Soul Path Sanctuary

Supporting seekers in creating personal practice & tending to their unique needs

Descent and Return of the Light

A ritual observation of the season
to return a soulful approach
to the holidays & support shape shifting into the new year.


You are invited to join fellow seekers in Carolyn Cushing’s virtual Soul Path Sanctuary for guidance to move through a seasonally-aligned ritual beginning Monday, November 25th.



This soul-tending time supports tuning into and moving from your fullest self to cultivate:

  • renewing Love
  • inspired vision
  • purposeful action
  • connection to the Greater Whole

The elements of Descent and Return of the Light are:

  • Prompts for rituals to do in your own home with candles and cards as we move toward and then out from the Winter Solstice
  • Inspiration from the Tarot’s and nature’s wisdom images
  • Invitations to find the gifts in both the light and the dark
  • An overall flow to the ritual that moves you meaningfully through a change-making / soul-tending process of renewal

The ritual is delivered to you in multiple formats so you can participate in the way that works best for you, including one or all options:

  • An overview booklet so you can see the flow of the whole ritual
  • Eight weeks of daily e-mails to help you build a little ritual and seasonal awareness into each day.
  • Weekly tele/video sessions on Monday evenings at 8:30pm ET to explore the weekly themes,  offer guided meditations, and serve as a way to share with fellow seekers. Recordings that include theme info and meditations (but not group sharing) be available for those who can’t come on the live session.

All for only $47.

Details on Descent and Return of the Light

Simple steps bring us closer to living from our fullest selves – from our souls – and finding wisdom, solace, beauty, and joy in each day. But the fast-paced world around us doesn’t support our movement in these nurturing directions.

Descent and Return of the Light offers guidance through eight weekly rituals using candles and Tarot cards and includes daily e-mails offering inspirations of wisdom images and the mystic word to build a net of support for soulful living.

This Solstice-hinged ritual has two wings: Waiting with the Dark & Tending the Returning Light.


As the year enters its darkest phase in the 4 weeks before Solstice, we will wait with the dark and see what gifts it has to offer for:

  • pausing to celebrate what the passing year has given us;
  • connecting with the ancestors and our beloved dead for support:
  • finding the power of the dark in the season and in ourselves; and
  • releasing what we do not need to bring into the new year.

At Solsticetide, we’ll celebrate the return of the light and the time-out-of-time that comes with the end-of-the-year holidays. We will find a Solstice seed of the new to gestate as the light returns.

tending-light-imageIn January, we’ll tend the returning light by discovering:

  • 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 2018.

My Story

cac-in-arcadiaWhen my partner John died in a car crash in November 2012, my beliefs about death were a flimsy paper cup, immediately ripped apart. But the practices I’d developed through working with Tarot, nature, and poetry led 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).

In November 2013, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Dark Goddess Tarot arrived in my life and feeling the energy and support of these fierce Feminine Deities, I asked “What would happen if we waited with the dark instead of fighting it?”

Tending of the dark offered me personal healing and a connection to the Divine, my beloved dead, and the ancestors that makes me feel very supported and loved. This tending also became the gateway for emerging into the light’s energy of creative flow, action, and service.

I offer this ritual for you to use and adapt so that you can find the just right balance of light and dark that you need for walking your unique soul path.


What it is like to work with Carolyn

Carolyn……this Solstice is AMAZING because I worked the Dark and let it work me. I am SO grateful for this beautiful structure. ~ Nancy Antenucci, Between the Worlds  

Thank you Carolyn, for your rich, inspiring, and loving  work! It extends out through all of us, our roots and our branches and our hearts, giving forth what we have gathered. Thank you to this group for your sharing and support. ~ Judith Bird, artist

Carolyn’s writing is exquisite and the ritual processes she offers inspire and support me in my own practice. ~Jennifer Lucero-Earle, Embodied Tarot Counseling | ArcanaDance | Nia

How It Works

As soon as you sign up, you will receive the 25+ page overview booklet that reviews the whole ritual and weekly themes in detail and includes images from the Dark Goddess, Minoan, and Gaian Tarots. If you are the type of person who likes to prepare, take a look at the booklet. If you’d rather go with the flow, don’t worry the daily e-mails will guide you through the process.

On Monday, November 25th, the first e-mail of Waiting with the Dark will arrive in your in-box introducing the week’s four candle ritual and theme of Gratitude. E-mails will then arrive throughout the week with words and images of inspiration to support your reflection on different areas of gratitude inspired by the elements of fire, water, earth, and air. The Sunday e-mail will invite you to a ritual that can build on your reflections through the week.

E-mails continue daily with Monday e-mails introducing a shift in the ritual and weekly theme. E-mails the rest of the week invite you into a new aspect of the theme. An interactive tele/audio session deepens the exploring.

The weekly work with candles is inspired by the Christmas Advent wreath but in Descent and Return of the Light becomes a double candle wheel that first spirals toward fewer candles being illuminated each week and then spirals back to full illumination by the end of the season in January.

On the Solstice, we will announce and celebrate our Solstice seeds.

We take a little break from Sunday, December 22nd to Sunday, December 29th to join in the holidays that our families and communities celebrate. Through our Waiting with the Dark reflections, we may have found some soulful additions of ritual and connection to bring to our family holidays.

Starting Monday, December 30th, the ritual shifts to Tending the Returning Light and now the weekly rituals including the lighting of one more candle each week.

Descent and Return of the Light will conclude after the January new moon on the 27th, but the work of nurturing your Solstice seed and soulful plans for 2019 will continue all year.