Celebrating Walk Through the Forest of Souls


Rachel Pollack’s Walk Through the Forest of Souls is out!

And on May 10th we are celebrating and spreading the word about Walk Through the Forest of Souls being re-issued by Weiser Books. Please join us to create an echo chamber for Rachel and let people know what an amazing book this is! 

Ideas for the 10th include any of the following activities—or any inspiration they spark—on your social media channels:

  • Use the hashtag #walkthroughtheforestofsouls for anything you do on social media. Rachel very specifically wanted Walk included in the title!
  • Share a personal testimonial about your love for and/what you’ve learned from reading A Walk Through the Forest of Souls. 
  • Share the link to the free sample:
  • Pull a quote from the book and share it on social media. 
  • Make a video in which you share one of the wisdom readings from the book. 
  • In post, text, tweet or video share about how Rachel and/or the book has influenced your Tarot life. 
  • Include the link for ordering from Weiser:

Special happenings that we know of (so far) are: 

  • Jenna Matlin and I are doing a livestream to talk about the book and explore the Opening the Heart reading on the 10th at 3pm ET. There will be special guests. Jenna’s hosting You can tune into 
  • Ellen Lorenzi-Prince will be on Facebook for two hours in the morning and two in the evening, from 9am to 11am and 6pm to 8pm PDT. Wisdom readings only, as described by Rachel in the book. All questions answered will seek wisdom about something greater than oneself.
  • Benebell Wen gives us a walk through of God’s Reading from A Walk Through the Forest of Souls
  • Follow the FB event to see new additions: ​​ 

Feel free to forward this to others who you think would like to join in on the fun. This is an organic, emergent strategy so do what feels right and in the spirit of Rachel’s work. We are just catalyzing the action and tending the fire over here. 



Reading of the Moonth: Conduits of Power

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

Each year the first moonth of spring invites us to contemplate power as we walk the path of the Emperor, the 4th card of the Major Arcana. Also known as the Chief, Builder, or Sovereignty, for example, this wisdom figure when working from their greatest potential recognizes the source of their power and yields to it in service of the Whole.

This year both the March 21st and April 20th new moon are associated with the Emperor. And the April 20th new moon is also a solar eclipse (the moon will block the sun from view in some places on earth). Eclipses give new moons what is said to be a stronger energy. The influence of these moons lasts for 6 months, rippling out until the next eclipse season. They are a disruption of the normal relationship of sun and moon so invite us to be different, too. Working with an eclipsed moon, you can make a 6 month plan or dedication for a project, practice, or period of contemplation of a theme. 

So we are in a time when Power can be gathered and broken, remade and released. We can shake loose the hold that paradigms of Power based on the patriarchy or capitalism or systems build on oppression have on our mind. 

We can continue our exploring along Power path as it is shaped by its passage through the landscape and symbols of the 4 of Wands. In the iconic Rider Waite Smith image, two festive figures ahead of a crowd—perhaps it’s a parade—approach the four wands arranged to hint at a structure, but there are no walls. The “ceiling” is indicated by a garland of leaves and flowers, but creates little separation between the earth and sky. This structure is temporary, making its existence fleeting, but also easy to move and re-create.

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

The 4 of Wands’ open walls, temporary nature, and maneuverability reflect an understanding of power different from what I have experienced in mainstream culture. The messages I’ve received—how ‘bout you?—are that power is limited so to be grabbed, held on to, and defended in the form you receive it. If you let go, you’ll lose it.

While contemplating 4 of Wands power, I read Grieving While Black by Breeshia Wade (Especially for USAers, I highly recommend this book. It’s only 165 pages, but it is the kind of book that you ponder and meditate on rather than speed through.) In chapter 6, she explores power, and writes:

Though we have perverted the use of power into something that we own and wield over and against other beings, power cannot be possessed any more than life can. We are conduits of power, not owners of it. Power is a force that flows through us in any given moment. It wields us, and through it, we respond to what is in front of us. 

