Sep
20
2021

Full Moon Revelations: Illumination of the Invisible

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

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving on Monday, the 20th (exact at 7:55pm ET), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the September 6th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with the Hermit and Nine of Pentacles, invited us to work with our “accumulations of substance” for both body and soul. 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 Pisces associated with the Tarot’s Moon card and brings an encounter between The Hermit and the Moon.

The Hermit is very much at home in the lunar landscape and all of us walking the Hermit Path this lunation will find full moon support for illumination of what is usually invisible like:

  • The Divine called by any name and perhaps perceived in concrete form in nature—sensing the power of the Divine in the form of a tree or a stone, for example—or even in the moon itself.
  • Personal and collective unconscious. Have you been aware of your dreams more lately? I’ve been having and recording vivid dreams and hearing about the dreams of others. What dreams might you invite around this full moon?
  • Patterns or ways of being/operating that we take for granted.There is a joke about two fish talking about water. One says to the other: I’ve heard about this thing called water, but I’ll believe it when I see it.” During the full moon of the Moon, we might have our eyes opened to these forces that shape us. We might come face to face, for example, with how the demands for perpetual growth of capitalism feed our need for ever more things. Or there might be a realization that an activity or small ritual you enact—lighting a candle now the night comes earlier, canning tomatoes, making herbal teas—comes from watching a grandmother or father do the same and wonder if this little practice may weave far back into the family history.
  • The Beloved Dead and Ancestors. As plant and tree growth begin to wind down here in the Northern Hemisphere and song birds migrate further south, the absence and the silence create an opening for the dead to be more present in our lives. We are entering the threshold of the dark half of the year. This full moon coming right before the Equinox sets us on the final length of our journey toward the days of remembrance that come October 31st – November 11th. (FYI, I am presenting at Betwixt & Between Cyber Conference on October 16th, which will offer a series of workshops to prepare for marking this turning point of the year.)

Hermits step out of the busyness of the everyday to seek these illuminations so they can eventually return and share what they have learned. Perhaps we will write a blog post, create a Tarot spread, teach a practice or exercise for cultivating what we’ve learned along the way. But don’t rush there just yet. The Moon of the moon invites us to really soak in the mysterious lunar energy and let it penetrate deep into our hearts, our minds, our bones. This is the soul tending we need to prepare us for the sharing to come.

To encourage a revelation on these themes 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 Hermit and Moon 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 such as: What calls to me from the invisible realm? How can I answer? What essential message is coming from my dreams? What can I look at in a new way? How can I prepare to enter the dark half of the year? You could, of course, 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 October 3rd (the date of the first Love Letters to the Dead Writing Room!) offer your gift to the world.

Sep
6
2021

Reading of the Moonth: Accumulations of substance for both body and soul.

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

A new moon arrives Monday, September 6th (exact at 8:52pm ET) calling us to work with our “accumulations of substance” for both body and soul. 

We are on the path of the Hermit, who in the iconic Rider Waite Smith deck raises a lantern into a vast sky while standing on a mountain’s rock surface. Hermits are of the earth, but not of the earthly, material preoccupations of civilization. They have left the human world behind for a time to commune with the natural world and their own essential selves.

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Minoan Tarot takes this inspiration coming out of the Rider Waite Smith influenced tradition and adds another layer of beauty and wisdom.

Ellen names the Hermit the Visionary and tells us:

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.

This Visionary Hermit’s ability to sense the light of the invisible Soul is made possible by her absolute connection to the visible, material earth.

Our Hermit path this moonth passes through the very earthly  garden of the Nine of Pentacles.


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

It is from T. Susan Chang’s writing about this card in her 36 Secrets that we learn examining our  “accumulations of substance” is the work of this time of year. This phrase captured my attention and sent me to dictionary.com to look more closely at the meaning of each word.

Substance is the actual matter of a thing; reality. The Latin root word means “that which stands under.” Accumulation is growth by continuous additions. “Heaped up” is its Latin root word meaning.

This Nine of Pentacles passage calls us to look at the reality on which we stand, a reality we have built up and now must move through. To consider the “accumulation of abundance” all around us.

