Artist/Author : Judith Mackay Stirt
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
Media: Paperback book and deck set
Excerpt from the Preface: “I believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home. The kitchen table is the meeting place where we are invited to gather together. In this age of religious questioning, it has become the spiritual version of church, where we laugh and cry together as we solve the problems of the world around us. It is a safe place to begin this journey towards enlightenment – that moment when you “get it” and you know your place at the table.”
I couldn’t agree more and as I love to cook and feed people, The Cook’s Tarot was intriguing. But I must confess I wondered how well two of my my favorite past times would meld and I’m happy to say, they meld quite nicely. Stirt adds: “It is not a culinary guide, or about recipes and wine pairing. It does however, celebrate the cooks: those who gather, create, and serve food as physical and spiritual nourishment for others.” I love that! Just this past Easter Sunday I was happily cooking (for 15) away in my little kitchen and my son in law says to me, You really like to cook, don’t you? You betcha! But what I enjoy the most is having people over and feeding them. Quite satisfying.
The 160 page companion book begins, after the Introduction of course, with a section on Tarot spreads including one entitled, The Cook’s Tarot Maitre d’ Spread. It is an 8 card spread in the shape of a person, The body consists of the head, heart, and guts of the situation, the hat represents wisdom. The legs represent directions and the arms represent momentum. I’ll be giving this one a better look-see.
For each card there is a black and white scan, a description, Key Elements where Stirt discusses key items she painted into the image, Card Meaning, and Kitchen Wisdom. I’ll get back to that a little later.
The Magician shows the kitchen implements (the tools of the trade) which correspond with the suits. Pitcher – (water) the suit of Cups. Knife – (air) the suit of Swords. Dish – (earth) the suit of Pentacles. Rolling Pin – (fire) the suit of Wands. Kitchen Wisdom: True alchemy involves a sense of rightness and timing. Trust your instincts; test the temperature of the air as well as the oven.
The 22 Major Arcana have retained their traditional titles and the Minor Arcana suits remain Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. The Court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page.
78 Art cards with no border other than the title border along the bottom. Card backs are reversible. For each card there is a shadow side meaning given as well as the usual upright. The over-sized cards allow the detail to show and are easily manageable for shuffling and general handling/readings.
Two of Cups – Kitchen Wisdom: It takes two to tango, and two to tangle. Learn how to dance.
Six of Pentacles – Kitchen Wisdom: If the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, it is time to put them both together.
I found The Cook’s Tarot to be delightful and relevant. Stirt has cleverly combined the traditional elements of the Tarot I love, with a taste of humor, a pinch of insight, and a dollop of love spread like frosting throughout. The combination of Tarot and Cooking combine to enhance, compliment and bring out the flavor of each without smothering one or the other. The Cook’s Tarot is a welcome ingredient for anyone who loves good Tarot and good Cooking. Bon Appetit!