Air Connection – Walking the Ways Week 2

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

This is the 2nd week of the Solstice-hinged e-retreat Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. This is the first of the daily emails that goes this air-inspired week. Emails the rest of the week support connecting with wisdom guides, contemplating air 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

We are our grandmother’s prayers. We are our grandfather’s dreamings.
We are the breath of our ancestors.

 Dr. Ysaye Barnwell

Wisdom Image

The central image is from The Gaian Tarot


Prompts for Practice

Today you are invited to contemplate Air in one or all of these ways:
  • gazing at the image above or your favorite Tarot card from the suit connected to air (most commonly the suit with titles like Swords, Birds, Clouds);
  • looking out your window to see if you can detect the air moving branches, flags, bags, bees; or
  • taking a moment to stand in a quiet part of your yard or on a busy city sidewalk to feel the breeze.
Then ponder your connection to and understanding of the element of air.  This is the place from which you begin. Use your own current definitions and understandings to contemplate these questions.
  • What do you already know about the air element (from the Tarot’s earth suit, or connecting physically with the air, or from your spiritual tradition’s teachings about air)?
  • How have you encountered air before in your life?
  • What lessons might the air offer you?
  • What might you receive from some time spent with air?
  • What gifts can you offer to air?

Just let ideas float through your head. No need to be comprehensive, just open to what comes.

You are welcome to jump in and join us for this retreat-in-everyday life. 


Walking the Ways of the Summer Light: We Begin with Power

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

This is the daily email that went this morning for all those already signed up for Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. Still plenty of time to join us; you can sign up here. We start connecting with the element of Earth tomorrow. You are invited to our 4 weeks of Wisdom Wanders, Solstice Celebration, and Pilgrimage Journey.


Earth Connection – Walking the Ways Day One

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Sanctuary – Seasonal Observances

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 

Wisdom Image

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 First Earth Wisdom Wandering

I just took my first wander of this year’s Walking the Ways with Tarot cards in my pocket. I didn’t go anywhere out of the ordinary—just my usual neighborhood walk—but having the intention of paying attention and the support of carrying the cards opened my eyes to small delights.
In the first week of Walking the Ways, we attune to the element of Earth as a physical reality—paying attention to the solid, the dirt and the stone, and all that stays near to the ground—and as a symbol—which if we are working with the Tarot connects us to the suit of Pentacles (also known as Coins and Stones, for example). So before I went for my walk, I sorted out the Major Arcana cards (I think they have aspects of all the elements) and the suit of Stones from my Shining Tribe Tarot. I made a little mandala of five cards with the 3 of Stones emerging as the central/primary card of the earth week for me.
The 3 of Stones is a favorite card. I see it as a joyful connection of the earthly and the spiritual. The image offers a lesson of how these realms exist side-by-side, within, and throughout each other. Deep in the earth at the bottom of the card, the Great Goddess sits. The snake of transformation travels down to Her while three birds rise up. Perhaps they are bringing Her messages to us, we earthly creatures, human and turtle, are held in this dynamic relationship. The point of power (that little purple point at the bottom of the triangle) is when we perceive the connection.
With my cards selected, I put on my hat and stepped out the door. The road was busy with the morning commute but I was meandering and taking time to look at what called my attention. Bark! The bark of trees is amazing with all its patterns rising, rising in the tall trees. There was a heavily pruned tree, really more like a four-foot stump that rose up covered in white mushrooms. It looked like a statue. A kind of saint of the edge of the yard (yes, I grew up Catholic). I’d reach in to pull a card as I walked to gather some imaginative insight into the deeper layers of what I was seeing/experiencing.
I cut through a corner of a local school, passing by their playing fields. The fake “grass” of the field is flanked by equally well manicured lawn. It was a perfect expanse of green … almost … because it was “broken” by a circle of buttercups. I stopped to gaze at them, to be delighted by them, to wonder how they escaped the blade of the mower to grow. I reached into my pocket and the 3 of Stones appeared. I placed the card amidst the flowers and let them commune a bit while I just paused and looked, and, yes, of course I took a picture.
Then I stood up and kept walking and as I walked I pondered the buttercup circle, thinking about it as an irruption of the wild into the manicured/mundane life. Thinking of the 3 of Stones, I thought of how Spirit, the Greater Than, the awe that moves us out of normal vision is a similar kind of irruption. These irruptions might seem infrequent or hard to catch, but there are little clues and invitations all around us when we pause and orient ourselves to just a slightly different way of looking.
Once home, I googled the symbolic meaning of buttercup. The fantasy writer Terri Windling has a lovely blog post on the folklore of flowers from English sources and writes that: “Buttercups are part of Ranunculus family, related to spearwort, crowfoot and lesser celandine. It was once believed that swallows fed their young on a diet of these flowers, giving them prophetic abilities and clear sight.” Less well sourced, but appearing in multiple places in the Google search— is a Native American—perhaps Nez Perce—that Coyote tossed his eyes up in the air and Eagle snatched them. Coyote then makes eyes from the buttercup.
Working with these stories I hear the message: Attend to buttercup and you will see with new eyes. Layer in the 3 of Stones teachings and the new eyes can help you perceive spirit in the material and the material in spirit. And in the moments when you can hold that connection within you, you can flow with a power that is joyful and connective and enough.
I’m holding this a gift and a blessing for me and all of us —formally and informally—Walking the Ways and wisdom wandering our way to the Solstice.

