e-retreat and ritual: Waiting with the Dark.

Themes stay the same each year as we do this waiting – cultivating gratitude, connecting with the ancestors, opening to dark nurture, releasing what we don’t need to carry into the next year – because the Sun is consistent in its movements. But the Moon varies, and the shifting dance of Sun and Moon give a different quality to each year. Our 2017 season will be guided by a new moon arriving right before the Winter Solstice so that Sun and Moon will gather light together. So the deep release invited by Waiting in the Dark will have extra celestial support to move you into the re-birth of the light in the coming year.

As we begin, you are invited to set an intention for this time of seasonal tending. Feel free to pull a Tarot/oracle card or connect with another wisdom form (perhaps pick a line of a poem or go for a walk and notice what animal or plant you first see) to inspire you in this intention setting. Record your intention in some way so you can be reminded of it, but hold it lightly. Let it be a guide not an enclosure.

You would like to continue Waiting with the Dark so you are ready to Tend the Returning Light in January? You can sign up today for the e-retreat in everyday life that will guide you through these themes with prompts for reflection and ritual, release and renewal.


Threshold of the Dark Mini-Retreat


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

yellow leaves dark branchesEach season offers different gifts and challenges, flows with its own rhythm and mystery.  When we tune our awareness to the offerings and energy of the season, we can better receive its wisdom and be supported in our spiritual devotions, divinatory seeking, and/or creative vocations.

The turning from October to November is a threshold time in many traditions. In the Celtic tradition, both from its earth-honoring origins and later Celtic Christianity, these days were a time to prepare for the coming dark, gather in circle to share stories, and remember the ancestors.

In this mini-retreat day on Saturday, October 28th, we follow in the footsteps of tradition and do our own listening to the land at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, MA to find the wisdom that speaks to our hearts and souls at this time.

In our time together, we will:

  • Greet each other and the season.
  • Find focus and inspiration for the day’s exploring. Yes, we’ll use Tarot and oracle cards for inspiration!
  • Talk a Wisdom Wander. No matter the weather, there will be an invitation to connect with the land and creatures at Arcadia in some way.
  • Have time for journaling, drawing, doodling or just sitting.
  • Eat a simple lunch highlighting local vegetables and fruits (vegan and gluten-free friendly).
  • Create a Threshold of the Dark Altar and remember our beloved dead.
  • Conclude with a Wisdom of the Season Sharing Circle.

This will be an intimate gathering. Only 13 slots available.

You are invited to bring any, all, or none of these things:

  • Clothing appropriate to the weather and shoes for walking around on well-laid out trails. (OK, clothing is a requirement at this time of year. Not really optional!)
  • A journal, drawing pad, piece of paper, pen, and/or colored pencils.
  • A Tarot or oracle deck.  If you don’t have one, there will be decks for sharing for use at the retreat.
  • A picture of a loved one who has died to place on the Threshold of the Dark Altar.
  • An object that represents the Threshold of the Dark time to you to place on the altar.
  • A camera for contemplative photo receiving.


  • To be held 10am to 4:30pm at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, MA on Saturday, October 28th.
  • Fee is $85. Pre-registration required by Tuesday, October 24th so we can plan how much food to make.

Payment options:

Pay with credit card/use PayPal.  

Or send a check to Carolyn Cushing, 1 Cottage St., Box 33, Easthampton, MA 01027. Good idea to send me an e-mail if sending a check so I can hold a slot for you.

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