Tending Week 2: Root and Reach


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary – 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). We are at the end of this second week of the retreat. You can join the ritual in progress this week or catch up on last week’s theme of What Can Be Born from Our Broken Parts

The Solstice Seed of the New bursts the constraints of its casing. The potential of the elemental seed breaks apart, leaves the protective cocoon in response to the promise of growing light. In the natural world here in the Northern Hemisphere, the twilight lingers a bit longer and glimpsing even this small increase lifts our spirits when we pause to note this subtle change. Demetra George in Mysteries of the Dark Moon calls this period Light Ascending when “the symbolic seed establishes its root and stem structure.”

Our seeds must root and reach.

The work of the seed to establish itself is two-fold and divergent. The seed – and our vision of it grown and mature – must reach toward the heights and our soul’s greater aspirations, but to do that the seed must be rooted in a soil that gives it support from which to grow.  The Visionary (Major Arcana IX) of Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s newest deck, The Minoan Tarot, expresses this balance beautifully in words and image:

The Visionary watches for souls. She sees where they live and where they go. She can send her sight to travel with them. Souls have a brightness that draws her to them. She seeks to discover their origins and destinations, their meaning and purpose, in this world and beyond. The Visionary does not lose herself, but remains grounded through her affinity with the stone. She brings profound knowledge and inspiration down to Earth.


Soul tending working is, at its essence, about the acceptance and balancing of elements that may seem to be in opposition but exist as necessary complements to each other. Our dance with the tension between them is how we meet and move into our soul, that fullness of self that includes root and reach, body and spirit, and, as Celtic scholar and poet John O’Donohue points us to, belonging and longing.

In Eternal Echoes, O’Donohue writes, “The hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature,” and it is the natural world that is one of our greatest teachers about how to belong. The rhythm of the natural world with its stable stones, planted trees, and returning tides instruct us in what it means to belong. “The art of belonging is the recovery of the wisdom of rhythm.”

And within this belonging is the beginning of longing; to hunger is to long. O’Donohue talks about the small voice that calls you to quest: “It is the voice of the eternal longing within you, and it confirms you as a relentless pilgrim on the earth. There is something within you that no one or nothing else in the world is able to meet or satisfy. … This eternal longing will always insist on some door remaining open. … When you befriend this longing, it will keep you awake and alert to why you are here on earth.”

So in this second week of Tending the Returning Light, you are invited to light two candles in the moments when day and night meet. See if you can sense the extra minute of daylight each day. What does it take to tune your awareness to this subtle shift? Now bring your heightened awareness to the Seed you’ve been tending since Solstice. What is happening in the life of this seed in the lengthening light?

You might think of one candle as the Candle of Root, of the Body, of Belonging. You could meditate upon its light and draw Tarot/oracle cards as prompts for insight into questions such as:

  • What grounding roots does this Seed need to grow?
  • How does this Seed root me more deeply in my values … my body … my landscape … the earth?
  • What is the earth dreaming in me through this Seed?
  • What does this Seed need to belong in my life?
  • What does this Seed teach me about the necessity of belonging?

You might think of the other candle as the Candle of Reach, of Spirit, of Longing. You could meditate upon its light and draw Tarot/oracle cards as prompts for insights into questions such as:

  • What is the Seed inviting me to reach for?
  • What is the message of Spirit coming to me through this Seed?
  • What is the Eternal dreaming in me through this Seed?
  • What longing does this Seed awaken in me?
  • How does this Seed keep me awake and alert to why I am here on the earth?

May your exploring be fruitful with both insight and mystery!

If you are inspired by this image from the Minoan Tarot, you are invited to check out the Greek Mysteries tour happening in September 2022. You could come look for your own visionary guide in Greece! 

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