Jun
12
2022

Full Moon Revelations: Keep Moving Forward

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

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving Tuesday, June 14th (exact at 7:51am ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the May 30th new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with the Lovers and 8 of Swords invited us to take the next step.  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 Sagittarius associated with the Tarot’s Temperance card

From The Gaian Tarot

The wisdom figure of Temperance takes opposing elements and creates something entirely new. They work with focus and determination rather than speed. This lesson of this way of working complements our new moon invitation to take the next step on the path of Love. Now that we are under the light of the full Temperance moon we see or sense that we can take another step and then another. We don’t have to rush but we are called to keep moving forward. 

For how long? Toward what? The Futurist and Fame Designer Jane McGonigal in her new book Imaginable (I read an excerpt on Slate), say 10 years. To make her case for 10 as the “magic number” (her words), she lists social and technological changes that took 10 years to reach a major success: US Civil Rights (1955-1964), the fall of apartheid in South African (1985-1996), Facebook growing from 1 to one billion users (2004-2015), and Zoom moving from being tested to becoming our pandemic communication tool (2011-2020). She invites readers to imagine what they want to achieve in 10 years and to literally put a deadline on your 2032 calendar. Something that far off in the distance allows for spaciousness—rather than short term limited thinking—in working toward it and a sense of possibility that it could be accomplished. The energy of determination and transformation offered by the Temperance full moon might provide just the right light for your seeing and committing to an inspiring vision.

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 Lovers and Temperance 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/who can help me to stay focused on Love? What do I need to bring together to cultivate more Love in my life? Who can aid me in walking the path of Love?  What are the new, perhaps surprising, realities that are emerging from walking the pathways of Love? What is being transformed within me through my dedication to Love? 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 June 25th. offer your gift to the world.

Jun
12
2022

Solstice Strawberry Practice

For Seekers – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Seasonal Observances

At its heart, this is a very simple practice.

Eat Strawberries on the Summer Solstice

On or close to the actual Solstice moment, stand in a field and eat a strawberry. Let yourself be in communion with the berry and the landscape and the sun.

Freeze Strawberries on the Summer Solstice

Rinse the berries and remove the stems. Place on a baking tray and slide it into the freezer. Once the strawberries are frozen, transfer to a container or freezer bag. Be sure to note that these are the strawberries harvested on the Summer Solstice.

Eat Summer Solstice Berries on the Winter Solstice

Enjoy them simply as a dessert or make them a centerpiece of a bonfire ritual.

 

Doing this simple practice last year connected me to light and dark, life and death, heat and cold, and made me aware of the spirit in the material. It was – to use an overused word with its original depth – awesome. To taste the awesome regularly need not be complicated but it is totally necessary to keep moving through these turbulent times in which we live.

Adding Layers to Deepen the Practice

Add oracular elements 

Bring your favorite divination tool to the field and divine aligned with the berries.

Last Solstice I took cards from Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe Tarot with me to the strawberry field and the 6 of Trees emerged to help me hear a message from the berries.

Rachel says that a key meaning of this card is to keep moving forward. The card meaning and the strawberry reality offered me this message: To keep moving forward create sweet moments in your life. This was an affirmation of my choice to take time from my busy life to engage in my strawberry ritual—and a reminder to build these ritual pauses into my life. Though they are moments when I am not focused on meeting a deadline or reaching a destination, they are moment of regeneration necessary for moving forward.

In the Shining Tribe companion book, Rachel introduces this card with a poem that ends: She walks like a singer,/through the forest of souls. The single human figure is surrounded many souls—of the trees, the earth, a snake  symbols, and the creature that follows her. This has me recognizing the soul of the strawberry and pondering how this bright berry grows from the soul of the landscape. Flowing with these strawberry revelations, I am released for a while from the mechanistic worldview that shaped me. I float instead in the sacred and its web of connections. The mechanistic worldview is deep within me so will pull me back, but now I’ve met the soul of the strawberry I can’t forget it.  I’ve been changed by this recognition and will seek again and again to experience, share, and expand this way of looking at the Strawberry.

