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September Full Moon 2019

I am just beginning my 51st year of studying Tarot! I find myself alternating between feeling really old (but, I did start when I was 12) and feeling awed that there is enough depth to the cards, symbols and history to keep me interested for a half a century. I also feel so fortunate to be living during a renaissance of interest in archetypes, divination systems, and symbology, as well as the opportunities for research available now in the age of the Internet. Currently there are many people doing remarkable writing (both scholarly and personal) about tarot and tarot related topics, and much of it is to be found in reasonably priced books, or again, on the Internet in the form of blogs, YouTube videos and websites.

On top of the information, new decks are being designed, produced, and written about faster than most of us can buy them. Lucky us! While I am trying to be conservative in my choices, I am certainly finding myself taking advantage of all of these new options.

I am also redesigning my own classes on Tarot that I first created in 1979 with Loui Pieper, owner of Evenstar Bookstore in the Twin Cities. She and I taught together for many, many years. But, 2019 Is a very different time than 1979, and so I am updating the structure and delivery of this material. Right now I am offering beta sessions of these new classes in a new structure, for small groups at my studio in St. Paul. I invite you to join me as I sort out what works, and have the opportunity to dive back into sharing what I have learned on this 50 year journey.

Check out the class schedule at me website, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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New Moon, 2 August 2019

New Moon Image

We are entering what is often referred to as the “Dog Days” of the summer. The image this brings to mind for me comes from years of living with my mother as she raised her rescue dogs, and then became intrigued with breeding brown poodles (an genetically unstable color which came about through selective breeding). Her dogs, while not larges, turned into throw rugs all over the house when the sun hit its zenith, and the humidity was high. They preferred the kitchen and bathroom floors for coolness, and their position was emphasizing as much contact with the ceramic tiles as possible. Often they would scatter themselves around the water dish, as if it was entirely too much trouble to walk more than a step or two to quench their thirst. As a kid, I thought nothing of falling to the floor next to them and enjoying the comfort available in our old, unconditioned house. 

But of course, the term comes from the Greek and Roman days and indicated the rising of Sirius, the “Dog Star” in the skies which these ancient cultures associated with heat, drought, severe storms, and bad luck in general. But for the Egyptians, the rising of Sirius which they named Sopdet, for their goddess who guaranteed their land’s fertility through the annual flooding of the Nile River. So it is perspective, and cultural experiences that color these kind of regular cycles.

For most of us August and late summer in general is vacation time. Most of Europe literally leaves en masse. Even in the overly work-oriented culture here in the states, it is acceptable to takes time off, leave the work place, and get out into nature. And that is what I find myself doing more of, whether it is heading out for the backyard with my breakfast and journal, or playing with the dogs when I arrive home after work, or lingering at dinner, or a coffee and dessert on the patio of a local restaurant. I pretend to be a better (and more committed) gardener than I am, finally planting the sad little marigold plants I bought weeks ago, and I throw my windows open (yup, still no air conditioning) to every possible breeze, even joining my own dogs on the floor in front of the fans. 

It is time to chase our interests that we seem to have no time for during the rest of the year, to be dreamy, and read widely, letting the expansiveness of the season lead us into new ideas, connections, and interests. Some of us read light entertainment, taking a break from more serious pursuits, but some of us find this is a perfect time to take large gulps of subjects and worlds we have always been tickled by, but not previously explored. The rules are melting, and we make choices without having to justify ourselves to anyone. 

So, quick, follow a passion, detour into territory you haven’t ever tried before, adventure in any way you can, physically, emotionally, intellectually. But don’t take yourself too seriously, do it for the pleasure, do it for fun, do it because you can, and right now, no one is looking, or cares. School’s out, and we are all on holiday, at least for a little while longer.

Nell Morningstar

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Full Moon in Capricorn – July 2019

Just after writing about my “Journey into Mystery” I have had a potential opportunity arise in my life. I am not going to go into details, as it is only potential, and I have no idea of how it is likely to pan out, but it has raised the stakes. I had framed my journey as an interior, psychological, and spiritual journey. This opportunity may take my journey into changes that include the physical world, and some leaps of faith that I have not entertained recently in my life.

It feels good to be challenged to think outside of my normal, familiar life. It feels exciting, but also scary. It is so easy to assume that next week, next month, next year I will be living a life relatively similar to what I live now. But there are always things that can interfere with that assumption, and that future. One is I could make choices, and take actions now that alter my current trajectory.  There are also unexpected changes that the world could offer me – some lovely and enticing, and some more terrifying and difficult to accept. Several of my friends are going through this second kind of change – physical illnesses (either their own or loved ones), job changes (wanted or not), loss of loved ones, housing challenges, and even things as seemingly simple as ageing pets. All of these can take a toll on us as the shifts and rearrangements in our lives force us to shift and change as well. 

