When I am not doing tarot, yoga, writing or listening to rap music, you’ll find me in the kitchen, happily cooking away. I come from a long line of good cooks and pride myself in creating delicious feasts for my loved ones (plus cooking is my way of relaxing).
There is no better time to whip up a fantastic meal than Thanksgiving. Since both of my parents have passed on, I have taken on the turkey day festivities – and so far, no one has walked away hungry!
This year, as I began planning my menu, I started to think about my relatives through a tarot lens. Specifically, as Court Cards. In most of my experiences as a tarot teacher, Courts have been one of the most challenging part for students to grasp. Why? Because they can represent: people, energy needed, messages, meetings, actions – and it can be difficult for a beginner to decide which one is appropriate for the reading. Starting with just the people aspect is a good way to begin experiencing the energy of the Courts.
One of my favorite exercises is to have the students attach a Court Card to a person that they feel shares the characteristics of the card. For example, a loving grandmother could be the Queen of Cups while a smart alek youngster may be represented by the Page of Swords.
Using my own family as examples, I will show you how this works for me. (I’m also including the recipes inspired by each of them in case you’d like to see what I am cooking for my brood this year.)
My husband, Terry, is the earthy, practical King of Pentacles. He is quite possibly the most stable, grounded person I have ever met in my life. He is masculine yet nurturing at the same time. Pentacles are connected to earth signs and he’s a classic Virgo: pragmatic, intelligent, reliable and unpretentious. I consider him to be the steady rock in my life.
Smokey scalloped potatoes: this dish perfectly represents my husband’s smoldering and earthy nature – and trust me, these will leave your family begging for more: Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9X13 casserole dish. Melt 2 T butter in a large saucepan. Add 1 minced shallot with 4 cloves minced garlic and sauté about 3 minutes. Add 1 T flour and cook, stirring frequently until golden. Season with salt and pepper and then add 3 C. heavy cream, 1 tsp smoked paprika, and 2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, sliced thin. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Pour half the mixture into the casserole and then sprinkle with 1/2 c. of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, and 1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add the remaining layer and top with the same amount of cheeses. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes until browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
My younger brother, Casper, is also a Virgo (we have a lot of Virgo men in the family) but I’ve always found him to be a more emotional sort so I tend to see him as the King of Cups – the king of love. He is caring, sensitive and the linchpin that holds the fragile family bonds together. He loves to entertain and is generous to a fault. Easily hurt, he is also easy to forgive. This man wears his heart on his sleeve.
Although he enjoys a good meal, he is not one for healthy foods. Getting him to eat his greens is a task – but I’ve found a fantastic recipe for his picky palate: Brussels sprouts with pancetta: In a large skillet, cook 1/2 pound diced pancetta over medium until crisp. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Add 1 3/4 pounds shredded brussels sprouts and cook until crisp tender (about 10 minutes). Stir in 1 T chopped fresh rosemary and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in pancetta, remove from heat, add 3 T fresh lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
My sister in law, Kim, is the Queen of Pentacles – a trusting, gentle and reliable woman. She’s also a typical Taurus, which means she can be stubborn at times. But over the years I’ve learned that underneath that seemingly obstinate exterior is a person who is always there for you when the chips are down. She was an incredible source of strong support when my father needed assistance in his later years.
There is probably no one on earth I enjoy cooking for more than my sister in law. She’s an adventurous eater (unlike my brother!) and I can put almost anything in front of her and she’ll adore it. So rather than the same old green bean casserole, it’s time to put something sassy on the table just for her: Broccoli rabe with garlic and almonds: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 2 pounds of chopped broccoli rabe to the water and blanche. Transfer to a colander to drain. In a large skillet, heat 2 T olive oil over medium. Add 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves and 1/4 c. sliced almonds – cook until they just begin to turn golden. Add broccoli rabe and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper (if you want to be extra spicy, add a wee bit of red pepper flakes).
My daughter, Megan, is now in her Saturn return so the Page has morphed into a Queen. I see her as the Queen of Wands – fiery and creative like a true Leo and just beginning to step into her seat of power. She appears unassuming to those who do not know her but she’s a powerhouse who can command the room when she wants to. She’s passionate and emotional – and fiercely loyal. True Wands nature for sure!
Megan is also a big time animal lover and a vegetarian so I always need to be mindful of her preferences when I cook (notice all the veggie sides above – no accident there). She also loves heat (typical fire sign!) so the recipe that I like to represent her is my Spicy Cranberry Sauce – the perfect mixture of sweet and spicy, just like her: In a medium saucepan, bring a 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar, 1 C water, 1 T finely grated peeled ginger, 1/8 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp finely ground chipotle pepper to a boil over high. Reduce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst and the sauce thickens (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
My son, Nick, is logical and talkative – plus he’s always on the go. The Knight of Swords represents his sharp wit, deep intelligence and ability to pierce through bullshit. He’s hyper focused on his musical career and his ambitions – not much can stop him once he has honed in on his target. One of things I love most about my son is that he is an extremely decent human being (a true warrior in the fight against ignorance). In fact, just being around him, I feel I need to up my own A game and be more of a good person. I see him as my own personal Buddha – a liberated, free thinker.
When I look at the Swords, as silly as this sounds, I immediately think of the shape of carrots. And carrots round out my menu with some bright orange color and a hint of sweet – this brightness and sweetness also matches my son’s persona quite well. Glazed carrots with fresh herbs: In a large skillet, bring 1 1/3 c water, 3 T dark brown sugar, and 1/4 c butter to a boil over high. Add 2 1/2 pounds baby carrots and reduce heat. Simmer until tender, 10 minutes, partially covered. Uncover and cook, gently tossing until carrots are glazed, about 6 minutes. Stir in 1 T fresh chopped thyme, 1 T fresh chopped tarragon, plus salt and pepper (this recipe also works well with ginger and a squeeze of orange).
My adorable 11 year old niece, Abby, is a good representation of the Page of Cups. An only child, she is loved beyond measure – indulged and extremely cared for. Abby is also a talented singer and when I see the Page of Cups (it’s one of the “stage cards”), I visualize her, entertaining a crowd in the future.
This little sweetheart also hates veggies (just like her dad) and loves sweets. In fact, I usually make a brownie trifle or some other sugary confection to satisfy her sweet tooth. This year, I’m trying to be more health conscious so I’m creating a yummy apple crisp with homemade whipped cream just for her: wash, quarter, core and slice 4 -6 apples (preferably tart ones). Toss with the juice of a lemon and arrange in a buttered 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle on 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground ginger. Mix 3/4 C brown sugar with 1 C whole wheat flour. Cut in 1/2 C butter with a pastry cutter until it forms pea sized lumps. Sprinkle this on the apples. Bake for 45 minutes in a 375 oven. Let cool to room temperature.
So lastly, there is me and I’m inclined to see myself as the Queen of Swords. I’m a Gemini so the air component makes sense and the qualities of this card resonate with me: logical, precise, cut to the chase, efficient and utterly organized. While some see me as a Queen of Cups type (I’m also super sensitive), my ability to deliver information in a take no prisoners approach is what I am most known for.
The Queen of Swords has the knife so it only makes sense that I’d be cutting the turkey. And this year, my turkey will be simple: roasted in the oven with a butter baste and salt ‘n pepper. I want this bird to be as clean and clear as possible. Why? Because the more uncluttered I am, the more at peace I am.
A harmonious and clear holiday is what I am seeking this year. No fuss. Not too fancy. Just good, juicy fun with the people I love the most.
Have a happy and tarot-riffic Thanksgiving!
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2012
Share your Court Card / loved one comparisons in the comment section below: