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


For Seekers – From Art of Change Tarot – 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). This the end of 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. And now that we have attuned ourselves to the returning light, we can find the first signs of spring in the lengthening days. It may feel far, but the sun is moving inexorably to show itself. 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.


Leave a Comment

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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