Jan
24
2022

Invoking the Seeds with Rachel Pollack and Carolyn Cushing

For Seekers

Time: Wednesday, February 2 at 8pm ET (time zone converter)

Where: Zoom (a recording will be made for those who cannot attend in person)

To register: Visit the Greek Mysteries tour page and scroll down to the section on E-retreats where Rachel Pollack is Carolyn’s guest and click the Buy Now Button.

Together we will dive into the seed as metaphorical and real guide for renewing ourselves in the year to come. We’ll gaze upon a seed image in the Shining Tribe Tarot, explore a year-long practice for tending our seeds, and hear stories about the seeds of life and death in the stories of Demeter and Persephone. We’ll lay out a spread to guide us in growing our seeds and end with a blessing circle. This session is part of the preparation from those going on the Encounter the Mysteries of Ancient Greece tour in September. If you have a deposit down for the trip, this session is free to you. If you are considering going on the trip or are just curious about this year-long process, you are invited to attend for $23.

From the Dark Goddess Tarot

Jan
23
2022

Tending Week 3: Emergence

For Seekers – Sanctuary – Seasonal Observances

Welcome to Tending the Returning Light, the second half of our Solstice-hinged ritual and retreat-in-everyday life. To join in the ritual, you may want to find a Solstice Seed of the New (don’t worry selecting this Seed any time after the Solstice). You can join the ritual in progress this week or catch up on previous week’s theme of What Can Be Born from Our Broken Parts and Root and Reach

 The Solstice Seed emerges. After root and reach, the Seed takes form and moves out into the world. Now this Seed is both of you and beyond you, being born of your release and renewal, but responding with its own unfolding to take its place in the Whole of All Things.

To live, the Seed must change. For you to gain the gift of the Seed, you must be open to this change. A dynamic relationship between you and the Seed is required. You must tend it with the energy fed by your original longings, but also allow the Seed to grow where the light is shining. The light may call you both to surprising places if you would follow its path of fullness and shadow, if you would listen with the ears of your heart, if you would close your eyes like Justice to take a lesson from the wisdom within.

The Minoan Tarot’s Chariot is a beautiful teacher about how to flow in a cooperative movement of Self and Seed.  Ellen Lorenzi-Prince describes the image:

On a painted stone sarcophagus from the New Palace Period, the Goddess drives a chariot drawn by griffins. With the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle, the sovereign of beasts and the sovereign of birds together, griffins are especially powerful and majestic creatures, as they harness the powers of both Earth and Heaven. Yet the Goddess does not strain to hold the reins on the magical beasts. Her control is effortless.

minoan-7-chariot

The griffins of Earth and Heaven show last week’s work of the Seed’s root and reach. The single rein the Goddess holds is the focused connection of Her longing; this will help to set a direction.

But I see only one rein of conscious control in this image.

There is, however, another connection suggested. The Goddess extends her chest toward Her creatures. The heart lives in the chest. I believe Her heart is the second rein. This heart rein does not control so much as align. Her heart rein is curious about where their griffins might want to go. The heart rein is open to the journey as it unfolds. A heart rein invites new revelations.

So in this third week of Tending the Light, we ponder a trinity of questions. We might want to do this exploring as we light three candles in an evening ritual or as we spend a few minutes in observations of the sun’s movement at dusk or dawn throughout the week. The questions to ponder might be these (or modifications you make out of your own seeking):

  • Where to be active in the shaping of the Seed’s emergence?
  • How to stay open to surprising revelations of the Seed?
  • What is the message coming from my heart in this time of emergence?

Yes, take some time to tend to your heart this week. Perhaps you might find or create a poem or prayer that directs attention, support, or guidance to your heart. I’d love to hear yours. I’ll close with mine:

In the lengthening of day,

in the light of moon and shift of seasons,

in the imperishable stars that burn behind clouds,

may we meet the immensity of our hearts,

open to the rivers that flow through its chambers –

of happiness and sorrow,

of anger and compassion

of grief and joy –

and rest then wiser

in the heart’s source

that is Abundant Love,

Renewing Love,

Simply Love.

Blessed Be.

 

We conclude the seasonal ritual next week with the theme of Follow the Heart’s Light, but seeking continues throughout the year and in an exciting development will include a Greek Mysteries tour. Would you like to come?!

Jan
17
2022

Full Moon Revelations: Love to Propel Us Forward

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 17th (exact at 6:48pm ET), and offers a revelation about how the lunar energies initiated on the January 2nd new moon are developing. The new moon, guided by its association with The Devil, Three of Pentacles, and Queen of Pentacles, invited us to meet and dance with the dark as well as the light aspects of our lives and being. 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 Cancer associated with the Tarot’s Chariot archetype.  When the Devil meets up with the Chariot, a challenge is issued to align disparate—perhaps seemingly conflicting—parts of ourselves and be propelled forward from where we’ve been stuck into new territory.

