Today the Moon is in its balsamic phase, the depths of darkness in the lunar cycle, when we surrender to the unknown. We also find ourselves in the darkest part of the solar year in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days grow shorter until Winter Solstice. This alignment of darkness in both the lunar and solar cycle makes it a potent time for divination, especially in exploring the gifts of darkness.
I designed this spread for those who, like me, are having a hard time with the onset of winter this year. Darkness comes early and stays late, as we approach the shortest day of the year on Winter Solstice. For many of us living in northern latitudes, winter can bring on depression, grief, and memories of all we have lost.
And yet the darkness has gifts for us as well … of dreaming, of rest, and of honoring our sorrow.
Come, toss the cards with me, and listen to the whispers of wisdom in your heart …
- Darkness / Dismemberment / Brokenness.
What have you lost? What are you grieving? What is broken within you?
(If you get a positive card in this position, you might want to read its shadow side or reversed meaning.)
- Promise / Rebirth of the Sun / Renewal.
What is the promise of renewal that will come with the dawn of Winter Solstice?
- Integration of Dark and Light.
How do the darkness and the dawn intertwine? What wisdom do they create together?
- Gift of the Darkness / Remember.
What is the gift of the broken time, hidden in the darkness? What longs to be re-membered and restored?
My Own Reading
- Darkness: Two of Water (Cups).This is my broken heart, the loss of my marriage of 18 years, which ended in divorce earlier this year.
- Promise: Ten of Earth (Pentacles). Death and decay become compost for new life. I take my place as an elder and beloved member of my community. I still have much to give.
- Integration: Three of Fire (Wands). Dark and light, sorrow and joy, come together in the creative process, as I “take my broken heart and turn it into art.” (Carrie Fisher)
- Gift: Tree (Hanged One). The gift of the darkness is release, surrender, letting go of what once was, and opening up to the unknown. I especially see this as I sort through possessions and give away more than half of what I own, preparing to downsize and leave my beloved home for a much smaller place. There is pain, yet freedom and promise in letting go of so much. It opens up a huge space that I am content not to fill up, just yet.
If you are having a hard time this winter, I hope you try out this spread. I hope it brings you comfort and peace.
(Registration is now open for a new email-based course called “Seasons of the Sun & Moon: Root Yourself in Nature’s Rhythms,” in which we’ll follow the cycles of the sun and moon all year long. Please join us!)