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

Flowing power contains everything so to swim in it we must receive and pass power to our fellow human beings but also to nature and even the celestial bodies. Yes, I think, opening to new moon energies, developing them through the full, and releasing into the dark can be a beneficial practice for cultivating 4 of Wands power. Just think of what it would be like if every 28 days, politicians, or white folks, for example, consciously passed something of their power on to another. Ah, I can dream; we are in the realm of the moon after all.

This moonth as spring arrives to awaken plant life we are invited to give extra attention to how power flows between us and the earthly, natural forces by our posture card associated with the new moon moment: the King of Pentacles or, as this wisdom figure is known in the Herbcrafter Tarot, the Curandera of Earth.

Deck creators Latisha Gutherie and Joanna Powell Colbert describe the work of this wise one and suggest how we can walk in her footsteps: The Curandera of Earth knows that when we share the sweetness of life with another, all may thrive. She brings attention to the rich bounty that nature provides. She instructs us: Braid together love, health, and wealth—then give it away.

This moonth’s questions for reflection / reading are offered to support your being a conduit of power:

POWER: What power desires to flow through me?

RECEIVING: How can I open to receive this power?

RELEASING: How can I let it go?

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.


A Cento for Rachel Pollack

For Grievers – Poetry – Practices for Soul & Spirit – Tarot

The first three days 

After a month

Forty-nine days 

The first anniversary 

Nine years of anniversaries 

These are all markers of time for accompanying our beloveds after their death. They take us to the burial or memorial service and beyond. We so need the beyond because the honor of mourning and the work of grief are not done quickly. 

These markers of time come from traditions that are old. You might recognize them as Jewish or Buddhist or Dominican Catholic. But they are also recently invented.  This work of invention might be best described with the words that Ellen Lorenzi Prince gives to the Welsh Goddess Cerridwen in the Dark Goddess Tarot: “Craft anew with the bones of the old.” 

The old bones of tradition can become brittle and when we follow them without thinking they don’t serve us. But renew them with fresh fire of inspiration and the deep waters of grief and their power is restored.   

The number is less important than the intention. The number is so much less that all that flows from our broken open heart. 

Right now I am grieving my beloved Tarot teacher and friend Rachel Pollack along with so many others. Maybe you reading these words are grieving her, too. How are you marking these first days without her here on earth with us? 

As I am writing these words a thought sparks in my mind that this approach would work for Rachel! She starts her A Walk Through the Forest of Souls (being reissued by Weiser on May 1 so get yourself a copy) with a gallery of quotations that includes one from her novel Unquenchable Fire: “There are no rules except discovery. There is no tradition but invention.” 

After the last memorial circle following my late partner John’s sudden death, all the official happenings were over, but I wasn’t done. I had the idea in my mind that something happened after 40 days so I googled that. I didn’t get 40 days but 49 days from the Buddhist tradition. I didn’t follow Buddhist tradition, but I started counting 49 days from John’s death date and arrived at the Winter Solstice 2012. You may remember all the hullabaloo around that day being either the end of the world or the re-birth of the next one. I smiled and laughed and cried for that being John’s 49th day—he’d need a day that big to travel out of life into death. I  stumbled my way through to the 21st with daily prayers and a huge bonfire at the end. 

I’ve continued the practice for others close to me—my mother in 2020—and sometimes those I don’t know—those killed by the police, for example—but who are part of our collective story as a country. My prayers and practices vary depending on the person. 

On Saturday—the day after her death—I began for Rachel. As I do reflexively when I am split open I reached for her Shining Tribe, but what to do with it over the 49 days

I recently discovered the poem form of the cento in which a poem is composed entirely of lines by other poets. It’s an old form, dated from the third or fourth century. Cento is Italian from 100 so that can be the length, but I’ve seen contemporary poets use varying lengths. 

I decided to pull a Shining Tribe card each day and gather lines from the poems written by Rachel to start the write up of each card. The first cards were quite extraordinary: Death, High Priestess, and the Six of Trees (the Six of Trees was drawn on the day she was buried). I remind and promise you that these cards were drawn “randomly.” Here are the lines gathered from them to start the 49 day cento:

She swims in the evening

She rests in the sunshine

She talks with the serpents

She knows all the secrets

She walks like a singer

Through the forest of souls.

