Commune, Communicate, Commemorate

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop!

An international group of tarotists are all writing on the same topic and then linking to each other so that the reader can hop from one blog to the next, seeing all the permutations and facets that the topic inspired in different writers.

Our assignment for this Hop was provided by Arwen Lynch Poe of Tarot by Arwen, who suggested that in honor of the feast of the dead, we “Commune, Communicate, Commemorate with those who have gone on before us.”


Commune, Communicate, Commemorate

One day (this was years ago) my mother called me and asked if I wanted my grandma’s recipes. If I didn’t want them, they would go to a cousin. After peppering my mom with questions about what kind of recipes they were, it was revealed that one of the desserts Grandma served at Christmas had suet in it.

“WHAT!!???!!! No, I don’t want the recipes. Give them to the cousin.”

“But you loved that dessert.”

“No way. I wish you had never told me. I would never eat anything with suet in it. Especially not dessert. EWWWW!”

So today I told one of the other psychics at Isis Books that I was working on a blog post and we were challenged with sharing such memories as a recipe from a relative. I mentioned the dessert with suet.

“WHAT!!???!!!” She said. “Isn’t that bird food?”

“Well, suet is basically beef fat, you know, like lard is pig fat.”

“Don’t you feed that to birds?”

“No, I feed birds sunflower seeds, but yes, some people feed it to birds.”

“In a dessert?”

“Well, you know the English…”

“But it’s bird food!”

“Well, buy it in the grocery section, not the bird food section.”

“I can’t imagine anyone putting suet in dessert. I mean, they add grub worms and meal worms.”

“No, it doesn’t have worms in it. Just fat. The dessert was actually pretty good. It was like a fruitcake, kind of, but not. They called it pudding. It had a sauce.”

“With brandy?”

“Sure, yeah, I guess. Maybe.”

That seemed to fix everything…

So, no, I will not share my grandmother’s recipe for Christmas Pudding (I had to Google this to find the name. “English dessert with suet served at Christmas.” Huh. Christmas pudding. Pretty straight forward.)

But I will share my grandma’s recipe for Lemon Curd, which is absolutely delicious, and contains absolutely no beef fat.

Well, except butter, which is kind of…never mind…

Lemon Curd Tarot Tarts

3 lemons

Cups 9 from Legacy of the Divine by Ciro Marchetti published by Llewellyn Publications 2009.

I chose the 9 of Cups from the Legacy of the Divine because the large goblet holds lemons. The Golden Dawn title for this card is “The Lord of Material Happiness” and I often read it as happiness or contentment on the material level but which doesn’t quite reach the deeper levels displayed in the 10 of Cups (in this deck, a cat and dog curled up together in front of the fireplace). I think there is also a “turning lemons into lemonade” meaning to this image, possibly the idea of finding contentment with what you have. The picture also reminds me of the end of a party, which is the overall emotional feeling I attribute to the card (happy, a little tired, knowing you still have to clean up). Some of these ideas influenced, above and beyond the obvious image of the lemons, the idea of taking a sour fruit and making a delicious dessert that can be shared with friends.

3 eggs

Ace of Wands from the DruidCraft Tarot by Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Philip Carr-Gomm, Will Worthington, published by St. Martin’s Press.

Since eggs represent the potential of something, I thought an Ace would be a good choice, and although the Ace of Pentacles seemed to have egg-like qualities, it seemed too static for what I wanted. Then the DruidCraft Ace of Wands caught my eye–just what I wanted. The bright sun looks like an egg yolk and the fire correspondence of the suit matches the musculature of the body that is strengthened by the high protein content of eggs. Plus, eggs are often considered a breakfast food, so the image of the rising sun is relevant as well.

1 1/2 cup sugar

VI of Cups from the Morgan-Greer Tarot by Bill Greer, Lloyd Morgan,

This one was the hardest to pick, and when I thought of the 3 of Cups, some dim memory in the back of my brain as I was falling asleep last night said that sugar was associated with the number 6. A quick check on Wikipedia this morning confirmed whatever it was that I remembered from some some middle school science or high school chemistry class–the glucose molecule is hexagonal in shape and its formula is C6H12O6. Plus, I wanted to incorporate more than just the fruit and feasting in the 3 of Cups–I was looking for the idea of sharing, of sugar being a treat for children, and the affection associated with sharing something sweet. I also feel that this card invokes the quality of memory. The 6 of Cups seemed just right.

1/4 lb butter

VIII of Pentacles from the Smith-Waite Tarot Centennial Edition Deck by A. E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

When I was trying to think of a card for this, the idea of churning butter came to mind, and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see a butter churn between the legs of this man and the paddle in place of the hammer. I’ve never churned butter, but I imagine it would take a lot of work and patience and repetitive motion as shown in this card.

Lemon Curd Tarot

If I put these four cards together in a reading that invokes the memory of Grandma, I might say that as a shy and untrusting child, I never really got close to any of my relatives, including her (9 of Cups).

