Soul Path Sanctuary

A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers


Wisdom Wander at Fort Tryon Park in NYC


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit

Join Carolyn Cushing and Yesbelt Fernandez for a unique divinatory adventure to cultivate your intuition, tend your soul, and connected with like-minded seekers.

In this Urban Wisdom Wander, we will:

  • Find and explore a question that can spark our soul’s growth and delight.
  • Play with using our oracular tools (Tarot, angel cards, runes, ect) out of doors and on the move to gain new perspectives on their meaning and broader wisdom.
  • Practice seeing signs and finding synchronicities in the world around us. 
  • Connect with fellow seekers. 

Participants will leave with:

  • Special “compass” gift to keep you inspired moving forward.
  • Wisdom Wander booklet to inspire future wanders. 

To participate, you should:

  • Have your deck of cards or other oracular tool. We will have decks to share.
  • Have a little bit of experience working with your cards or oracular tool can be helpful. We won’t be talking about basic meanings in the group. But we will be guided by our intuition in this work so no worries if you feel like a newbie. 

Wear shoes for walking, bring water, and, If needed, be prepared for rain. Bring your phone for obvious reasons and also to document your experiences. You might also want a small notebook and pen to jot things down quickly. Travel as lightly as possible.  

Fort Tryon Park has lawns, gardens, 8 miles of pathways, The Cloisters Museum, and the New Leaf Cafe. There will be options for groups to wisdom wander together as well as going off on your own. We will bring a group into the Cloisters for which people will pay their own admission fee. If you are a New York State resident or a student in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, you decide what you will pay. If you are not, the price of admission for adults is $25. 

Cost: $20 if you register before September 30th. On October 1, the fee will increase to $30. Early birds are rewarded! The fee is non-refundable, but you have to cancel, you may apply it to a future service or event with Carolyn or Yesbelt.

Date: Saturday, Saturday, October 12th

Time: 11am – 3pm

Location: We will meet up near the Cloisters. We’ll confirm the exact location the day before to account for the weather. We will wander even if there is rain, probably spending more time inside the Cloisters for any wet wisdom wandering. 

Sign up now with Pay Pal or mail a check made out to Carolyn Cushing to Soul Path Sanctuary, 1 Cottage St., Easthampton, MA 01027.



The messages will be all around us as we wisdom wander!


Threshold of the Season Retreat: Love Between the Worlds


For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

dark love face

Each season offers different gifts and challenges, flows with its own rhythm and mystery.  When we take time to turn toward the offerings of the season, we can better receive its soul tending wisdom.

The shift from October into November is a potent time of year for remembering our beloved dead cross-culturally. Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, Catholic masses for All Saints and Soul Days, earth spirituality traditions around the thinning of the veils between the worlds, and secular commemorations on Veterans Day all offer different ways to connect with those departed. At the most basic level, this time of the year calls us to keep up a loving flow between the living and the dead. 

This year’s theme of Love Between the Worlds opens the door of our hearts to the loving ancestors for the sending and receiving of messages through: deep reading of the signs of the season; engaging in divination; and bringing our awareness to the energy of the expanding darkness. We will also be asking the ancestors for guidance on what we need to do to become good ancestors ourselves. 

In our time together, we will:

  • Greet each other and the season.
  • Honor and welcome the ancestors and guides who would like to support us on this day.
  • Take a wisdom wander. No matter the weather, there will be an invitation to connect with the land and beings at the wildlife sanctuary where we will gather. 
  • Eat a simple lunch highlighting local vegetables and fruits (vegan and gluten-free friendly).
  • Create a seasonal altar and gather round it to share stories and receive the wisdom of our beloved dead.
  • Leave with a message about pathways we can take to become good ancestors ourselves.

We will be a small, intimate group of no more than about a dozen.