And so we begin on the path of 49 days. I’ll share the cento when it is done. The words will be Rachel’s so they will be marvelous. 

You can find out more about my 49 day practice here. You are invited to be part of memorializing Rachel by helping with the costs of putting up the headstone on her grave.


Full Moon Revelations: The Emperor Meets Justice

For Seekers – Moonthly Renewal – Sanctuary

The height of this lunar cycle comes in the days around the full moon arriving overnight April 5th to 6th (exact at 12:34 am ET, time zone converter), and offers a revelation about how the energies initiated on the March 21st new moon are developing. That new moon, guided by its association with The Emperor, invites exploration of power and a joining with others in expressing our power from within. Out of the full moon revelation, we are issued an invitation to return a gift to the world in the final weeks of the cycle.  

The astro-Tarot correspondences align this full moon with Justice, the archetype of social and spiritual justice, cause and effect, truth, right order, and balance. So during this full moon time, Emperors – and all of us walking the Emperor’s path this moonth – stand in Justice’s light to be judged on how they have exercised their power in service to the Whole.

In 2020 the new and full moons had similar timing and I experimenting with sharing my lunar musings via video. Some of my musings were specific to our pandemic situation, but the wisdom found in the cards seems still so applicable. You can lick through to explore more about this 2020 encounter with “the lunar diamond” that can concentrate our power, and the wisdom of Rachel Pollack‘s Raziel Tarot.

To continue to grow our power offered in service of Justice, Love, and the Whole during these full moon days, you might do one or combine all of these practices:

  • Moon bathe by sitting or lying under a window or outside on the ground. Feel the unique strength of the moon’s light. Let go of your thoughts and soak in the glow.
  • 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 The Emperor and Justice 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 the questions raised from this alignment of The Emperor and Justice: How to ground myself in Love to serve Justice? How to best express my power from within? What shadow or constriction do I need to look at to liberate my power? What is my unique way of being active for Justice at this time? Feel free to pull cards to gain insight into 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 April 18th, offer your gift to the world.



New Moon Initiation: Power-From-Within

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

The arrival of the new moon stamps the moonth with an initiating energy that shifts and develops through a cycle of growth, fullness, and descent.  Each moonth I look to the Tarot’s astrological correspondences for the new moon to find 3 cards (a Major, a numbered Minor, and a court/people card) to guide musings on soul tending, selection of prompts for personal/spiritual practice, and creation of a moonthly reading. The reading can be done any time, but 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. 

The conflicts brewing today are only superficially questions of who will take power. Underneath is a deeper struggle: to change the nature of the power in which our society is rooted.
Starhawk, Truth or Dare

The March 21st new moon (exact at 1:23pm ET) starts us on the path of the Emperor, who calls us to renew our vision of power. Wiccan teacher and activist Starhawk offers a model for encountering the fullness of power by naming 3 different aspects:

  • Power-over
  • Power-from-within
  • Power-with.   

Before you read my musings on these forms of power or Starhawk’s original ideas, take a moment to let this way of naming power work on you and evoke your own feelings and ideas about power. What surfaces?

Then read below and/or check out Starhawk’s ideas and think about: What resonates with your ideas? What do you disagree with? How might your ideas be synthesized with these other ideas? This reflection can support you to articulate your own understanding of power and how you use it in your life.

Using the Motherpeace Tarot cards associated with the new moon moment—Path of the Emperor through the Passage 2 of Wands in the Posture of the Queen of Wands – we see examples of each of the different aspects of power Starhawk proposes.

The Motherpeace Emperor wears the mask of power-over. This type of power operates through domination and grows from an understanding of the world as one of separation and hierarchy: God is removed from and above the human; the human is removed from and above the earth; people from different tribes, groups, or nation are in competition with each other, viewing their own group as superior.