What “accumulation of abundance” calls your attention first? What is abundant in your personal world? What abundance do you see in the wider world?  

Last week water was plain to see and in abundance where I live and all up and down the east coast as Ida pummeled her way northward. Ida, the hurricane, is a natural occurrence, but her strength and dangerousness were amplified by an invisible abundance created by human activity: carbon in the atmosphere, the catalyst of climate change. Ida’s cost in property damage is staggering while the loss of so much life is an abundance of sorrow beyond calculation. Ida is a substance of grief we cannot ignore.

The chaos-causing, grief-inducing rapid change of our lives today could be paralyzing. Some days I read the news and freeze before the deluge. My reality is like Muriel Rukeyser’s in her 1968 Poem: Most mornings I would be more or less insane. 

Despite the insanity, Muriel tells us she does begin to write. She doesn’t ignore that she is made insane by war and death, ceaseless consumerism, but writes out of that feeling to answer a call from the unseen and unborn. She wants to leave them something other than the wars of her time so she remembers different ways of being offered from the past— the men and women who considered a nameless way of living, of almost unimagined values—and then she images those to come inspired by that tradition who will be dedicated to peace, love, and reconciliation. Those who will try by any means / To reach the limits of ourselves, to reach beyond ourselves, / To let go the means, to wake.

Kendra Pierre-Louis in her essay Wakanda Doesn’t Have Suburbs from the anthology All We Can Save calls us to wake up, too. To wake up to the stories we are told that paralyze us, and then to start telling different stories just as Muriel Rukeyer did. Pierre Louis asks us:

What if, instead, the story we tell about climate change is that it is an opportunity? One for humans to repair our relationship with the Earth and reenvision our societies in ways that are not just in keeping with our ecosystems but also make our lives better?

If it doesn’t sound possible, ask yourself: Why not?

Yes, why not? True, the necessary response to the climate change already underway requires a rapid re-orienting of our lives and a massive re-directing of resources on a global scale. That’s a big lift. But we just freaking did that in the pandemic!! Shutdowns rolled across the globe and within weeks massive numbers of people re-oriented to working and learning at home. Governments directed massive amounts of money to ease the transition and develop a vaccine.

We could take the climate catastrophes as a wake up call. We could recognize we just had a practice run during the pandemic in re-orienting our material world and habits. We could tell ourselves, “We can do this!” We could.

It won’t necessarily be easy to act on this realization—this affirmation—that we could make these changes. But the Hermit’s guidance this moonth points us toward the sources of strength that can help us through: our souls that are being tumbled and polished, broken open and liberated by the challenges of our times. 

The soul is hard to define. It is a connector between this world and the Greater Than so exists beyond language’s boundaries. But the other day I was thinking about the soul as the Major Arcana of the self; the 22 Major Arcana cards of the Tarot are often said to be archetypes. Then this past weekend when defining archetypes my Mass Tarot collaborator Jill Scott called them the original model, the primal essence. It clicked in my mind that our souls are our essential selves.

The pandemic has brought so many of us to consider what is most essential to us. And often it has been basic needs or simple pleasures that have risen to the top: a place to walk outside, connection to family, cooking good food, companionship, going to the library, a living wage, work that matters. And these soul needs and pleasures have moved us to change our lives. Our change work is also soul tending work. Our changing world is—not gently, but inexorably—growing our souls. 

How shall we move forward doing both the work of the soul and the work of the world? Our third guiding card of the moonth suggested the attitude to take in this work: The Knight of Pentacles, the one who is in service to the earth. A favorite version of this knight and one so appropriate to the times we live in is the Knower of Stone from Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe.

Here we are with our hair and our whole nervous system on fire from all that is going on! But the Knower is connected to earth and to the ancient earth-honoring traditions (as seen in the symbols surrounding the figure). This keeps them—and so could keep us—from flying off the earth in these wild times. This connection is practical, reminding us to use and reclaim practical ways of working with the earth (working with herbs, canning vegetables, re-using rather than buying new or recycling). It is also soulful, calling us to see the sacred in the earth. Rachel ends her description of this card with: to truly Know Stone means to transcend the illusion of a separation between Spirit and the material world. 