You are invited to arrive with any, all, or none of these things:

  • An image or object to represent a loving ancestor who can serve as a wise guide. Feel free to think broadly about this ancestor who could be other than human, known to you in life or not, an inspirational figure from your vocational field, ect. You may invite more than one loving ancestor to sit in circle with us, but be prepared to focus on one that you introduce publicly to the group.
  • An image or object to represent someone who has recently died who might benefit from support from the loving ancestors to make their transition or receive healing. 
  • Clothing appropriate to the weather and shoes for walking around on well-laid out trails. (OK, clothing is a requirement at this time of year. Not really optional!)
  • A journal, drawing pad, piece of paper, pen, and/or colored pencils.
  • A Tarot or oracle deck.  If you don’t have one, there will be decks for sharing for use at the retreat.
  • A camera for contemplative photo receiving.


  • To be held 10am to 5pm at a wildlife sanctuary in Easthampton, MA on Saturday, October 26th.
  • Regular fee is $95. There is an early bird special of $85 for those who sign up before Wednesday, September 18th.
  • Pre-registration required by October 23rd so we can plan how much food to make.

Click the button to pay with a credit card/use PayPal or send a check to Carolyn Cushing, 1 Cottage St., Box 33, Easthampton, MA 01027. If sending a check, do send me an email so I can start holding you a space. 


Reading of the Moonth: Wisdom for the Earth


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit

The arrival of the new moon stamps the moonth with an initiating energy that shifts and develops through the cycle of growth, fullness, and descent. The reading of the moonth can be done any time, ideally between the new and full moons. Revisit the cards you pull periodically up until the next lunation to gain new insight as the light changes. This new moon arrived August 30th (exact at 6:37am ET in the USA) . The full moon arrives September 14th.

As the season turns, we are nearing a completion here in the Northern Hemisphere. The landscape is still lush and the fields full, but growth has slowed. The sounds have shifted; the birds are quieter and the cicadas’ hum solemn. We are turning toward the final harvests.

The August 30th new moon astro-Tarot correspondences also point us toward this theme of completion as we are invited to walk the path of the Hermit,Major Arcana number 9, the last single digit.

Hermits turn from the demands of the everyday world and embrace solitude to seek the wisdom within. Paradoxically, this looking inward also tunes them into the wisdom that flows from natural cycles, the Greater Than, and all that is beyond themselves. They integrate their personal insights with the larger patterns to find an understanding of the Whole.

From the Mary El Tarot, now available in a second edition

Once in touch with their Inner Wise One, Hermits are called to return and share their insight with others. The lantern that is so common in versions of this card signifies this responsibility. Their periods of solitude are not permanent but periodic. They are still called to serve the communities from which they come, to respond to the needs of the world in which they live.

Being numbered 9 is apt for this card because to embody the archetype of the Hermit is an achievement that marks a cycle of growth’s completion. We may not be as old in years as the figures shown on Hermit cards, but we still have aged our wisdom selves when we’ve embraced a Hermit time.

So the path of the moonth calls us to completion, but there is still work to do before we are finished.  Our passage of the moonth takes us through the 8 of Pentacles.

A 1909 version of the Rider Waiter Smith deck (RWS currently produced by US Games)

The call of this card is: Keep at your work. In the fields, we will only have enough for the winter if we do the harvest and prepare the stores now. For our spiritual life, faithfulness to our practice is what truly tends our soul. With our activism, the troubled times we live in show us a world in need of our tending and healing. We hear the voice of the 8 of Earth in Maya Angelou’s words: Nothing will work unless you do.

And how shall we do this work? What will we look like as we travel the path? The correspondences of the moonth invite us to be explorers and questers devoted to the earth, traditionally known as the Knight of Pentacles. 

These exploring, questing Knights are devoted to their cause but move at their own pace. Noel Arthur Heimpel writes about the earth Explorer of the Numinous Tarot: While, like the other Explorers, there is movement in this card, it’s much slower. [They] are someone who takes their time, never rushing or making any hasty decisions. They want to have all the facts in place before they come to a conclusion.”

The Numinous Tarot’s version of the Knight of Pentacles (This fabulous deck is on sale right now.)


