Today we being the Solstice-hinged e-retreat Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. To give you a taste of Walking the Ways, this is the first of the daily emails that goes out between now and the Solstice to attune to the elements and the wisdom of the season. Emails the rest of the week support connecting with wisdom guides, contemplating earth as an element and from the Tarot tradition, and going out for a wisdom wander. You are welcome to join us on the journey!
Words to Inspire
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth
find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
Central image is from the Minoan Tarot
Prompts for Practice
Today you are invited to contemplate an image of earth: the image above, your favorite Tarot card from the suit connected to Earth (Pentacles, Disks, Stones, etc.), or the view from your window be it the green of growing things or the concrete of the solid sidewalk.
Then ponder your connection and understanding of the element of earth. This is the place from which you begin. Use your own current definitions and understandings to contemplate these questions.
- When you hear the word earth what does it encompass?
- What do you already know about the earth element (from the Tarot’s earth suit, or connecting physically with the earth, or from your spiritual tradition’s teachings about earth)?
- Is there a place or an activity that especially connects you to earth?
- What lessons and gifts might come from connecting with the earth?
- What gifts can you offer to earth?
A Little Report from my Earth-Attuning Morning
After contemplating the Minoan Ace of Earth during my morning meditations, I went out for an early morning walk. In the bright blue sky, a shadow of the shrinking moon shone. The breeze was light and the sun warm on my face. Green surrounded me as I walked under maples and oaks along the bike path. Perhaps the rainy spring has made me more grateful for a perfect spring day like this.
I held a small rock in one hand and bracelet of beads in the other. The beads became prompts for a kind of repeating prayer pattern inspired by an Ursula Le Guin’s line of poetry: All earth’s dust / has been life, held soul, is holy.” For the 3 little beads in the bracelet, I said life, soul, holy in turn to evoke the line. For the big bead, I said, “I am grateful for the earth’s gifts.”
In the distance, I saw what seemed to be a bright orange bird land on a fence and begin singing such a sweet song. I was entranced. I thought it must be an oriel, which is only seen in migration here in New England and is a great songster. When I got closer though I saw that it was a common robin. But this didn’t make the song or my encounter with the bird any less magical. The wisdom offered is that the common things of earth can be the most magical.
Further along the trail, I say my first garter snake of the season. I don’t know if I haven’t been as watchful or it has just been too cold for them, but today, at last, because I was moving slow and primed to pay attention I saw the yellow strip swirling along the side of the path.
The snake is on the Earth Ten of the Minoan Tarot and in the companion booklet, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince writes: “Snakes are the guides and the guardians of liminal spaces, thresholds where transformation into the sacred happens.”
Today’s walk really wasn’t that unusual, but the container of Walking the Way’s first days and prayer supports opened me to perceive with new eyes the usual things, but have an experience of them as sacred.
The snake prompting me to make a connection to Earth Ten also offers meaning particularly appropriate to today. Earth Ten corresponds to the 10 of Pentacles, which invites us to pay attention to generations past and future. I am writing these words on Memorial Day, where we in the United States pause to honor those who have served in the military. And it is the 112th anniversary of the writer and ecologist Rachel Carson’s birth. She helped us to see the natural world with a sense of wonder and to be caretakers and collaborators rather than masters and manipulators of nature.
Wow, and this is just on the first morning of Walking the Ways! 🙂 As I said you are most welcome to join us as we travel through earth, air, water, and fire connecting with the elements and gathering questions. Then after the Solstice, we will select one of our questions to find an answer to on a pilgrimage journey.