And when we see our world as both beautiful material and awesome spirit, how could we not at least try to save all we can of this place we call home and ourselves along with it?

To help connect with the invitations of this moonth, you can use these questions for reflection and/or card play:

WORLD: What earthly abundance am I called to acknowledge and work with at this time? 

SOUL: What of my essential self is abundant at the surface and calls for expression?

HARVEST: How can I harvest this abundance during the moonth? 

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23.  Sign up with PayPal 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.

Aug
21
2021

Full Moon Revelations of a Returning Star

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

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving on Sunday, the 22nd (exact at 8:01am ET), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the August 8th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with Strength, the 6 of Trees, and the Speaker of Trees, invited us to cultivate the strength to sing even in challenging times. 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 Aquarius associated with the Tarot’s Star. This is the second full moon associated with the Star—the first on July 23rd was in the earliest moments of our trip through Aquarius and this full moon will be in the very last moments. Our extended encounter with the Star invites us to reach even higher and dig even deeper into the wisdom this archetype offers us.

Since the Shining Tribe Tarot is our inspiration this lunation, The Star figure we encounter is Persephone, the Greek Goddess whose mother Demeter is the Grain Goddess, the giver of Life, and whose husband Hades is the ruler of Death. Persephone is intensely connected to both Life and Death. She cannot choose between them, but instead lives between them by spending part of the year with her mother and the rest with her husband and the dead that she serves as Queen. She is the traveler between the worlds, and as I’ve written extensively elsewhere can even serve as a messenger connecting us living with our beloved dead.

Thursday evening before I went to bed I was contemplating these themes and overnight I had this dream:

I am sitting in a VW Bug, one of the classic 1960s models with two doors. Outside I see a rather gray landscape. Not an immediate storm, but maybe in the aftermath. There is a shadowy figure off in the distance that I am suspicious of. I want to take a nap so to protect myself I have to lock the doors. I depress the lock button on the first door and then test to make sure it has taken hold. It hasn’t. I have to try again and this time I secure the door. I am able to lock the other door, too, and start to drift off to sleep. Still in the dream, I wake up to find one door opening, but it is not anyone to be afraid of. It is my beloved friend Chris who died in June of 2020. She smiles and I smile. 

I was delighted to have this first dream visitation from Chris. I immediately thought of how I had locked the doors, but that didn’t stop her from entering. Fortunately, our beloved dead are persistent in contacting us even when we put up barriers.

Then as I wrote this post and was thinking of Chris, I remembered that she was a healer, a nurse. She worked in the maternity ward ushering new life into the world. An idea washed over me: the dead want to help us to birth new life out of all the death we are experiencing at this time. Having traveled from Life into Death, they know how to make a great transition, to surrender familiar forms like the body, to shape shift into something new. I imagine they see us struggling with the changes we must make to confront the climate crisis, bring an end to war, organize our institutions around empathy instead of power and greed. So they break through the barriers we have set up against them to be with us.

I am inspired by this possibility (regular readers will know it is one I have been feeling and writing about for years now), and then a part of me asks: But what does it mean we should do?!

There certainly is much to do, but to ensure our doing is what is most powerful and centered we might pause in the full moon moments of the Star to receive the wisdom, help, and love of our beloved dead. 

Traditionally, The Star is a card of pausing and simply being open to the grace and gifts of the universe that come freely and equally to all. In the pause, perhaps the energy of the beloved dead will flow through us. In time we might find that we have become conduits for their wisdom on making transitions. Then their wisdom and energy become part of us and guide our action in the living world for change making. We could then be in a new kind of partnership that leads to still barely imagined possibilities.

We could become like Persephone meeting both Life and Death with Love. 