Learn about the medicinal and/or magical uses of the strawberry

In many areas of my life, I’m quick to try out new things and experiment even without much knowledge of a subject. But not with plants. Here I have been unadventurous. But as I’ve worked with and been taught by Yesbelt Fernandez of Yes Spiral through our collaboration on Walking the Ways of the Summer Light my ability to work with plants has grown. Yesbelt models a comfort with plants gained from developing an relationship with them that is inspiring. She doesn’t claim to be an expert in all things herbal, but a lover of plants who shares what she knows. She invites everyone to do the same. So since I know I am not allergic to strawberries, I’m looking into using strawberries for teeth and gum care at least while they are in season. Perhaps I can cut down at least a little bit on products that come in plastic tubs!

Explore indigenous stories about strawberries

Wild strawberries are native to—or have been around for millennia in—the Americas, Europe, and Asia so there are many stories to explore. Given its heart shape, it is not surprising to have associations with European Goddesses pop up related to the strawberry in a Google search, though this traditions don’t seem to be that detailed or significant.

Strawberry creation stories from the Native American Indian tradition are widespread. The Nipmuck of the Central Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley where I live have a story of the finding and sharing of berries leading to the ending of their quarrels between a brother and sister. The story told on this site ends with:

Each year when the strawberry festival is held it is customary for anyone holding a grudge against someone to invite that person to the festival as a token of forgiveness. Anyone who is not ready to make peace with an estranged friend or relative should not take part in the strawberry festival.

It is a lovely story and—like this strawberry Solstice practice I’ve been sharing—rather simple. But the implications of its connection to forgiveness are deep and challenging. This story offers me the teaching that if we do not take active steps to seek and offer forgiveness then we can not partake of the sweetness of the season.

This invites us to practice forgiveness in the Solstice season.

On an individual level, each of us might want to offer an apology and bring strawberries to the one we have wronged. A forgiveness practice includes both words and actions.

On a societal level and to honor how this practice has come to us through the Native tradition, the US and US state governments can seek forgiveness from tribal nations for the theft of land, genocidal policies, cultural desecration, and abuses of the residential school system with both words and action. It is not impossible to do; there are models, work has begun. In Canada, an apology has been issued and some reparations made.  In the state of Maine, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission documented the abuse of Wabanaki children in the social welfare system and promoted decolonization and healing. But the work is far from done. The longer the abuse has been perpetrated, the longer the healing will take. Deep national wounds do not heal in one season. The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition was created in 2011 to promote a national strategy and cultivate healing; you can see their advocacy goals here.

The benefit of devoting ourselves to a forgiveness practice in the Solstice season is that can call on healing power and soul strength of Strawberry to aid us.

Jun
12
2022

Fire Connection – Walking the Ways Week 4

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

This is the first daily email for our fire-focused week of Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. Emails the rest of the week support:

  • contemplating fire as a natural element and from the Tarot tradition;
  • going out for a wisdom wander in nature with cards in hand; and
  • finding a question that will illuminate the way forward on your soul’s journey.

This prepares us to celebrate next week’s Solstice. I have been inspired by the Solstices as points in the year when Light and Dark joyfully reunite like lovers who’ve been separated. They traveled alone for a while to tend their own nature, but the Solstice is their re-connection point. 

Words to Inspire

Isn’t it time to turn your heart into a temple of fire?

Rumi

Wisdom Image

Central image from the Shining Tribe, which connects Tress to suit of Fire

Prompts for Practice 

Today you are invited to contemplate fire in one or all of these ways:
  • gazing at the image above or your favorite Tarot card from the suit connected to fire (most commonly the suit with titles like Wands, Staves, or Trees);
  • basking in the light of the sun or moon; or
  • imagining the energy that flows through a field of flowers, a stand of trees, or the multitude of cells that burn within you.
Then ponder your connection to and understanding of the element of fire.  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 fire element (from the Tarot’s fire suit, or connecting physically with fire and energy, or from your spiritual tradition’s teachings about fire?
  • How have you encountered fire in your life?
  • What lessons might fire offer you?
  • What might you receive from some time spent connecting with fire and energy?
  • What gifts can you offer to fire?
Just let ideas spark within you. No need to be comprehensive, just be open to what comes.
***

It’s not too late to join us for Walking the Ways. In fact, coming along for the final weeks can support you to gain the gifts of the season and experience the ritual in microcosm. You’ll have the experience of attuning to an element to find a question that tends your soul. Find prompts for celebrating the Solstice. In the final week you’ll be supported to find the answer to your question guided by Tarot, oracles, nature, and your intuition on a Pilgrimage journey. If you would like to join us, just send $32 via PayPal and I will add you to the list for the last weeks.