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.


Reading of the Moonth: Ancient Tradition Birthing the New

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

This moonth we are invited to walk the path and receive the wisdom of what is most commonly named as The Hierophant, the Major Arcana’s 5th card associated with Friday’s new moon arriving in the astrological sign of Taurus (exact at 11:53 am ET, time zone converter). Hierophants are teachers of, and conduits for, what the Greater Than.

In the earliest Tarots and the iconic Rider Waiter Smith, the Hierophant’s central figure is a Pope of the Catholic Church who, since St. Peter in the first century CE, has led the institution upholding its doctrines and teachings.

The Shining Tribe Tarot, however, invites us into a more ancient understanding of this archetype. The 5th Major Arcana card is renamed Tradition and gives us an image without human figures but rather a circle of rocks.

Rachel Pollack, the deck creator, names the rocks as embodied Spirits who meet to uphold the world. She based the image on real rocks she saw at the edge of the Dead Sea but thought her seeing of Spirits within them as a fantasy.

In my contemplation of the card today, I am called to think back millions of years ago to the time before institutions and writing existed, to the time when our furthest back ancestors had only the Earth as their teacher of the Greater Than. The seasons, the plants, the animals, and, yes, the rocks all must have been their Hierophants. Without written ways to pass on knowledge between people and generations I imagine them discovering anew the power of the Earth and the Greater Than. Over and over again they approached life with new eyes and fresh awe.

They perceived differently than we moderns. Perhaps with their awe attuned eyes they always saw the Spirit in the Earth, knew Earth as full of Spirit. Then Rachel’s vision of Tradition’s council of rocks gathered to protect the Earth is true, not a fantasy.

With Tradition as our Hierophant, the Earth is our teacher and conduit for the Greater Than. Adhering to this understanding may take us outside of established religious traditions—or not. We might stay within a tradition and bring the Earth perspective into it. In this way we would be returning a tradition to its origins as so many—all if you go back far enough, I would guess—grew from the earthly. And the mystical strains of traditions can offer us back earth-honoring practices preserved through the ages. When we tend these connections, we invoke the circle at the center of the Tradition card.

If you just can’t stay within our traditions—I myself have tried and failed—then the Earth can be your Hierophant. The Earth is a loving guide giving us the abundance of life, but Earth is also a teacher of limits. Right now, we are being offered intense lessons about limits to our modern lifestyles through the chaos of a changing climate. Flood and fire, tornado and drought are prophets to which we are called to answer.  

How can we answer these prophets? How can we respond to the Earth?

The Knower of Birds is our guide to emulate on Tradition’s path. Their way on the path is one where feet are firmly planted on the literal earth even while opening to the spiritual and the formless Greater Than. 

The Knower’s feet pass over ground that is marked with mostly tracks of mammals and birds but also a few symbols. About this image, Rachel writes of how the tracks of creatures observed and noted as having patterns evolved into divination. The markings and the patterns that appeared over and over again became symbols. Writing itself, she posits, may have evolved to pass on meanings for divination.

