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


Tending the Returning Light Week 4: Follow the Heart’s Light

For Seekers – From Art of Change Tarot – Seasonal Observances

Welcome to Tending the Returning Light the second half of our Solstice-hinged ritual and retreat-in-everyday life. To join in the ritual, you may want to find a Solstice Seed of the New (don’t worry selecting this Seed any time after the Solstice). This is the final week of the ritual, but it opens the doorway to a whole year ahead of meeting and tending the Solstice Seed so it is not too late to join in.

And now the Seed begins its journey of growth in the outer world, where the longer days kindle our anticipation of spring’s return. From the underworld of winter, the Seed emerged and now the greater light of the sun and the inner light of your heart will nurture its growth. We celebrate what has been birthed. We prepare to tend the next unfolding.

The greater light of the sun and the seasons have their own rhythm, but you are the keeper of the heart’s light, shaper of its direction, cultivator of its flow. 

Flow, card XIV of the Minoan Tarot, shows a priestess at her sacred task of pouring libations. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s companion book describes this rite:

The ritual is an offering to the great ones, expressing gratitude for the gift of life in a magical world. … The pouring of libations is both offering and petition, both giving and receiving. It is life and power flowing from divinity to humanity, with love and respect flowing from human hearts in return.

detail minoan-14-flow

Ellen offers this message from the image: Your heart is the crossroads of the power of the flow.

Your double-chambered heart flows both with giving and receiving, beats both because of earth taking form in muscle and because of a mysterious spirit animating the life force. Where these opposites touch is the center of your heart, is the crossroads of your interior being. It is an imaginal space – a soul place – rather than a physical spot you can find, but you are called to visit here when you want to grow.

Your Seed will want to grow as it moves from winter to spring and onward through each season. The Seed will return time and again to the crossroads and you with it. This will sometimes be a place of challenge where old patterns of shame, self-criticism, or fear may tug at you again. This will sometimes be a place of failure because not all seeds grow. This will sometimes be a place of success where the unfolding of the seed aligns with the rhythms of the wider world and your own longings and visions.

And because we are in the place of the heart, all can be received with Love. For Love, protected by and flowing from the center of your heart, receives all things, pours out its endless light, is generous with its hospitality.

At the crossroads, you are invited to offer this loving hospitality of the heart to all that enters. When fear enters, offer it comfort and send it down the path of release. When failure enters, sit with your own disappointment; don’t try to change the feeling, just hold it close to your heart until the Love’s light there shines on the path that leads to healing. When success comes, celebrate its delights and send it down the path of humility or greater challenge.

In this final week of Tending the Returning Light, we have come to a crossroads in our ritual time together. The Seed birthed at Solstice calls to be celebrated. The next phase of life calls for new growth. This ritual of winter calls to be concluded so we can prepare for springtime’s path.

During this week, you are invited to light four candles and array around them cards that respond to these questions balancing celebration and preparation:

  • What have I achieved in birthing the Seed?
  • How to celebrate this achievement?
  • What waits for me at the crossroads of winter and spring, of birth and growth?
  • How to move forward held in the flow of the heart’s light and Love?

Conclusion of the Series and the Season

After your final Descent and Return week, you may want to pause to reflect on the ritual as a whole over the course of January’s last days. Although the weather won’t feel like it here in New England, February does marks the start of spring in the Celtic calendar. And now that we have attuned ourselves to the returning light, we can find the first signs of spring in the lengthening days. To move between the seasons, Celtic teacher and writer Caitlín Matthews suggests the practice of saying a prayer or poem of gratitude to winter for what it has gestated in our lives at your back door or window on January 31st. You might want to write your own or use her Farewell to the Season of Samhain from The Celtic Devotional:

Go with thanks and go with blessing
Season of deep memory.
Souls with joy are deeply freighted.
Hearts are charged with heritage.
As ancestors you have traveled,
You have come to Winter’s home.
Father Counsel you have cheered us.
Mother wisdom who has smiled.
Touch the hidden seed with us.
May we grow as Spring’s own child.

May you travel well as spring pours its light deeper and deeper into the night. I look forward to the next crossing of our paths here in world of bone and flesh or in the deep heart place that is both at our centers and everywhere – and from which flows an always embracing Love.


What to do next to tend your soul? 

  • Our work with the Seed has just begun. The ritual offered a guide to how to tend its spiraling growth. Each of its four weeks can be see to correspond to a season. What Can Be Born of Our Broken Parts is the work of winter. Root and Reach of spring. Emergence of Summer. And this week’s Follow the Heart’s Light of Fall. You could spend a week in each of these seasons taking out your Solstice Seed card(s) and experience it again using these rituals.
  • Next week I return to my practice of posting (almost always on Mondays) a Soul Path Practices spread to offering inspiration for your spiritual practice and wisdom seeking
  • Joanna Powell Colbert is offering an on-going process this year for lunar and solar energy with Seasons of the Sun and Moon. You can sign up any time
  • Mark your calendar for Monday, May 27th when we will begin Walking the Ways of the Summer Light toward the full illumination of the Summer Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere.
2 comments… add one
January 29, 2016, 4:07 pm Angie Green

I’ve really enjoyed this series, Carolyn, especially since I normally HATE winter so much. Thanks for putting a new spin on it. I’m definitely looking for the light!

January 30, 2016, 12:29 pm Carolyn

So glad, Angie! I have been noticing more light both at the beginning and end of the days. I am grateful.

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