But nevertheless she inspired me a great deal (Ace of Wands) by teaching me to crochet. I didn’t quite pick it up and switched to knitting later, but this initial introduction was important. I have a warm, cozy afghan that she crocheted for me on my bed. (The central wand could be the crochet hook!).

One memory I have of my grandma is washing dishes together (6 of Cups: the suit of cups can be for washing). She asked me if I wanted to wash or dry and I chose washing. At one point she leaned close to me and handed me a fork and said in a low voice, “I know that it’s the dish drier’s job to make sure everything’s clean, but this is sticky.” To this day I always take extra care washing forks. I liked everything about the interaction–that she let me choose which chore to do, that she humbly faulted herself not me for the dirty fork, she didn’t draw attention to my mistake with a loud voice (the small kitchen was packed with people putting things away after dinner), and she even provided a reasonable explanation of why the fork needed a second go-around–it was sticky. (Maybe it had lemon curd on it!). (I get all that from the 6 of Cups, but if you look at the image, I bet you see it too!).

The final card to me just looks like me making lemon tarts (8 of Pentacles)–I suppose there’s something deeper I could be getting out of it, but that’s what’s coming to mind. Each tart has to be carefully assembled. You start with making and rolling the dough and cutting it into circles. The dough is tricky to get to hold its shape when you put it in the tart pans. It tends to break and my tart shells are always patched together. Then you fill each one with just the right amount of lemon curd so it’s sweet and tasty but not so much that it boils over and makes a sticky mess. And the pentacles look just like the round yellow treats!

I have never been much for ancestor altars or visiting graveyards (all my ancestors are far away anyway) but the 8 of Pentacles in particular and this spread in general reminds me that whenever I do something as simple as make a recipe, or wash dishes, or work yarn into finished products, I am invoking those who have passed before me, who have taught me and inspired me, and by extension, invoking the ones who taught and inspired them. There is a whole chain of ancestors in all the daily work we do, as we reflect the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual heredity of their DNA and example. Their legacy is apparent in every daily task and treat.

Lemon Curd Tarts (and Good Brownies) being served at the Wine and Cheese Reception for Erik Dunne hosted by the Denver Tarot Meetup, June 28, 2014.

Lemon Curd Tarts

Cream Cheese Tartlet Shells

In large bowl, beat 1 cup soft butter and 6 oz soft cream cheese until light and fluffy. Stir in 2 cups all-purpose flour with spoon until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough into thirds, wrap each portion, refrigerate 1 hour. Roll out dough 1/3 at a time, 1/8” thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with 2 ¼” round cutter. Gently press dough round into ungreased fluted 2” tartlet pan cups or 1 ¾” muffin cups. Refrigerate tartlet shells until ready to fill and bake.

Lemon Curd

3 lemons
3 eggs
1 ½ cup sugar
¼ lb butter

Beat eggs, add sugar and mix. Add juice of lemons and butter. Cook in a double boiler over not in water until thickened. Skim pulp. Fill tartlet shells ½ – 2/3 full, do not overfill. Bake in 350 degree oven 20-25 min. or until bottoms of tarts are crisp and light brown. Let cool in pan 10 min. then remove to racks.



Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the psychics at Isis Books and is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit

© 2015 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit

Articles: 472

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  1. I agree with Alison – it’s wonderful how you’ve associated various cards with the ingredients! It’s funny because I can totally relate to your aversion to suet (I remember feeling the same way when I found out that mince pie had it!) but now I think I wouldn’t mind so much. I do distinctly recall making a bird seed ball with suet…. 😉

  2. This was insightful, informative, and hilarious. I’m not yet at a place where I was willing to write the details of my loved one in a public forum. I love that you’ve done that here, played with the practical details. I notice a similar compassionate streak in our grandmothers. This was a joy to read.

  3. Lol Brandy fixes everything! Delicious post and just as by the by… you can get vegetarian suet if you ever fancy making that pudding that Limeys eat at Christmas… 😀

    • Huh. I have never heard of vegetarian suet. And yes, that’s the problem–I wasn’t a vegetarian growing up, but am now, so regular suet is out. Now that you’ve enlightened me, maybe I’ll try to get that recipe and give it a go!

  4. Awesome story, and great use of the cards for the recipe ingredients. 🙂 I live in envy that you got to host Erik up there. Awesome artist and designer. Seems like a nice guy, too. 🙂

  5. LOL Loved this story! I clearly remember your declining the recipe book. You may have the recipe for Christmas Pudding as I put it in a story in one of the Story Circle booklets I sent to you. By the way the VIII Pentacles card with the line of pentacles on the right reminded me immediately of a quarter pound stick of butter.

    • Yes, I have the Story Circle books–although I’m not 100% sure where I might have put them. Now that I know about vegetarian suet I’m eager to try the recipe. I might need to have you resend it. I’m glad to hear someone else sees butter in the 8 of Pentacles! I also see a sink full of sudsy water in the 6 of Cups.

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