Chalk and Cheese: An Exploration of Folklore and Food — Tasting the Major Arcana

Image courtesy of Briana Touzer at Unsplash

When we are looking to explore a whole system of thought and magick, such as the Tarot, many of us want to use ALL of our senses — including taste. Yes, the Tarot is a “picture book,” as the saying goes, but there are ways to draw the experience into our whole bodies. In fact, I love the idea of creating an altar arrangement for each Major Arcana card and experiencing our way through the Fool’s Journey using not just the evocative images on the cards, but also music, food and drink, incense or aromatherapy, and textures. What a powerful well of associations that would give  us to draw from in future readings!

Culinary Tarot decks are actually kind of a “thing,” and curious readers can sample their way through the Cook’s Tarot or the Divine Your Dinner deck. Both of these have their own take on the associations of food with the Tarot, and they are both very cool gifts for kitchen witches and Tarot collectors.

I’m going to chart my own course (all the puns intended), and suggest my own map for tasting the Major Arcana. I feel like I need to note that my own favorite Tarot deck is the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley, and I use his Book of Thoth and Lon Milo DuQuette’s Understanding the Thoth Tarot as my own reference points in understanding the journey portrayed in the cards. The Thoth Tarot has much in common with the Rider-Waite, but there are some differences in names, numbering, and associations that might puzzle a Tarot aficionado, if I didn’t mention this.  

Since none of these reference books talks about culinary associations with the Tarot, I’m applying my own knowledge, intuition, and experience (as a reader of over two decades) to the task at hand. 

Let’s do this!!

0FoolCharcuterie BoardBeginning of the meal. Everything’s possible, and a little of everything is already on the board — meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, fruits, veggies, and dips.
IMagusDeviled EggsHermes has associations with eggs — and with figures from other cultures who became associated with ”devilry” and magick. The card even depicts a winged egg, among its many symbols.
IIHigh PriestessPomegranate ArilsSeeds are a prominent part of this card’s imagery, and Rider-Waite decks often feature pomegranates, specifically. Nibble some arils and consider Persephone’s journey from darkness to light, as well as the blood mysteries.
IIIEmpressDuckOh, abundance of the sea! And of the water-fowl who are the chariot of the abundant Venusian mother! 
IVEmperorMuttonThe shepherd-turned-king, surrounded by the rams and lambs of his flock — now symbols on his throne and scepter as representatives of the wards in his care.
VHierophantBeefThe Hierophant is ruled by Taurus, and the ox is prominent in its imagery. Maybe a nice roast beef surrounded by earthy veggies like potatoes and carrots.
VILoversYogurt-Dipped StrawberriesThe Lovers card represents the joyful and sensual union of opposites in the sacred marriage — alchemical salt and sulfur, male and female, night and day. Indulge in sensuous Aphrodisiacs like ripe, red strawberries dipped in sweet, creamy yogurt.
VIIChariotCoffee with CreamMovement and manifestation are the theme, and coffee with cream is the vehicle. Yoking the power of day and night, dark and light, to get you where you need to be and making magick happen, you can’t go wrong with a nice latte!
VIIIAdjustmentKale/Leafy SaladThis card is Justice in other decks. Still seen with her sword and scales, Adjustment reminds us to eat our dark, leafy greens — or pay a terrible price.
IXHermitCouscous or Bulghur WheatWalking through the ripeness of a summer wheat field, the Hermit is probably on his way to enjoy the bounty of the simple grain.
XFortuneShot of TequilaHonestly, whether a shot of tequila is going to go well or poorly is anyone’s guess. It is a choice, though — so go ahead and make it, and see where you land!
XILustWineBabalon rides upon the Beast, exulting. She holds aloft the wine of her lust — the blood of the grail. Or maybe it is a sweet red from that local winery!
XIIHanged ManJerkySacrificed to himself, by himself, for himself, the Hanged Man might remind us of a favorite trail-treat (jerky) as we round the corner past the half-way point on our Fool’s Journey.
XIIIDeathFishThe Death card is associated with the Hebrew letter Nun, which means fish. The fish in many cultures is symbolic of life and rebirth. 
XIVArtMeadMmmm, alchemy tastes like mead. It’s honey’s Higher Self!
XVDevilSweet CreamThis delightfully phallic card tempts us with delights. “Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”
XVITowerChiliChili is either ah-may-zing — or it is the fire-soup of your nightmares. Throw everything in the pot (yeah, sure, the ghost pepper, too) and see how it goes down.
XVIIStarWaterSparkling water might be the starriest option, but our Aquarius-rule Water Priestess turns water to water in this soul-guiding card. (Yes, water to water! It’s already perfect, just as it is.)
XVIIIMoonShrimpSeafood and crescent foods are all lunar in the associations, and the little shrimp is both. 
XIXSunCitrus Breeze CocktailEqual parts lime juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and vodka — it is the “play in the summer sun” cocktail that tastes how this card looks.
XXAeonFruit SaladThe culmination of all good things, with fruits and berries to represent your fully-aligned and radiant chakras.
XXIUniverseChocolateThe Universe is the full and powerful manifestation of the True Will of the Seeker — who began their journey as a Fool, has mastered magick, contemplated simplicity, played in the sun, and mastered themself. Chocolate is, clearly, the only choice of perfect finale to such a meal — I mean, esoteric journey.

Have other suggestions for foods to associate with Tarot Trumps? Leave a comment!

[Laurelei Black is an American folkloric Witch, Aphrodite woman, and author.]


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