This description and the earth connection of all of these cards has me thinking about Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who a year ago began school striking on Fridays to demand action on climate solutions with her consistent weekly presence outside of the Swedish parliament. What began as an individual action, has sparked a global movement of young people, who are now calling for a Global Climate Strike September 20 – 27. Knights tend to travel in groups. They know they are stronger together.

Invited to speak at the United Nations in New York on September 23rd, Greta took 2 weeks to sail across the Atlantic rather than fly because of air travel’s heavy use of fossil fuels. Her travels will continue by bus and train through the Americas to reach Chile where the United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in December. She travels at the pace set by her principles. 

Greta Thunberg is certainly a dedicated Knight serving the earth, but she is also the Hermit. In describing the origins of her activism, she says she first learned of climate change when she was 8 years old and didn’t understand why more wasn’t being done to address this global crisis. She became depressed and stopped speaking for awhile. This time in the dark was the impetus to begin her school striking. Now she speaks to the world and helps to lift up the voices of other young people. Her light spills from her lantern when she tells us: Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire. … I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.

And what about you? Who are you – the Hermit or the Knight? 

Having passed the 50 year mark, I can claim some Hermit wisdom. I’ve journeyed through the dark to bring back the light I found there. But in this moonth to come, better to be a Knight in service to the young Hermits who want to secure a future for themselves and the planet. They are calling everyone to participate in the Friday stikes on the 20th and 27th. They are welcoming adults who want to act as allies. I can follow and support them as a steady Knight of Pentacles.

The figures of the Tarot are shown in images that focus us on particular aspects for better understanding. But we are not a static card, but rather a complex mix of experience, abilities, and passions. We are the Hermit on the mountain top, the worker with the pentacles, and the Knight unfailing in service all at the same time. When we embrace, blend, and express these multitudes within to match the needs of the moment, we can be more resourceful. With increased resources, we just might find we have what we need to do the work, to achieve our visions, to reach completion.

Reflection and reading questions of moonth to call for the resources from the multitudes within are:

HERMIT: What message does my inner Hermit have for me about how to keep at my work during this moonth/cycle?

EARTH EXPLORER: What message does my inner Explorer have for me about how to keep at my work this moonth/cycle?

INTEGRATION: How do I integrate these messages to serve the Whole (of which the Self is a part) during this moonth/cycle? 

I offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative intitituve format for $23. I have times to do these readings generally on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. 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.

The work of cultivating the joy isn’t completed just at the time of the new moon. When the full moon comes on September 14th open to an encounter with the mystery of The Moon. People on my list receive more timely new moon missives and often full moon inspirations for ritual as well. Sign up if you’d like to receive those. 

Note: I’ve given some some shout outs above to decks and companies. FYI, I”m not receiving any fees or goodies for these. I just think they are great decks and want you to know about them.


Dark Moon Release with Samovila as our Guide


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit

Before the moon is made new on August 30th, it returns to the place on the astrological Wheel where it began its moonthly journey. The energy gathered through the lunation now flows away into moonless nights. What will you send with this energy to be transformed in the dark?

The moonth we are concluding began and now ends in Leo,  which corresponds to the Tarot’s Strength card. In the Dark Goddess Tarot Strength is Samovila, the Slavic Guardian of the Forest. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, creator of the Dark Goddess Tarot, tells us about her:

She protects the living beings, red-blooded or green, in the woods of Eastern Europe. She guards the purity of its streams and the health of the whole. Often lively and playful, Samovila loves to dance. Her circle dances create the magical glades that are found in even the deepest tracks of the forest. Yet she is fierce in her defence of her home and takes revenge against trespassers who would harm her beloved ones. 

Her special animal companion is a bear. Shown as peaceful in the presence of Samovila, a mother bear is also famous for her fierceness in defending her cubs. Bears standing upright like humans show us a mirror of our animal self, wild and powerful, willing to protect what is most important to us.