To encourage a revelation on these Star themes, 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. (If you live in the Northeast, your moon view most likely will be hidden by a storm. Moon bathe only where you won’t blow or float away! To those in the West, moon bathe where you won’t overheat or burn. I wish we could send you some of our water from the Northeast. Everyone everywhere please be safe!)
  • 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 Strength and Star 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 such as: How can I create places of pause in my life for listening to the Greater Than? How can I connect to my beloved dead? What message do they want to give me? How can I be a conduit of Love? How can I help bring new Life into our times of great Death? You could, of course, 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 September 4th offer your gift to the world.

Aug
7
2021

Reading of the Moonth: The Strength to Sing

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

Taking the Shining Tribe Tarot as our inspiration for the correspondences and guiding wisdom of this moonth (beginning Sunday, the 8th, with the arrival of the new moon exact at 9:50am ET) we find ourselves walking through the forest of the Six of Trees.

I started to write this moontly missive to you early because I am on break from August 5th to the 13th. I thought I would prep and schedule a quick fun note about traveling the moonth with a sense of adventure. The colorful trees and jaunty stride of the person walking through the card fits that meaning—and haven’t we had enough of intensity?

But intensity hasn’t had enough of us. Heat. Fires and floods. Hidden history rising from where some have tried to bury it. The delta variant surging. These are not isolated incidents that we can move through and forget. There is a larger pattern to be seen. And when we do see it, we know we live in times of upheaval and chaos as a society, as a planet—even if we individually get a break every once in a while to recharge ourselves—and how we work with this great change will determine the direction it takes.

That larger perspective is there in the Six of Trees, if we take a closer look. Buried in the land is a snake, the face of an owl, and geometric shapes. Deck creator Rachel Pollack says they are the “forms and symbols of the underworld.” The trees have eyes that seem to be opened in startle. Looking at the world these days is a startling experience.

So despite it being summer vacation time, this new moon reminds us to keep our eyes open to the fullness of life. To see the beauty and adventure while not ignorning the chaos and upheaval. To do that requires a special kind of strength, the kind we see in the Tarot’s Strength card, our path of the moonth.

 In the iconic Rider Waite Smith deck and those decks it inspires, Strength is often a lovely image of a woman bedecked with flowers astride a gentle lion. But the placid image obscures how challenging the work of this archetype actually is. Because we have to stare into the sharp-toothed mouth of the lion to learn how to be with its wild power. We must adjust ourselves to work with the lion—not to beat back its fierce nature, but to work with this energy.

In the Shining Tribe, just the lion appears standing before a Tree of Life to guide us. Rachel Pollack writes in the companion guide that this lion shows us “the strength that comes from the harmony with life.” This card counsels us to connect “our own actions and feelings to spiritual sources.” 

And perhaps this is what keeps our Six of Tree’s figure appearing so jaunty on the journey. Instead of ignoring the underworld reality or the startle of the trees, they are taking that energy inside of themselves, mixing it within and using it to move forward. The underworld can be scary because it is unfamiliar, but the ancestors are there sending their support to us. There is a lot of energy in the startle—it is as wild as a lion—but that can become fuel for the journey.

When we take this approach to the journey, we can become Speakers of Trees, the wisdom workers of fire’s energy.

In this image, I see the heart of the tree being at the throat so all that is spoken of comes through this muscle. Reading Joy Harjoy’s poem Exile of Memory  in her new anthology Living Nations, Living Words, I heard her as a Speaker of Trees in this stanza from the longer poem:

Here there is a singing tree.

It sings of the history of the trees here.

It sings of Monahwee who stood with his warrior friends On the overlook staring into the new town erected

By illegal residents.

It sings of the Civil War camp, the bloodied The self-righteous, and the forsaken.

It sings of atomic power and the rise

Of banks whose spires mark

The worship places.

The final verse is always the trees.

They will remain.

The last line of the poem is: I will sing it until the day I die.

So even though we live in startling times, I hope you are finding the strength to sing. And in your singing gather out of all the broken and beautiful parts of your life and our world something beautiful because it is truthful. Then the fullness of your song will be a great success and gift to us all.

To help connect with the heart of this moonth, you can use these questions for reflection and/or card play:

SEEING: What is most important to open my eyes to as I travel through this moonth?