The key to bringing the most powerful and appropriate energies into this work is to align with your deepest/highest values. I find in the Minoan Tarot version of the Chariot, a teaching to engage Love. When we engage Love, we may find its seeming opposites arise. 

Your love for another, could also raise up great frustration for how they do not take care of or even abuse themselves. As you allow that frustration to flow you may find it is just another facet of love. 

Your love for the earth could turn to fear for its future, our human future, the future of so many species. As you allow that fear to flow you may find it is just another facet of love. 

Your love for the dead could raise another wave of grief from within you. As you allow that grief to flow you may find it is just another facet of love. 

Your love for people you do not know but that you see are suffering because of the injustice of our systems may raise in you a rage. As you allow that rage to flow you may find it is just another facet of love.

Weaving these elements together instead of setting them apart increased the power of the energy you have for moving forward in your life, toward your goals, into this new year. 

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 Devil and Chariot 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 is my heart’s desire? How can I be focused and directed in seeking my heart’s desire? How can I just go with the flow to seek my heart’s desire? Where can my love lead me? When I tap into my love what other emotions arise? How can I harness all that arises to move forward in my life? 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 January 29th. offer your gift to the world.

Full Moon Note for us in the U.S.A.: Today we mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but this year the King family has called not for celebration but for meaningful action, especially around voting rights. For example, today or this week you may want to call your legislators and ask them about what they are doing to push for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. You could also call the White House comment line (202-456-1414 from 11am to 3pm, not open on the holiday) and ask for the same influence to be exerted for voting rights as it was for bridges and infrastructure. You might want to find a local or national group working on Voting Rights and mobilizing those whose voting rights have been challenged such as Fair Fight or the Working Families Party. On Tuesday night, the 18th, Georgia Working Families Party is hosting an event on Dr. King’s vision of multiracial organizing. This year our action is our celebration. 

Jan
16
2022

Tending Week 2: Root and Reach

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

Welcome to Tending the Returning Light, the second half of our Solstice-hinged ritual and retreat-in-everyday life. To join in the ritual, you may want to find a Solstice Seed of the New (don’t worry selecting this Seed any time after the Solstice). We are at the end of this second week of the retreat. You can join the ritual in progress this week or catch up on last week’s theme of What Can Be Born from Our Broken Parts

The Solstice Seed of the New bursts the constraints of its casing. The potential of the elemental seed breaks apart, leaves the protective cocoon in response to the promise of growing light. In the natural world here in the Northern Hemisphere, the twilight lingers a bit longer and glimpsing even this small increase lifts our spirits when we pause to note this subtle change. Demetra George in Mysteries of the Dark Moon calls this period Light Ascending when “the symbolic seed establishes its root and stem structure.”

Our seeds must root and reach.

The work of the seed to establish itself is two-fold and divergent. The seed – and our vision of it grown and mature – must reach toward the heights and our soul’s greater aspirations, but to do that the seed must be rooted in a soil that gives it support from which to grow.  The Visionary (Major Arcana IX) of Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s newest deck, The Minoan Tarot, expresses this balance beautifully in words and image:

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.

Visionary

Soul tending working is, at its essence, about the acceptance and balancing of elements that may seem to be in opposition but exist as necessary complements to each other. Our dance with the tension between them is how we meet and move into our soul, that fullness of self that includes root and reach, body and spirit, and, as Celtic scholar and poet John O’Donohue points us to, belonging and longing.

In Eternal Echoes, O’Donohue writes, “The hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature,” and it is the natural world that is one of our greatest teachers about how to belong. The rhythm of the natural world with its stable stones, planted trees, and returning tides instruct us in what it means to belong. “The art of belonging is the recovery of the wisdom of rhythm.”

And within this belonging is the beginning of longing; to hunger is to long. O’Donohue talks about the small voice that calls you to quest: “It is the voice of the eternal longing within you, and it confirms you as a relentless pilgrim on the earth. There is something within you that no one or nothing else in the world is able to meet or satisfy. … This eternal longing will always insist on some door remaining open. … When you befriend this longing, it will keep you awake and alert to why you are here on earth.”

So in this second week of Tending the Returning Light, you are invited to light two candles in the moments when day and night meet. See if you can sense the extra minute of daylight each day. What does it take to tune your awareness to this subtle shift? Now bring your heightened awareness to the Seed you’ve been tending since Solstice. What is happening in the life of this seed in the lengthening light?

You might think of one candle as the Candle of Root, of the Body, of Belonging. You could meditate upon its light and draw Tarot/oracle cards as prompts for insight into questions such as:

  • What grounding roots does this Seed need to grow?
  • How does this Seed root me more deeply in my values … my body … my landscape … the earth?
  • What is the earth dreaming in me through this Seed?
  • What does this Seed need to belong in my life?
  • What does this Seed teach me about the necessity of belonging?

