Tending the Returning Light

A ritual observation of the season
to support shape shifting into the new year.


You are invited to join fellow seekers in Carolyn Cushing’s virtual Soul Path Sanctuary where we have been observing the Solsticetide. We began by Waiting with the Dark. Then we found a Solstice Seed of the New to nurture through 2019. On December 31st, we will begin to Tend the Returning Light.



This soul-tending time supports tuning into and moving from your fullest self to cultivate:

  • renewing Love
  • inspired vision
  • purposeful action
  • connection to the Greater Whole

The elements of Tending the Returning Light are:

  • Prompts for rituals to do in your own home with candles and cards
  • Inspiration from the Tarot’s and nature’s wisdom images
  • Invitations to find the gifts in both the light and the dark
  • An overall flow to the ritual that moves you meaningfully through a change-making / soul-tending process of renewal

The ritual is delivered to you in multiple formats so you can participate in the way that works best for you, including one or all options:

  • An overview booklet so you can see the flow of the whole ritual that began with Waiting with the Dark before the Solstice and continues with Tending the Returning Light through the start of February.
  • Daily e-mails begining Monday, January 1st to help you build a little ritual and seasonal awareness into each day
  • A private Facebook group for sharing with fellow seekers the wisdom you are gleaning from the ritual
  • Weekly tele/video sessions on Wednesday evenings at 9pm ET to explore the weekly themes, offer guided meditations, and serve as a way to share with fellow seekers. Recordings that include theme info and meditations (but not group sharing) be available for those who can’t come on the live session.

All for only $32

Details on Tending the Returning Light

Simple steps bring us closer to living from our fullest selves – from our souls – and finding wisdom, solace, beauty, and joy in each day. But the fast-paced world around us doesn’t support our movement in these nurturing directions.

Solsticetide is the time around the shortest day and longest night when religious and secular holidays abound.  During these days, we can find a Solstice Seed of the new to gestate as the light returns and to nurture all through 2019.  To find your seed, you may want to set aside a little time for ritual, including:

  • Identifying what you need to release and let go of before setting off into the next cycle of light and the new year. You might sit in the dark and imagine what you want released being taken into the dark to be composted, to be transformed.
  • Light candles and celebrate your new lightness.
  • Pull a Tarot or oracle card or find an image in nature to represent your Solstice Seed of the New. Before jumping to meaning making, just let the images settle into your heart.

tending-light-imageIn January, you’ll take your Solstice Seed into tending the returning light and discovering:

  • what can be born of our broken parts,
  • how to root and reach inspired by the Solstice seed of the new;
  • what will emerge from our collaboration with our Solstice seeds inspirations; and
  • how to follow our heart’s light.

Devoting yourself to this seasonal-long ritual can offer you support for:

  • creating or refreshing your spiritual / soul practice;
  • continuing on a healing journey through loss or grief;
  • tuning in to your creative source;
  • clarifying and building commitment for living out your soul purpose in 2019.

My Story

cac-in-arcadiaWhen my partner John died in a car crash in November 2012, my beliefs about death were a flimsy paper cup, immediately ripped apart. But the practices I’d developed through working with Tarot, nature, and poetry led me through creative mourning to find in grief a “secret medicine for those who hurt too hard to hope” (to gratefully borrow Rumi’s words).

In November 2013, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Dark Goddess Tarot arrived in my life and feeling the energy and support of these fierce Feminine Deities, I asked “What would happen if we waited with the dark instead of fighting it?”

Tending of the dark offered me personal healing and a connection to the Divine, my beloved dead, and the ancestors that makes me feel very supported and loved. This tending also became the gateway for emerging into the light’s energy of creative flow, action, and service.

I offer this ritual for you to use and adapt so that you can find the just right balance of light and dark that you need for walking your unique soul path.

What it is like to work with Carolyn

Carolyn……this Solstice is AMAZING because I worked the Dark and let it work me. I am SO grateful for this beautiful structure. ~ Nancy Antenucci, Between the Worlds  

Thank you Carolyn, for your rich, inspiring, and loving  work! It extends out through all of us, our roots and our branches and our hearts, giving forth what we have gathered. Thank you to this group for your sharing and support. ~ Judith Bird, artist

Carolyn’s writing is exquisite and the ritual processes she offers inspire and support me in my own practice. ~Jennifer Lucero-Earle, Embodied Tarot Counseling | ArcanaDance | Nia

How It Works

Upon signing up, you will receive the 25+ page overview booklet that reviews the whole ritual and weekly themes in detail and includes images from the Dark Goddess, Minoan, and Gaian Tarots. If you are the type of person who likes to prepare, take a look at the booklet. If you’d rather go with the flow, don’t worry the daily e-mails will guide you through the process.

On Monday, December 31st, the first e-mail of Tending the Returning Light will arrive in your in-box introducing the week’s first ritual with one candle and theme of What Can Be Born From our Broken Parts. E-mails will then arrive throughout the week with words and images of inspiration to support your reflection on different areas of this theme. The Sunday e-mail will invite you to a ritual that can build on your reflections through the week. Each week we will add a new candle to the ritual.

E-mails continue daily with Monday e-mails introducing a shift in the ritual and weekly theme. E-mails the rest of the week invite you into a new aspect of the theme.

Weekly tele/video sessions happen on Wednesday evenings at 9pm ET (starting on January 2) to explore the weekly themes, offer guided meditations, and serve as a way to share with fellow seekers. Recordings that include theme info and meditations (but not group sharing) be available for those who can’t come on the live session.

A private Facebook group exists where you can share insights with fellow seekers.

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.