But, as the old joke reminds us, life is hard, but not as hard as the alternative. Transitions, transformations, redefinitions, all are a regular part of our life, or if they are not, we have to ask ourselves, are we truly living? Living is not standing in a doorway, it is a constant passing through various kinds of doorways, letting ourselves be uncomfortable, and even in pain (physical/emotional/spiritual) sometimes as we move further and further from where we started, and closer to our inevitable end. 

The journey itself is our destination, and how we engage in it is our choice. I am hopeful that the changes promised by my possibilities are rewarding and bring me growth and centering. But even if these specific possibilities do not happen, I know that I have called out to the universe that I am open to change, and I am trying to accept how the universe answers – both the easy and the hard.

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New Moon 2 July 2019

Journey into Mystery

My first tarot deck was from my mother. Always a shrewd bargain hunter, she had bought both the Marseilles deck and a hardbound book by Eden Gray on heavy discount. I was thrilled when I unwrapped the gift, and I proceeded to do “readings” for anyone who would sit still. I would shuffle, and carefully layout the cards in a Celtic cross (after choosing a significator card based on the archaic  descriptions in the back of the book) and read out loud the meaning for each card. I was twelve years old. My friends were tolerant, my mother was appalled. “I didn’t mean for you to take them seriously!” she told me.

Seven years later, after finding teachers, and much more study, I began to read occasionally for money. My mother, a practical Capricorn at heart, nodded admiringly when I explained how her gift had begun to make money. And at the end of her days, helping me do inventory in the metaphysical bookstore I co-owned, she had a grudging respect for my unusual interests and hobbies.

It takes courage for many of us to pick up the tarot deck, or astrology book. Our culture squirms at exploration of mysteries beyond the traditional Judeo-Christian path, and even treading that path should be restrained, pragmatic, and preferably done in private. Artists, dreamers, and metaphysical adventurers are often lumped together with other societal fringe groups, and ignored until it is too inconvenient to continue.

The past two decades have brought technological changes the afford an opportunity for greater community for many on the fringes. Better access to information, the ability for small, niche interest groups to form and communicate across the world, and many more book distribution channels have allowed so many communities to flourish. 

We are lucky to be living when so many once secret and hidden ideas and traditions are coming out into the open. But a Mystery – even revealed in a surface manner – is still a mystery. And the awe that I, as a young girl, felt as I unraveled the deeper meaning of the tarot deck is still unique and individual to me, at that time, in that experience. Little did I know that I was embarking on a lifelong journey that has me and the direction of my life ever since.

There is still Mystery for all of us to engage with in both the cyber world, and especially in this physical world. All we have to do is open ourselves up to it, and be willing to transform in the face of the unknown, and the unexplainable. Blessings on you own journey with Mystery, however you find your way into it, and wherever it takes you.

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Full Moon in Scorpio – May 2019

It is mid-May and full moon, and the weather report has frost warnings. I haul inside the plants that have been waiting for me to plant, feeling fortunate that several days of rain have caused me to procrastinate. It is so easy to forget, even in these modern days of cars and hot water from the tap, we are still so connected to this natural world through weather. Gardening is a lesson in what we can control, and what we cannot. We come face to face with our interdependency with the physical world, and it is a useful reminder that although we are humans, capable of astounding thought and creativity, we also live in animal bodies irrevocably tied to this earth, this solar system, the sun, the moon, and the stars that fill our skies. We have both rights and responsibilities as part of this ecosystem.

After such a long winter, I am enjoying the sense of slowly waking up again to the sensual world, to the aliveness of my body, and to a renewed conversation with the plants and creatures of this land I inhabit. This week, my apple trees are in blossom, the daylilies are starting to fill out, and soon I will be planting my roses, coneflowers, and hollyhocks, and able to sit outside and enjoy the scents of mint and basil. I hope that you have a chance to spend time soaking up sun, or moonlight, and re-establishing your place in this amazing  

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New Moon in Taurus
May 2019

Spring is teasing me with the promise of infinite possibility and I can feel my senses waking up again after a long and very exhausting winter. The pale green froth of new leaves on the trees overhead, the clear blue of open skies, the blush of tulip buds, the brilliant gold of forsythia, and the secret of violet petals hiding under heart shaped leaves thrill me after months of a monochromatic landscape.

I was talking to a friend a few days ago and mentioned that I realize I am feeling disconnected from the natural world. It is time for me to get out more, to take walks, dig in the garden, and find a tree to sit near and start up a conversation. I am ready to move out of the heady, thinking space I’ve been inhabiting, and get back into my physical body, at least part of the time (I do love the world of ideas!). Spring is beckoning me into play, taking chances, attempting new and unfamiliar things, and remembering the delight of focusing on process over product in my creative work. I am packing up the sketchbooks and art supplies, the notebooks and pens and heading out to the park. Maybe I will see you out inhaling the lilacs, or indulging your bare toes in some newly green grass. 

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Little Altars Everywhere

Saturday December 15th 1-4 pm $20

Create a go-anywhere shrine, as simple or elaborate as you desire. We’ll starting with a basic cardstock triptych and from there anything is possible! You are welcome to come with a specific deity, intention, or idea to work with, or be spontaneous and see what happens. Feel free to bring any images, photos, art supplies or treasures that you might want to use in creating your altar, or just play with the wide range of materials my studio has accumulated over the years.