Control, and violence – both in overt forms such as war and subtle ones that shape and limit our consciousness – are the tools of power-over. The Emperor contains this power-over energy within its range of meaning. In the Motherpeace deck, the Emperor shown is Alexander, the Great, who ruled much of the ancient Western world after taking control by conquest. Today’s authoritarian leaders across the globe are echoes of Alexander and employ the tactics of power-over.

Some of them are quite good at their brutal game. If we fought them with their tactics, we would likely lose, but there is more than one kind of power.

The vision of power-from-within is shown on the Two of Wands. A woman tunes into her inner sight and from it flows a vision of another to teach her a skill she needs to learn. This teacher might be her own wisdom that emerges when she steps away from the critique and noise of the wider world. Or it might be an ancestor offering her needed guidance. No matter the source, the gift offered will sustain the woman and her community. 

Attuned to power-from-within, we are able to bring forth our unique spark of wisdom and offer it to the world. This kind of power is visionary, creative, connected. When we flow with power-from-within we fully trust our inner voices of guidance as well as recognize a connection to something greater than ourselves. There is no disconnection between serving the Whole and being ourselves. Energized by power-from-within, people manifest their visions.

The Priestess (Queen) of Wands shows us how power-from-within supports a third kind of power: power-with. The Priestess does not walk alone; she walks naked with a lion. Her nakedness here is an expression of her comfort with showing off her power-from-within. No need to hide her light! She is joined to the lion. They support each other on the journey, becoming more powerful through their connection. When we, women and men, who embrace power-from-within join together, we can overcome the tactics of power-over.

There is no sure fix, linear progress, or quick timeline for shifting power dynamics. Power-over, after all, has been dominant for millenia. But power-over is not the power that makes change. Power-over wants to preserve the Towers it has built, but when dramatic change comes and knocks down the Tower, it is power-with that repairs the destruction. Power-with generates the needed change.

The last time we were initiated by this moon position, we were in the first days of the March 2020 pandemic lockdowns. Those of us who could stay home stayed home because it was the only strategy we knew of to flatten the curve and save lives. Our separation became connection. As the pandemic continued, mutual aid groups in neighborhoods and on social media formed to ensure all received support. These groups were guided by principles of solidarity rather than charity with those in need driving decision making. Meanwhile the government response was chaotic and the messaging confusing.

Stuck in our houses and glued to our screens, we watched with our own horrified eyes as police murdered George Floyd. The streets swelled with protestors and a broad cross section of people embraced Black Lives Matter. In cities and towns across the country, people began pressuring for change in their local police departments, knowing they wouldn’t change by themselves.

The power-over Emperor wasn’t coming to save us so we had to save ourselves.  As we saved ourselves, we created new webs of power-with connections. 

Social commentators and the media have questioned the staying power of these power-with actions of 2020. Rightly they have noted that many mutual aid groups have dissolved and Black Lives Matter activism declined. I sense a judgment of the groups as failures because they have not sustained themselves or achieved certain policy goals. But the judgment is misplaced. It is really the power-over institutions that have failed to sustain and adapt the innovations of mutual aid and the policies of the Black Lives Matter movement.

And the power-with connections are not lost. Connection is not like a Tower that can be smashed and broken. Connections ebb and flow, but they can be returned to so they once again flow into groups that meet the need of the moment. Mutual aid societies, for example, are not new. They are perhaps ancient and certainly have roots in the US in the late 1700 when formerly enslaved people organized themselves into the Free African Society. The Black Lives Matter movement came into being in 2013. Was the first time it was declared “dead” in 2014 or was it later? Well, then certainly it was resurrected in 2020.

The strategist Bill Moyer mapped eight stages of social movements and detailed how it is often when a movement is closest to victory it perceives itself to have failed. Because we can’t know if we are on the cusp of victory or a true defeat, we are called to contribute our power-from-with to the power-with efforts. If we don’t, the only clear winner will be the power-over Emperor.

Reflection Questions / Reading of 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. You might carry cards pulled, too, and see what they want to interact with in the world.

POWER: What is your power-from-within that the world needs now?
EXPRESSION: How to express this power?
MANIFESTATION: What can you manifest to tip the balance ever more away from power-over to power-with?

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.

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