Tarot by the Mouthful Theresa Reed and Kyle Cherek

Kyle is a foodie who loves Tarot. Theresa is a Tarot reader who loves food. 

Together, we host Tarot by the Mouthful: a mouthwatering, multi-media culinary tour through the world of Tarot. 

Sublime recipes. Soulful stories. Essays, videos, interviews and delicious surprises. 

Join us every Sunday for a new installment — and get ready to sip, slurp, crunch and savor your way through the entire Tarot deck! 

This week: Nine of Cups

tarot by the mouthful nine of cups

Nine of Cups: Wish fulfillment.  This happy card symbolizes contentment and pleasure.  Getting what you want.  Enjoying the present moment.  Living the “good life”.  Indulgence.

Kyle – The soufflé has arrived

Never shy of grand announcements, “See how to be the big boss of the big cheese soufflé!”  is how Julia Child introduced the soufflé episode of The French Chef in the late 1960’s.   In tasked with a writing about the Nine of Cups for Tarot by the Mouthful, I cannot help but think of soufflés.  The Nine of Cups is the card of repose, attainment, resplendentment, sensual pleasure, and enjoyment of what you have striven for, both physical and intellectually.  The man in the card is centrally placed  and well fed. He sits in a  banquet hall, and the cups ring about his head as if a halo of abundance. He is aglow on the knowledge that, just as Antonio at the conclusion of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, his ships, have all come in.

In respect to the baking soufflés,  call me an overwrought food rube, but when your first soufflé emerges from the oven and does not fall, the essence of the Nine of Cups is coursing through your veins.

Soufflé’s are delicate things of elemental architecture.  In order to get them to rise, one must separate the egg whites from the yolks, or more specifically, the proteins, from the fats.

Once done, the whites can be whipped into a foam. What is taking place in the whipping is the protein is the forming of a skin around the air bubbles.  Chemical architecture of a sort.  This all takes a steady and constant motion, just as any goal, or achievement we set forth for in our own lives. To stop is to allay what the process wants to yield. Too vigorous  and you tire of the task, to slack, and your whites will not come to peaks.

I remember my grade school science teacher drilling into us “that proteins, in their molecular form, are the building blocks of life”. As we mix the metaphors of whipping eggs whites to the state that will yield a solid souffle once baked, and the attainment of what we work for in our lives as embodied in the Nine of Cups, the quote of my 7th grade science teacher is not lost on me.

The soufflé as a dish is indeed the food of those who have arrived.  Invented by legendary French chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the first half of the 19th century, it  was created for his client,  Baron Rothschild. Conceived specifically for Rothchild, who at the time was the richest man in France, it was known  in its day as Soufflé Rothschild. The dish was flavored with fruits and Danziger Goldwasser, the liquor with gold flakes floating about in it.  If anyone in history had arrived, it was the Baron, and his four brothers, all given the title after savvy banking for European aristocracy for more than 200 years.


Theresa – Pants don’t lie

The Nine of Cups is usually interpreted as the “wish card”, so it’s always a happy one to see in a reading.  But this card also has another meaning that shouldn’t be overlooked: pleasure.  In her classic tarot book, 78 Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack describes this card as “the simpler pleasures of feasting and physical contentment.”

Feasting is fabulous.  I like to treat every day as a Nine of Cups day around here.  Chocolates, good wine, luxe meals, nibbles and treats…there is always something to nosh on around here.  We live for pleasure.  We’re an indulgent lot.

If you are a fan of the Enneagram, a personality typing system involving nine archetypes (I recently learned a lot about it from my buddy Pace Smith), then you’d quickly understand why we are fond of feasting around here.  My husband, children and I are all Sevens.  Seven is the Enthusiast and they love to have a good time.  The pleasure principle is their thing.  And when they go to extremes, as all archetypes can do, the Seven becomes a glutton. Same goes with the Nine of Cups – it’s a good thing to get what you want but overdo it and suddenly it’s debauchery, not pleasure. (Note: George Clooney is a Seven but so is John Belushi.)

As a Seven who loves to live like a Nine of Cups bon vivant, I’ve been taking my love of food to new levels of overindulging.  All in the name of research for this Tarot by the Mouthful project, mind  you. Ahem.

So now I find myself with a very Nine of Cups problem:  too tight pants.  I was in denial a few weeks ago.  I blamed menopause  (thanks for nothing, buddy) and working long hours on a project. Those things do play a part of this fleshy problem.  But truth is, I’ve been on a food orgy and now the results have hit home.  Pants don’t lie.

It was time to reassess my habits.  (I seem to always need to reassess my habits. Because I’m habitual about habits.)

Which means: scaling back for real.  Last month, I started but then got sidetracked a few weeks ago.  Halloween candy is a bitchy siren that demands my attention, yo.

And lord, I despise diets.  DESPISE. They don’t work. Deprivation only leads to resentment and if I can’t enjoy my food, then I’m not a happy camper.

I plan on eating exactly as I am but way less.  I’m even using the Weight Watchers app to monitor my every bite.  It’s time for mindful indulgence.

No more three glasses of wine at a sitting. There’s points to consider!  And downing those mini Milky Way Midnight bars while working on a project?  NOPE.  (I have two bags stashed thanks to a Halloween sale so you can bet these are going to be lasting me a looonnnggggg time.)

Sensible instead of sin-sible.

A few months of this tracking and I should be back on track. And happily back into my pants.  Now that’s a wish come true indeed.

Bon Appetit!

Theresa and Kyle

© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015

photos from personal collection and Jessica Kaminski

PS If you’re curious about the Enneagram, check out this book: The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types by Don Richard Riso and Russ Huson.

Hungry for more? Click here to explore the entire Tarot by the Mouthful series, from the very first card… right up to our latest installment. Bon appetit!

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