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Tarot 365 Session at the Women and Spirituality Conference

Sunday, September 23 1:30-3:00pm
(Session 6)
Room: Riverview B

Please Register for the conference today


This session is Experiential and Open to All. 

Tarot has been used for centuries for divination and foretelling the future. But it is also a remarkable tool for self reflection and creativity. We will explore using tarot cards and images for personal uses in our daily lives through exercises and discussion. Bring a favorite tarot deck if you wish, or use one of mine for the workshop.

For me, tarot has been a doorway into Mystery. I grabbed hold of a deck at 11 years old and I have never stopped exploring. I has been a professional reader and teacher in the Twin Cities since 1979, and co-owner of Evenstar Bookstore for almost 30 years, I now teach and read out of my own space Beltane Studio in St. Paul.

Please join me for my Tarot 365 Session at the Women and Spirituality Conference, at Rochester, MN, on September 22-23, 2018.

Nell Morningstar
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Women and Spirituality Conference

Register TODAY!

Register NOW to make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines for purchasing lunches and tote bags (see below).  The conference will be here before you know it- on September 22-23 at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester MN. 


Registration is open now!  We have an amazing 
schedule of workshops.  

Registration is $95 ($70 for student, senior or limited income) and includes:

  • Opening/Closing ceremony
  • Your choice of 6 workshops out of 60 selections
  • Keynote by Donna Mejia
  • Instructor’s Reception
  • Exhibit Hall with 83 vendors
  • Maker’s Space with 8 art activities

Volunteers – looking for a few good people!

Are you interested in working behind the scenes to make the Women and Spirituality Conference a success? Join our team!  We are looking for workshop proctors, hospitality workers, and registration helpers.  Work 4 hours and get the conference for FREE.  Email Virginia at right away.  We need 10 volunteers to make this huge event run smoothly and would love to have you on the team!!


This year we also have an amazing group of 83 exhibitors featuring returning favorites and new faces.  We are currently SOLD OUT of exhibit spaces but are keeping a wait list. 

Hotel Accommodations

Discounted hotel accommodations for those coming from out of town can be found here.  Our discounted hotel rate at the Doubletree by Hilton expires on August 30 so book your room before then!

Pre-order Lunches

Catered lunches are available for purchase here. Although there are restaurants in the downtown area, purchasing a catered lunch allows you to relax and enjoy the vendors and Maker’s Space.  Lunches will not be available for pre-order after September 18 so please place your order before then.

Tote Bags

Tote bags are available for pre-order until September 5.  We will have a very limited supply available at the event so please pre-order this beautiful bag with artwork by Sue Kosharek (See box below for more information.)

Updates on Facebook

Join us on Facebook to get updates and information here.

We are looking forward to meeting you!

Our Keynote Speaker, Donna Mejia will be offering a dance workshopWelcome to Planet Donna on Friday morning from 9am-noon in Rochester.  Visit the web site for more information and to register.   

To learn more about Donna, visit here.

Tote Bags featuring “When Women Dance” by Sue Kosharek

Last year we gave away 60 full conference registrations to women who wouldn’t have been able to afford to attend.  YOU can help sponsor a woman to attend this conference!

100% of proceeds from this beautiful tote bag ($15) will go to our scholarship fund.  Thank you to Sue for donating her beautiful art.

Purchase here.

We are looking for a few good women (men and teens)!  Are you interested in VOLUNTEERING for the Women and Spirituality Conference in exchange for free registration?  

Visit our web site for volunteer descriptions and contact information.

Copyright © 2017 Women and Spirituality Conference, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Women and Spirituality Conference3936 E. Frontage Rd.
Suite 175
Rochester, MN  55901

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Two New Classes This Fall (2015)!

I am excited to offer two new classes this fall at Buttermilk Falls CSA Folk School & Retreat!

Writing With The Tarot

Saturday, August 22, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Using the Tarot deck, we will allow its images, symbols, archetypes and meanings to spark, stimulate, direct, and further our writing.

Learn more and register for the class here!

Playing With Yarn: Color And Form with Nell Morningstar & Lilith Uhbellode

Saturday, August 29, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm – Spend the morning exploring natural dyeing, and then in the afternoon, learn basic and intermediate knitting techniques using previously dyed yarns.

Learn more and register for the class here!

About Buttermilk Falls CSA Folk School & Retreat:

Buttermilk Falls Folks School & Retreat

Buttermilk Falls CSA is a 200 member CSA farm nestled among the forests and prairie lands of the beautiful  St Croix River Valley just 45 minutes from the Twin Cities.  Named after our pristine  waterfall,  Buttermilk Falls CSA offers members lovingly grown organic produce, a beautiful, natural site for retreats and an enlightening folk school.  Click here for a map and Driving Directions!