An open bower of grapevines frames the Four of Wands, a card in the minor arcana where four wands securely hold up the poles of a celebratory bower. The number 4, with its square like shape, implies solidity and security and the celebration unfolding in this card denotes a definite feeling of being well provided for. Underneath the vines which drip with ripening grapes, robed figures wearing flower crowns wave with bouquets of yet more blooming blossoms, while other people dance joyously in the background near a towering villa. The yellow sky, graceful archways and colorful shrubbery give us the impression that an elegant party is in full swing, and everyone is invited. Jazzy music must be playing somewhere, and champagne is sure to be flowing. This image makes us want to raise a glass of our own or find our special spot on the dance floor. Perhaps we should weave our own flower crown or locate the perfect place to spread our blanket and get the best view of all the celebratory going-ons.
The Four of Wands reminds us that gratitude is a daily practice which can actively deepen and enrichen our lives starting today if we so choose, and that when security and abundance are available, we should sing, we should dance, we should find time to be together – turn the music up, fill up another glass, and enjoy some of the fruits of our labor which is creating all of this security in the first place. The Four of Wands reminds us that while work is important, fun and play are also crucial to the complete human experience – and why not celebrate during harvest, when the grapes are heaviest and sweetest?
A spicey foursome that is the perfect pairing to the Four of Wands is Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger, and Cloves. It is the base flavoring mix for Masala Chai, along with black pepper, and for the famous (or should we say infamous?) Pumpkin Spiced Lattes (PSL), along with vanilla, and of course, Eggnog, along with nutmeg. It is a classic combination of flavors, where zingy cinnamon and floral cardamom are in a higher ratio, to the even sharper heat of ginger and clove, thus creating a balanced blend of spices that make many wintertime beverages and desserts sing with zest and taste. Cardamom and Ginger are actually in the same plant family (Zingiberaceae) and while the seeds of Cardamom are collected whereas the root of the Ginger is what is usually used, both help reduce indigestion, nausea, gas pains and sooth gut upset, and both contain anti-inflammatory compounds. Actually, all four of these spices help reduce inflammation in the body, though studies have shown that Cinnamon in particular improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition. Cloves also have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help fight oral infections and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria that lead to gingivitis. Who knew PSLs were so good for you? The truth is that this ancient spice blend not only tastes delicious but is also abundant in health benefits too!
When it is time to celebrate, take a cue from the Four of Wands and our favorite Pumpkin Spice blend... drop your pen, close your laptop, put down your phone and turn up that favorite song, open up your favorite bubbly, hug your neighbors, play with your kids, or let your dog out – it’s time to be carefree, to play, to indulge a little. Savor this moment. Like a sweet dessert. One bite at a time.
*Tarot reading is based on the Rider-Waite Tarot Card deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith
Allen, Robert W, Baker, William L, Schwartzman, Emmanuelle, et al. “Cinnamon Use in Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 11 September 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3767714/
Holland, Kimberly. “Why We Crave Anything with Pumpkin Spice in It.” Healthline, 26 October 2017. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-we-crave-anything-with-pumpkin-spice-in-it#The-science-of-pumpkin-spice
Pollack, Rachel. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. San Francisco, Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2007. P178-179
Zhang, Yi, Wang, Yue, Zhu, Xiaojing, et al. “Antibacterial and Antibiofilm Activities of Eugenol from Essential Oil of Syzygium aromaticum (Clove Leaf) Against Periodontal Pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 31 October 2017. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29101062/