The few symbols on the earth are mirrored in the sky and new ones float there, too. The Spirit world it seems is filled with symbols, and if we would open up to receive them, they could help us live our lives, to move with the help of the greater patterns. Two rays—one from the left and one from the right—enter into the head of the Knower showing their ability to perceive and welcome this form of communication from the Greater Than

The Knower of Birds stands between worlds drawing guidance and power from both. This brings us back to how to respond to our prophets of climate change. 

Because climate chaos is human made, we need to take action within our human systems. To make the impacts that are necessary to address the scale of the problem, we need to join with others to shift systems and institutions.

Just as the ground on the Knower of Birds is filled with different kinds of tracks, different approaches and strategies are needed to create an ecology of change making. If you are a fiery type, join a direct-action group. If you are patient and detail oriented, follow a policy-oriented group. Creative? Create art out of the urgency of now and let it be used alongside organization’s calls to action. Not afraid to talk about the money needed to do the work? Be a fundraiser. Everyone is needed.

Along with the tangible action, we who seek to emulate the Knower of Birds on the path of Tradition can call upon the Spirits who uphold the World to guide us and aid us. We can ask them to look with compassion upon their “troubled children” and put their energy and power behind our actions to turn back climate chaos.

We might do this work through prayer or ritual. May seek guidance from divination. We can wisdom wander or make a pilgrimage and listen to the voices of the Spirit in the Earth. We can report back to our groups and gatherings the messages we receive. Rachel says that when the Knower of Birds appears we may have psychic visions and also the ability to communicate them clearly.

Will we make it?

Our passage card this moonth, the 7 of Stones, does not forecast victory or defeat, but lets us know that the only way out is through and into the new.

The toad in the foreground resembles a woman squatting in the birth position. The rainbow-colored ribbons are inspired by a medallion that Indian women place over their birthing beds. These real natural phenomena have taken on symbolic meaning. Archeologist Marja Gumbutas identified the toad as an epiphany of the Goddess from Old European culture. The colors of the rainbow ribbons are the same as the colors of the seven chakras of Hindu and Buddhist tradition.Earth and Spirit are integrated in this image invoking the birthing process. Our passage this moonth—and in this time of climate chaos—is one of birthing. We are in hard labor and being called upon to push. While we are pushing it may seem like this will never end, but we have no choice but to push.

And we may well be further along than we think. The number 7—and so all the cards associated with it—are odd pauses. In the 7, we can feel like nothing is happening because we are at a moment of tension. But if we work with the tension, we will move through. At 7, we have already done so much work. The new is not as far away as it may seem. Gather energy from the Earth, call upon the Spirits for their support, and keep pushing toward the birth. This is how we will make it.

This moonth’s questions for reflection / reading are offered to support our renewal are:

EARTH: What teaching is the Earth offering me this moonth?

SPIRIT: What message is coming from Spirit to me this moonth?

BIRTH: What will integrating the teaching of Earth and the message of Spirit birth within me? 

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.

If you’d like to activate your inner Knower of Birds, you are invited to join us for the Solstice-hinged Walking the Ways of the Summer Light Retreat-in-Everyday Life. We start on Monday, May 22nd. 


Full Moon Revelations: The Emperor Meets Death

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

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving on May 5th (exact at 1:34 pm ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the April 20th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with The Emperor, invited us to be conduits of Power. Out of the full moon revelation about this developing energy, we are issued an invitation to return a gift to the world in the final weeks of the lunar cycle.  

The exact moment of the moon’s fullness comes in the sign of Scorpio associated with the Tarot’s Major Arcana’s Death card. In this full moon time, Emperors can learn how to make Death a partner rather than an adversary to fulfill their highest purpose.

A different kind of Emperor from The Shining Tribe,
a guide for this year’s Walking the Ways

At the new moon, we were offered a vision of Power different from what we more commonly receive from mainstream culture:

In this vision of Power, our power grows because we are constantly releasing it. In flow, we don’t hold on, but instead open to receive but then let go, passing the power on. Once we’ve let go, we are open to the next wave coming to fill us. In this vision of power, a scarcity mindset and need to control are replaced with a dynamic relationship to the flow of power.

Welcoming Death as transformation and necessary change helps us achieve this vision of Power. We see this happening, for example, in institutions where leaders mentor newcomers and younger people to move into positions of more responsibility, eventually taking over their own roles.