Although she is a Slavic wisdom figure, I hear her calling us on these darkening nights to see the fire lighting up the Amazon, the world’s biggest rainforest, often called the lungs of the planet. For the most part these fires are human caused and the result of governmental and policy change in Brazil. After a decade of decline in deforestation, this year there is an 84% increase in fires over last year as prohibitions against burning are not enforced and indigenous communities and their grassroots organizations are marginalized and attacked. The resulting deforestation will accelerate the advance of climate change so although this is happening in the Amazon the whole world will feel the ripple impacts. 

Samovila knows she is connected to the living beings of blood and leaf in the Amazon and invites us to feel the feel the connection, too. The emotions that arise might be strong, might be dissonant. But the dark moon nights can hold their intensity. They invite us to make some space for what is bigger than our personal or everyday concerns. 

We often focus our dark moon releases on our personal reality, but we can also let the challenges of the collective pass through us. Through this symbolic and magical work, we can make a contribution to releasing for, and healing of, the whole. This work compliments our action in the rational and physical to do such things as change policy (suggestions for such actions are at the end of this article.) 

Starting today / in the 48 – 24 hours before and up to the new moon’s arrival on August 30th (exact at 6:37am ET in the USA) is the optimal time for a dark moon release ritual.

Dark Moon Release Ritual

This moonth’s ritual is inspired by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s connection of Samovila to dance and Jennifer Lucero-Earle’s ArcanaDance that allows us to meet the wisdom of the Tarot in our bodies through movement. Visit her website to find out more and this series of articles and sample video we prepared ahead of a class we taught together at Readers Studio. 

This is an example of a flow that you should modify to fit your own needs. Do what is within your comfort zone and get support as needed. You may want to pick out a piece of music to play during this ritual time that helps you connect with your wild self. 

Enter sacred space by leaving behind your everyday concerns. Closing a door so you have privacy can help. Playing special music can help. After tuning into your body, imagine that you are ringed with a circle of protection.

You can invite Samovila and/or the face of Greater Than that you have been serving this moonth to be with you, protect you, and aid you in this dark moon release. Spend as much time as you need connecting with Them.

If you are able, you can physically do the following actions. You can also imagine yourself doing them:

Crouch on your hands and knees. Imagine you are a mother bear. Feel your weight and power. Maybe you growl. Maybe you move about the room in some way. 

Bring to mind a world problem that concerns you. It could be what is happening in the Amazon or another challenge you are focused on.

As this problem comes into your consciousness, tune into what happens in your animal body. Let the instinct of you bodily reaction to this problem guide your movement. You may swing about. You may stand up. You may claw against trespassers. You may pace or stomp. Stay with this for a while. 

After moving for some moments, bring to mind your guide, Samovila or another, ask them to take, punish, transform this problem. Let yourself feel their power working on the problem. Let yourself feel how you are working together. Let this guide a shift in your movements. 

When you are ready, feel your way back down to the floor or to a chair. Let yourself sit and be. Let your imaginal mind see the problem flowing away. Then let your own emotions about the problem flow away after it. If there is anything personal from the moonth that you want to release, let it got now. (Your rational mind may want to remind you that the problem can’t change that fast. That’s fine. You can remind this part of you that you are working in the imaginal realm right now where the seeds of the new and next are gestated.)

Take some time to rest in the emptiness.  

Tune into your body again, feeling it lighter and energized. Re-center yourself by connecting with earth below you and the sky above you. Feel their energy mix in your heart. Be open to a blessing coming to you from Samovila and/or your face of the Greater Than. Be sure to offer Them gratitude for their support.

Be gentle with yourself after this process. Things may keep shifting within for a while. 

When the new moon arrives on Friday, you may want to make wishes for your renewed energy can create for you personally and for the world in the next lunation. Be sure to write them down to revisit at the end of the moonth. 


Reading of the Moonth: Creative Tension


For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Practices for Soul & Spirit

The arrival of the new moon stamps the moonth with an initiating energy that shifts and develops through the cycle of growth, fullness, and descent. The reading of the moonth can be done any time between the new and full moons. Revisit the cards you pull periodically up until the next lunation to gain new insight as the light changes. This new moon arrived overnight July 31 to August 1 (exact on the 31st at 11:12pm ET in the USA) . The full moon arrives on August15th.