You might think of the other candle as the Candle of Reach, of Spirit, of Longing. You could meditate upon its light and draw Tarot/oracle cards as prompts for insights into questions such as:

  • What is the Seed inviting me to reach for?
  • What is the message of Spirit coming to me through this Seed?
  • What is the Eternal dreaming in me through this Seed?
  • What longing does this Seed awaken in me?
  • How does this Seed keep me awake and alert to why I am here on the earth?

May your exploring be fruitful with both insight and mystery!

If you are inspired by this image from the Minoan Tarot, you are invited to check out the Greek Mysteries tour happening in September 2022. You could come look for your own visionary guide in Greece! 

Jan
9
2022

Tending the Returning Light Week One: What Can Be Born of Our Broken Parts

For Seekers – From Art of Change Tarot – Sanctuary – Seasonal Observances

Welcome to Tending the Returning Light, the second half of our Solstice-hinged ritual and retreat-in-everyday life. To join in the ritual, you may want to find a Solstice Seed of the New (don’t worry selecting this Seed any time after the Solstice is just fine and New Year’s Day is a great time for doing so). In the weeks to come, we will will be meeting the Seed and gaining guidance for manifesting its gifts throughout the coming year. I’ll be doing weekly posts, but if you’d like more support your can join the e-retreat which is delivered via daily e-mails that break the weeks’ themes into daily reflections, a weekly virtual sharing circle, and an Overview Booklet.

Before the Solstice, we embraced the darkness, released the no-longer-needed into its dark nurture, and imagined the seed of the new planted in the compost of what we’d released. Then we gathered in holidays celebrations filled with sparkle and fire. Lit candles at tables of feasting. Circled bonfires sending a river of sparks up to find the sun. We exuberantly invited new light into our lives.

But January’s nights are still long. The light is as slim as the crescent moon, as small as the pin prick shine of distant stars. To tend this light is an act of hope and faithfulness. We might take the Spider Woman who spins her web on the Dark Goddess Tarot’s Star card as a guide. Ellen Lorenzi Prince-Prince writes of the power and wisdom of this Hopi Goddess of Thought and Creation in her Dark Goddess Companion book:

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. In another tale, she keeps the rising sky from leaving the world entirely by spinning web lines day and night to tie heaven to earth and preserve her creation.

 

Spider Woman

Heaven sends its light to earth, and the Seed we planted at Solstice, so small itself, feels the quiet invitation: “Come, Emerge. Begin.”

Your seed is responding to what Demetra George, author of Mysteries of the Dark Moon, calls Light Quickening, which is the Crescent phase of the moon’s cycle and corresponds to January and the post-holiday season in the solar cycle. In Mysteries of the Dark Moon, she writes, “The symbolic seed breaks out of its seed casing and pushes it first shoots above ground.”

How we break is how we grow.

The urge to present ourselves as images of perfection, achievement, and control are reinforced by deep roots (the Puritan belief that being bound for heaven could be seen in success while living, for example) and surface reflections (commercials around the holidays, for example, or pretty much any time), but the truth is we are imperfect and constantly breaking. We lose jobs, love, and money. Forces beyond our control buffet us. Things don’t turn out as planned and we are disappointed.

When this breaking happens, the forces of perfection tempt us to turn on ourselves and others with criticism, doubt, shame, or just trying to escape. But in this place of Light Quickening guided by Spider Woman, we are invited to a more gentle approach, one that cultivates qualities such authenticity, self-compassion, and joy. These are some of the qualities that researcher and writer Brene Brown explores in The Gifts of Imperfection. She defines them drawing from her research on shame, vulnerability, and wholehearted living:

  • Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.
  • Self-compassion includes being kind to oneself; recognizing that suffering and feeling inadequate are shared by all humanity; and mindfully paying attention to all our emotions but not over-identifying with them either.
  • Joy, which comes from the Greek word chairo meaning “culmination of being,” flows to us when our hearts open to connect to Spirit and gratitude, both when we are happy and when we are challenged.

When our lives – and our seeds – break and are met with authenticity rather than shame, with self-compassion rather than self-criticism, and with joy rather a closed-down heart, then we grow. We are still broken, but we grow.

Ritual

In this first week of Tending the Returning Light, you are invited to gather the elements of a candle wreath / ritual focal point, including four candles to represent the light and something like a bowl of dark water to represent the dark in the light.

As many nights as you are inspired or able to this week, light the first candle to representing light growing in the season as well as your emerging Seed. Surround your Seed with Tarot or oracle cards pulled to show you what is most important to pay attention to to grow authenticity, self-compassion, and joy in your life.

Tend the returning light, wait for its emergence. Know we are all held in a web of connection. When one of us grows, the whole web expands.

The seasonal ritual continues next week with the theme of Root and Reach. Follow along on the blog or join the e-retreat.

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