Sadly, the first examples of Emperors encountering Death that leapt to mind were not of leaders who could embrace transition and generational change, but those who are holding rigidly to Power:

  • Legislators and judges blocking access to reproductive health for women.
  • Politicians and political action groups that are leading book banning drives and meddling with curriculum development to keep us from learning true history, to keep white supremacy in place.
  • Republican supermajorities in state legislatures in Tennessee and Montana using their power to expel Democratic lawmakers representing the demands of their constituents– especially their young constituents–on the house floor.

This is a disturbing pattern of Emperors here in the US that resisting change, and thus failing in their purpose of serving the people. They are holding on to Power for themselves and only those few who look like them and believe as they do.

In past posts I have shared the Doing Democracy model that shows the stage right before a movement wins big successes is when activists believe they have lost. I wonder if the inverse is true. If when Emperors believe they have consolidated power is when their encounter with Death begins. Their removal from power might not be immediate but it is assured.

We may already be seeing this in the United States where reproductive rights are driving election outcomes. Even in conservative-leaning states the organizing of grassroots groups is leading to wins for policies and people upholding reproductive rights.

And expelled lawmakers in Tennessee and Montana are showing up for each other despite their policy focus on gun violence and transgender health  being different. They know their work exists in a wider context of defending democracy and human rights.

I actually have to thank the Republican legislators for making sure I learned of Justin Jones and Justin Pearson of Tennessee and Zooey Zephyr of Montana. I have been so inspired to hear them say that they will show up for each other and anyone else targeted because: An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

They are Stars now. They are shining in this time when old Emperors are trying to turn off the lights so people can’t see what is going on. The numerology of the Tarot make this connection.

The 4 of the Emperor + the 13 of Death = the 17 of The Star

From The Next World Tarot by Cristy C. Road

The thing about stars is that individually their light is small and static. But many stars together create a map that can be followed toward a renewed world. So as we continue our long encounter with Power begun on the March 21st new moon, the call goes out to you: How will you embrace your Power? How will you let it be transformed to increase the overall flow of Power? What kind of Star are you? How will can you join your star power with other stars to open up the way toward what better serves the Whole?

To encourage a revelation on these themes of Power and Transformation as we journey through this moonthly cycle, you are invited to one, some, or all of these practices:

  • Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the light.
  • Take out any reading or your reflections from the new moon and look at them in a new light. How does your understanding of the cards shift now that time has passed and light has shifted? (If you haven’t done a reading yet, no problem, just do it now under the light of the full moon. You can try the one from the new moon.)
  • Bring out your Emperor and Death cards from your Tarot deck and connect them to your new moon reading / reflections. You could place/imagine these cards on either side of your reading or above and below, and then look at how they add meaning into the story your original cards offered you.
  • Reflect on questions above about your star power. You could, of course, also pull cards as responses to any of these questions. You may want to engage in Visio Divina to find the layers of wisdom within the cards.

When you are done, remember to offer gratitude for what you have received. Consider what gift you now want to return to the world. Pulling a card for guidance on the gift is always a fine thing to do. In the coming weeks and before the moon returns to dark around May 16 offer your gift to the world.


Power and its multitude of manifestations is our theme for the 8th year of Walking the Ways of the Summer Light, a retreat in everyday life that takes the Solstice as its hinge.

Walking the Ways Retreat supports you to travel this path by:

~ Creating support for pausing within our daily lives for reflection and gathering inspiration from oracles like the Tarot.
~ Cultivating a connection to the Greater Than ourselves to receive guidance for going beyond our current limitations, including about what we believe is powerful.
~ Supporting us to connect with the Power of the elements through prompts for nature practice and wisdom wandering along with drinking teas crafted to attune us to Earth, Air, Water, and Fire.
~ Connecting us to a community of fellow seekers through our weekly virtual tea parties and sharing circles.

Yes, new for this year we will prepare teas specially crafted by Yesbelt Fernandez of Yes Spiral to attune us to the elements. The power of the elements will flow within us! 

You are invited to join us. Registration is open.

Stay Connected

Soul Path Sanctuary

Offering ~ I tend the sanctuary as gift to seekers on the unmarked path. If you find this site inspiring, I welcome a gift to continue serving you sustainably.