Moonthly Musings and Reading: Take the next step


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Poetry – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary

Because I love        

        by Carolyn A. Cushing

        after Kathleen Raine’s Amo Ergo Sum

Because I love

leaf unfurls deep green to drink radiant

sun, day’s pilgrim of the sky.

Because I love

oak branch prickled with light forms

acorn, seed of the next season.

Because I love

catbird and crow mix hidden

sweet and sharp among the leaves.

Because I love

the stream is cool where boy and girl

crabwalk the rocks, squeal

when foaming water hits them.

Because I love

there is rock, eternal

in its breaking.

We live in the shatter.

Because I love in the shatter

I put my rock heart down

by the dark bird dead,

breast pointed to the sky.

Because I love in the shatter

there is a river undammed

rimmed with lace and gold,

all weeds, twinning.

Because I love in the shatter

a nest is made from broken twigs,

some down and twists of trash.

Because I love in the shatter

blackbird, that catbird, larks and a sparrow,

insistent in their song at dawn, break light

out of night, stars fall as we rise

into a day as yet untouched

and tempting us to live,

yes, live, as if we mattered.

After the shattering, out of the dark of the last weeks, the new moon arrives on Monday, the 30th (exact at 7:30am ET) to invite us to walk the path of the Lovers.

The Lovers is one of the most desired cards to receive in a Tarot reading. So its Wheel of the Astrological Year pairing with some of the least desired cards of the deck —the Eight, Nine, and Ten of Swords—seems jarring. This new moon’s passage takes us through the binding of the Eight of Swords. 

a 1909 card scanned by Holly Voley and retrieved from Sacred Texts. Deck available from US Games

In this iconic Rider Waite Smith image, the blindfolded, bound woman presents a disturbing image. Many commentators on the card point out that there are no swords actually in the woman’s way. She could just walk forward. The lesson from this interpretation is that when we think we are stuck we are often not. Beliefs about being stuck or the impossibility of a situation can exist only in the mind.

Today, however, I am drawn to a tiny detail that the artist Pamela Coleman Smith put into the image to offer a significant teaching. I am looking at how the woman—without sight to guide her or her arms to balance her—puts forward one foot. The gesture is not large, but it shows me she is moving. And although we, the viewers, know that there aren’t any swords in front of her, she does not know this. Her movement—small as it is—is courageous. 

What gives her the courage to keep moving forward? Other decks’ versions of this card point the way for our Eight of Swords woman and us to cultivate courage. In the Gaian Tarot, a group gathers in circle to speak their truths aloud to each other.

Deck creator Joanna Powell Colbert says that they might be planning a political action, coaching each other toward their goals and dreams, or collaborating on an art project. She concludes her description of the card with:

Or they could be participating in the deep transformation that happens when we tell our authentic stories, and we know we are heard when others listen deeply with their hearts.

Telling our truest stories—some of deep grief, anger, or frustration as well as those of awe, delight, and joy—is a powerful shifter of energy. I experienced that myself when Yesbelt Fernandez called me on Tuesday night to tell me about the Uvalde shooting and the murders of what we later learned where 19 elementatry school students and their two teachers.

Yesbelt could have texted. This is the default first communication we make to each other lately. Then I would have gone to check the headlines. We would have both been in our own place absorbing the horror alone. But she called me and we talked. We swore. We were in shock. We were fed up. But we weren’t alone and our processing of the event was moving through us together. 

We had been planning to create our Earth Week video for Walking the Ways that night, but decided to do some earth-connecting activities to re-center ourselves before recording on Wednesday morning. The structure of Walking the Ways is the same each year but what is happening in the wider world changes and so our weekly videos are created anew each year to respond to the needs of the moment. These videos are for those who have formally signed up for the e-retreat but we decided to offer this one to those on our e-news lists as a support for the times we live in. The earth element is our focus and Nettles our healing guide of the week. You can find it here. (It is not too late to join us for the e-retreat; you can sign up here.)

Finding and engaging in the practices that best renew us to move through the shatters of our time is vital. They prepare us for how Love calls us to respond. They ready us to take the next step on Love’s path.

To keep going we can take the Knight of Swords, known as Young Blade in the DustIIOnyx Tarot, as our guide.

Their analytical nature helps them to gain a wider view of the situation. They see themselves and others as individuals but understand that we exist within systems. When the systems no longer serve the values they are sworn to uphold such as Love, they take action to change the system. Thinking strategically, they know they need to join with others to build the power necessary for their action to be successful. They may join with neighbors to pressure the City Council to direct more dollars to educational innovations instead of increasing the police budget or join a national organization to enact gun reform or challenge white supremacy.

DustIIOnyx Deck creator Courtney Alexander writes of the most positive potential of this figure:

They are the inspired mind—the brainstorm in a literal sense. Air is one of the most ubiquitous and versatile elements on the planet, with the ability to make great use of every other element … [W]hen this power is used cooperatively, new, wonderful discoveries and innovations are possible. Young Blade will cut through out-moded systems and ideas to usher in fresh concepts.

As servants of Love, we as Knights of Swords may experience strong emotions, but we let them flow through us and are not swamped by them. Depending on our personal elemental make up or life circumstance, we may move at the pace of the Eight of Swords woman or the charging Knight of Swords. Love welcomes all responses.

And as we move, we find a way. With each conversation and each step, our commitment grows and our sense of possibility expands. Fulfillment of the desired vision may or may not be near at hand, but the vision of Love is being tended. Without this tending it will never be born.

The Herbcrafters’ Tarot’s Lovers above is one of my favorite versions of this card. The image holds the fullness of Love from its sweet birth, through the challenge of thorns, to the maturing of Love’s fruit. Contemplating the image today, I am struck by what the circles teach us about Love in this image.

In a circle there is no beginning and no end. Just one point leading to the next and the next and the next. The points of thorn sting but must be accepted to keep moving around the circle. The sweetness of the flowers delight but must be surrendered to gain the fruit. The fruit doesn’t last forever. We can’t remain always in the same spot. 

But we can remain faithful in our service to Love. To let our movement from point to point no matter our pace be an offering to Love. To recognize that our Love contribution—no matter how small it may seem—is what renews the circles and sends them flowing into their—and our—next becoming.

This is easy enough to say. The words don’t convey the grit and courage, the seemingly foolish vision of a better world that we must pull from within to keep moving through our shattering world. But this spark of insight into Love calls me forward step by step.


These questions are offered for reflection and to spark practice throughout the moonth. Pulling Tarot and oracle cards in connection to these questions is appropriate, but not absolutely necessary. You might carry a question with you on a walk for example and observe what is happening in the natural world as a way to find insight into the answer to the question.

CALL: What is Love calling me to this moonth?

RESPONSE: What is the next step I can take to answer Love’s call?

REVELATION: What new revelation will I have about Love if I answer this call, take this step? 

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23.  Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check. When I receive notification, I’ll be in touch to let you know about when to expect to receive your reading by email. I generally have openings to do these readings on Mondays and Saturdays.

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