STRENGTH: How to connect my actions in response to what I see with spiritual sources?

SINGING: What message can I then bring from my heart to offer to the world?

I do offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative initiative format for $23.  Sign up with PayPal or email me about sending a check. Because I am away, I will not be doing readings until Saturday, the 14th, around the time of the quarter moon which is a good time to see how the energies of the moonth are developing.

Jul
23
2021

Full Moon Revelations: Traveling by Star Light

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

he height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving overnight Friday, July 23rd to Saturday, July 24th  (exact at 10:37pm ET on the 23rd), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the July 10th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with The Chariot and Three of Cups, invited us to contemplate what is abundant in our lives and encourages us to share this abundance with others. 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 Aquarius associated with the Tarot’s Major Arcana’s Star. The Star is a beautiful support for The Chariot because it shines most brightly in the times of greatest darkness. So when the way forward on the Chariot journey seems most uncertain, The Star’s appearance guides us to keep moving toward the vision, even if we have to move more slowly, more cautiously. 

The Star illuminates both our personal and collective journeys, and in these days collective journeys out of the pandemic, away from lifestyles fueling climate change, or into expanding rather than restricting democracyseem stalled or worse. I’m feeling the weight of the pile up of problems. How ‘bout you?

And yet the stars still shine. They’ll shine tomorrow just as they did a hundred years ago and before there were humans and as the earth was coming into being. Individual stars shift and die, but the constellations are always gathering in the sky to shine a light into the darkness.

Perhaps we need to cultivate the long view of the stars. They don’t exist within a news cycle or term of political office. Their time is expansive, beyond the life of individuals. They invite us to the deeper wells of history past and to present work that may not benefit ourselves but the generations to come. Star time is ancestral time. 

In ancestral time, we can seek to connect with well and loving ancestors who want to aid us in work to heal the Whole. These may not be our most recent ancestors. Perhaps we can reach back to those who lived before the traumas of war, diaspora, enslavement, religious persecution. These ancestors of the far past wait like the stars to aid us if we would but turn our attention to them and open to receive their loving guidance. 

In the Dark Goddess Tarot, the Star is Spider Woman, Hopi Goddess of Thought and Creation.

Deck creator Ellen Lorenzi-Prince recounts some of Spider Woman’s story:

In the darkness in the beginning of Time, Spider Woman is told she is too small and weak to help, yet through intelligence, persistence, and belief, she travels to and returns safely from the Lake of Fire. She succeeds in bringing light and warmth into the world where more imposing animals try and fail. 

Spider Woman is an ancestor to emulate. We may feel small – and we are when seen compared to the whole of the sky! – but we can persist in bringing our unique light into the world and shining it where light is needed. This is our offering. We may never truly know the impact that we have. To know is not what is important. To make the offering is what is essential.

Guided by the ancestors and being a conduit of their radiance from the dark, we can dare to do the difficult with compassion. Because Spider Woman is inspiring our full moon explorations, I am thinking of how across North American we are being called to look at the history of inter-generational trauma inflicted by Indian Boarding Schools and the discovery of unmarked graves of Native children at more than one school. When announcing the US Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative in June, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said:

While it may be difficult to learn of the traumas suffered in the boarding school era, understanding its impacts on communities today cannot occur without acknowledging that painful history. Only by acknowledging the past can we work toward a future we are all proud to embrace.

This is Star work; work that reaches into the past to bring healing that will ripple back but also forward in time. This looking back keeps me moving toward a vision of renewal and repair that leads to justice. This Star work gives me hope. 

To encourage a revelation on these Star themes as we move through these times of tension, you might do one or combine any 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 included in the new moon post.)
  • Bring out your Chariot and Star 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 such as: How can I open to the support of the stars? How can I keep moving toward my vision? What guidance do the ancestors offer to me on the journey? What kind of ancestor do I want to be? What gift do I want to leave for those who come after me? You can, of course, pull cards for 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. Note that this is the first of two full moons in Aquarius—the next one is on August 22—so we will really be able to bask in the starlight and contemplate ways to live its beauty and healing out in our lives.

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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.