This moonth we are invited to walk the path of Strength through the passage of the 5 of Wands.

From the Rider Waite Smith deck available from US Games

In the iconic Rider Waite Smith image, 5 figures wave staves in the air. They might be trying to create something together. They might be at odds with each other. Or they might be engaged in some kind of game and just having fun. Their ambiguous expressions – Is that one frowning? Is this one laughing? –  could support any of these scenarios, making the image a great teacher about the creative process.

Creation of the new arises out of attending to the tensions of the moment. 

For example, I write – as you may have noticed 🙂 – and to complete a piece I have to move through the tensions of the creative process. Often I get a sense of the whole of what I want to convey. The vision is perfectly formed inside my head – and then I have to communicate the wholeness with the limits of linear language. I start to write and my inner parts start raising their staves. One part of me is in a hurry to get this task done now that I vision. A second sees that something is missing and puts the breaks on the process. Another wants to seek out an inspiring quote with a Google search. And the fourth is wondering when we can take a break for lunch or tea.

My inner writing team is working at cross purposes, but I need them all. To complete the piece, I will have to both persist in meeting the goal and pause to consider how I might deepen the work. As I do, I’ll benefit from nourishing myself with inspiration from other writers words and from feeding my body.

Harnessing tension in service of the creative is necessary in all kinds of pursuits. To get things done in the workplace or volunteer activities, for example, we often have to work in groups. An influential model of group dynamics posits that all effective groups move through a storming period so members can learn how to work together and establish norms to manage inevitable tensions. Families, too, spiral through storming periods as the people within age and change. Parents must be constantly creative to adapt to changing children. And if you teach, you work with tension in all these areas: bringing the inner vision out and sharing it in groups of people who are growing because of what they learn.

What is your current creative pursuit? How does it look like the 5 of Wands?

So the 5 of Wands shows us what the process looks like, but how can work with this often challenging, sometimes chaotic energy? What attitudes and skills do we need to cultivate? The card offered for guidance by the placement of this new moon’s moment of arrival is traditionally called the King of Wands, but has names like the Guardian of Fire (Gaian Tarot) or Mystic of Candles (Numinous Tarot).

Kings, Guardians, and Mystics are always guided by their responsibility to be of service to all in the community and the Greater Than. They listen to and draw out differing perspectives to move the community toward common commitments. Even as they listen to all, they remember the greater purpose of the group: to create the piece, to accomplish the task, or to serve the Divine. When needed to keep the group aligned with its purpose, they will step in to direct or make a decision as needed. In the language of group dynamics, they offer both high support and high direction. 

The elemental influences for this card are fire and air. They are inspired, innovative, and even playful on their fire side and analytical with good communication skills on their air side.

The Guardians of Fire who I am most inspired by today are the professors of architecture and design, Ronald Real, and Virginia San Fratello. Who created a Teetertotter Wall across the US-Mexico border.

The pink and the playfulness contrasted with the gray and dark slash of the wall startle me with inspiration. This image disrupts  the current messages about what is happening at the border and what can be possible at the border. At the heart of this image are children at play.

For a moment, the Teetertotter Wall has reframed the chaos of our 5 of Wands times. For a moment, the nastiness of our national discourse has been tamed by these heart-colored seesaws. For a moment, we experience true Strength.

The rose dropped woman of Strength and her lion from the Gaian Tarot

Reflection and reading questions of the moonth for liberating your creative energy are:

CREATIVE TENSION: What tension in my life has the potential to be a creative inspiration?

LIBERATION: How can I work with this tension to liberate its energy?

GIFT: What gift will be released when I work with this creative tension?

I offer this as an e-reading in my collaborative intitituve format for $23. I have reading slots opening up at the end of the week. Sign up with Pay Pal or email me about sending a check.

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