Once upon a time, a naïve young man set out on a great adventure, unbridled by a fear of the unknown and excited about what lay around the next bend. In spite of his excitement, many called him a Fool for setting out with little food, less money, and no map or destination in mind. His road was rough and rocky, but each new experience was met with curiosity and enthusiasm for Life's many mysteries. Our adventurer did not stay alone for long, along the path our hero encountered a traveling circus and decided to take in a magic show. That juggler sure could juggle, and that silver tongue of his moved just as fast! You know what they say about a fool and his money being soon parted? Just the same the experience proved beneficial, our hero received a valuable lesson and was the better for it. Now equipped with a cautious mind for potential dangers, but still fearless about what may come next, our hero soon crossed paths with a mysterious woman. Rather than taking offense at being met with such caution, this Priestess was thrilled to see our hero relying on his intuition, and rewarded him with directions to the castle where he could meet the Empress. Weary from his journey, penniless from his encounter with the Magician, and dirty from sleeping on the floor of the Priestess' cave, our adventuring fool collapsed at the gate of the castle and soon after found himself nursed back to health by the Empress herself...
There's a beginning, middle and an end to the story of the Major Arcana, and I will gladly tell it in full at a later date, for now I want to focus on the gentle woman who nursed the Fool in his time of need. The Empress is the image of the quintessential woman. She is the embodiment of the maternal archetype, bathed by the magnetic and feminine energy of the Moon. Within the realm of Mythology and psychology she is more commonly called The Earth Mother, Demeter, Venus, the Anima, as well as yin energy. She holds in her hand a lotus blossom, to remind us of the importance of approaching life from a place of love and wisdom. Her arm is curved in a way to suggest she is ready to give and receive love in equal measure, from a place of comfort and trust. At her feet you'll find a swan surrounded by its nursing young, and a shield depicting a double phoenix. Both the swan and phoenix are symbols of transformation (from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, the phoenix finding rebirth through flames), and are used here to demonstrate the sort of internal and external transformation the Empress nurtures with her wise and loving embrace. She brings a message of balance and harmony, stressing the importance of taking care of ourselves and being cautious to not over-give or become pushy when there's something we want. Whenever we have an emotional involvement in something, it's natural to want to focus a great deal of love and attention on that task and can easily overlook our own needs, or push too hard to eek out progress at an unnatural pace. Which is why the Empress tries to teach us the value of balancing Love and Wisdom.
What's this mean in a practical sense? I'm a novice in the sphere of blogs (a lot like the Fool I mentioned earlier, and more on him in later articles), but not when it comes to Tarot and a host of other talents. Over the years I've wracked up a series of successes, the majority of which have been relatively effortless. Is this to say that I find this step into blogging, and the expansion of my Tarot reading to a global market, to be unsuccessful? Not in the least! In fact, it's going very well, I'm seeing measurable success and it's exciting, I just want to reach out to more people, faster. I know it's unrealistic to think I'm going to have a global following overnight, but I like to shoot for the moon so I can at least wind up among the stars. Because the results aren't manifesting nearly as quickly as I would like, the appearance of the Empress as today's card is important as a reinforcement for what I know in the back of my mind: success will come through patience and loving effort, but not from pushing too hard or becoming exhausted by pooling all efforts in one direction.
What can you do when the Universe is telling you to slow down, but still you're anxious to see some results? Put a little bit of the Empress' wisdom and nurturing ways to work, and try your hand at my rice pudding recipe. In less than an hour you can have a sweet bowl of measurable progress and renewed faith in your abilities to make good things happen.
Rachel's Rice Pudding – yields several servings of tasty goodness in about 30 minutes.
3 Cups Milk
2 Cups Water
1 Cup white rice (not instant)
¼ - ½ Cup sugar (to taste, and honey can be used as well)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine milk, water, clove and rice in a medium saucepan and stir over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and stir slowly. Use this time to catch up with someone you love and tell each other jokes, and somewhere in the next 15 minutes you'll notice the liquid starting to warm up. Enjoy the warmth of the steam tickling your wrist, this is an hint of the soul-warming to come when you taste the first spoonful of finished pudding. Make sure to take deep breaths of the clove scented milk too, isn't that wonderful? Once the liquid begins to simmer, you've got another 15 to 20 minutes before it's ready, and this is really based on your preference. If you like your rice to have a little bit of tooth to it, stir for 15 minutes, if you like it softer and creamier, shoot for 20 minutes. If you get to the fifteen minute mark and its thickening up quickly, but you want the rice a bit softer, splash in another ¼ cup of milk and go back to that slow, relaxing stirring. When you've reached your desired consistency, add in the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and give it another two minutes over this medium-low heat. Serve warm.
After trying this recipe, please let me know how it turned out for you, and if you happen to hear an especially funny joke (or horridly bad pun) while cooking the pudding, please share that too! For those of you who would like to take advantage of my limited time offer of readings for $20.00,
please visit my website