No matter how you mark the day, may the Solstice bring you illumination!

May
29
2022

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.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS / READING FOR THE MOONTH

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.

May
16
2022

Full Moon Revelations: Ancestors Speaking in Flowers

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

The height of this moonth’s cycle comes with the full moon arriving overnight tonight, the 15th to the 16th (exact at 12:14am ET on the 16th), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the April 30th  new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with the Teacher face of the Hierophant invited us to expand our understanding of who our teachers are. Out of our full moon revelations 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 Death card. As I wisdom wandered through the last few weeks, I encountered a tiny but powerful teacher in a spring ephemeral with a message about Death. Here is the story. 

Wandering along the Mill River pathway, I encountered my first flowering Trout Lilies of the season. They raised their yellow petals just above the dead leaf litter on a turning of the path. I paused, then pulled from my notebook one of the handful of Tarot cards I carried.

The Ancestor emerged and I felt a wave of that deepest kind of knowing wash over me. Of course, the Ancestor who has traveled through Death is the mirror to this miracle of a spring’s flowering. All life today comes from a passing away of what has come before. The dead leaves become the soil. The soil is the breakdown of all plants and animals, even us humans in our bones and ash, the flesh released. The release from one form is the beginning of becoming another.

And here were the Ancestors shape shifting into Trout Lilies. I stood in the circle of their power. 

The specific Tarot card I drew was from the Minoan Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. It is number 13 of the Major Arcana, usually named Death. In this version of the card the connection between the living and the dead is highlighted. The living descendant is shown as a small figure raising up a bowl in offering to the larger figure of the Ancestor.

Ellen describes the ritual depicted as “seeking to bridge the gap of silence and of breath, and the gap between glory and grief.”  She says of the Ancestors, “If they would speak, one could learn the reality of the past, and understand how to better live in the present.” 

Standing in their presence, I felt the Ancestors were speaking through the flowering of the Trout Lilies. What were they saying? Before I tell you my thoughts, pause and think about what you see in this image of flower and card and leaf. What might the ancestors be saying to you?

What I “heard” was:

Grow. 

Rise up out of what is dying in your world—because Death is always happening—and dare to work to make it beautiful. 

Ellen has also offered wonderful wisdom on Love. In the voice of Freya, the Norse Goddess of Love and Beauty, she tells us, “Love is power made beautiful.

Trout Lilies would seem to have very little power. They rise just a few inches from earth and live for only  a few days. But their power is awesome, they take death, re-shape it, and make it beautiful.

Our world is breaking apart. The rubble, real and symbolic, is the leaf litter in which we stand. But the Ancestors implore us still to rise, take the rubble, re-make it into beauty.

This one example of the experiences I have when wisdom wandering. If you’d like a container of support for finding your own revelations in the meeting and mixing of the natural world and divinatory tools, you are invited to Walking the Ways of the Summer Light. We’ll be wandering, connecting to nature, divining, and herb crafting in the places where we live. Then gather virtually for ritual and sharing our experiences. The retreat runs for 6 weeks from Sunday, May 23rd to Friday, July 1.

In this 6 year (2+0+2+2=6 which is the number of the Lovers in the Tarot’s Major Arcana), our guide for the season is Love in all its forms and phases. Find out more and register on the overview page

To encourage revelation about this moonth’s 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.

~ 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 trythe one from the new moon.)

~ Bring out your Hierophant/Teacher 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 such as: What does Death have to teach me? How can I bring Life out of Death? Who/what can be my teacher of the Death to Life transformation? What teachings are my ancestors offering me? How can I open to receive their message? How can I act on their message? 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 May 27th offer your gift to the world.

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.