Hubby and I have a pomegranate tree in our front yard, and it’s pomegranate season. We’ve got pomegranates filled with juicy, blood-red seeds, tangy but still with a touch of sweetness. I’ve been making iced tea/juice with the pomegranates (I’m not sure whether to call this a tea or juice. I’m leaning toward tea, but I don’t brew it with any tea leaves. It’s just pomegranate.) And I’m posting this because pomegranates sort of relate to tarot.
Across many cultures, East through West, pomegranates symbolize fertility and abundance, and the importance of the pomegranate is expressed in the tarot. You have the pomegranate motif in Key III: The Empress in the Rider Waite tarot, symbolizing fertility, fruition, and abundance, and also righteousness, themes also taken from Judeo-Christian mythos. The Chinese also believe that pomegranates symbolize fertility.
In Key II: The High Priestess, the pomegranates represent knowledge, learning, and wisdom. The imagery in that card also calls to mind 1 Kings 7:13-22 in the Holy Bible, describing the twin pillars in front of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem as being adorned with pomegranates. Some Biblical scholars speculate that the forbidden fruit was in fact the pomegranate. The manifestation of the pomegranate symbolism progresses from Key II to Key III: knowledge, learning, and wisdom begets fruition and natural abundance.
Today, folks are into pomegranates because they’re rich in vitamins and antioxidants. They can help increase blood flow to the heart (in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, pomegranate seeds and juice are used as a healing, medicinal tonic for treating the heart and also strengthens blood flow; it’s very pitta, for fire energy) , decrease the levels of bad cholesterol, prevent and repair DNA damage, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and, interestingly enough (since metaphysically it symbolizes fertility), great for those who are pregnant (the juice, that is). The juice in the pomegranate seeds contain many of the nutrients women need to maintain health and wellness through their pregnancy. Recent studies show that pomegranate juice can help reduce the risk of damage to the placenta.
I’ve been making pomegranate juice (but based on methodology, is probably more of a tea) with our home-grown pomegranates and turning the process into a form of meditation. It’s meditation with instant results… sweet, delicious, fabulous pomegranate juice!
Of course, I always ask the tree for permission first, and thank the tree for the gifts of fruit. I know it’s a little goofy sounding, but it’s important to me. When watering our vegetation, I chat with our plants, mostly apologetically, for neglecting to water them in so long. I love connecting with our trees, placing my hands on the trunk and trying really hard to get a sense for the tree. Equally goofy sounding, I let the tree direct me to which fruits to harvest.
Yesterday, one of the neighborhood boys and his mother walked by and I invited the boy to come pick a few pomegranates on his own. He asked me which to pick. I said, with the mother present (not knowing how she might react to my woo-woo-ness), try to open up a connection between you and the tree, something intuitive, something from the heart, and ask the tree which pomegranate to pick. Fortunately, the mother was total game and thought the spiritual component of it all was great. Phew!
While de-seeding the pomegranates, I chant mantras and rinse the seeds multiple times to clean it of all rind. It depends on the juice/tea’s uses. For some uses, the rind is great to keep. For other uses, the ones I was intending, the rind is not so great, and so what I really want is just the juice.
Then I place the seeds into a big pot and mash the seeds into pulp by hand. With a stone. No fancy juicer. Please.
Hubby was in New Zealand by the beaches when he found that stone. He brought it back for me and I just fell in love with its shape. I boiled it clean and sanitized it, and now it’s a kitchen tool. I use it to mash pomegranate seeds into pulp and pop them so all the juice comes out. Every single seed should be popped.
The mashing process takes about an hour, so it’s definitely a trial for patience (and also an insane workout for the arms!). I’m surrounded by quiet when I do this, and recite mantras to try to infuse the pomegranate pulp with really positive, blessed energy. Since it’s an hour of this, it’s legitimately meditation.
You’ll have a lot of pomegranate juice after the mashing, and I think if I stopped there, then this would definitely be a juice, but I top off the pot with cold, filtered water, and bring the pulp and water to a boil, reduce, and simmer for an hour. To sweeten, add honey, brown sugar, rock sugar, or white sugar, whatever is your preference. Hubby likes it with honey. When making it for pregnant friends, I’ll use brown sugar or rock sugar instead. The brewing part is what makes me think this may be more of a tea than a juice, but it’s 100% pomegranate.
When it’s done brewing, drain away the pulpy seedy stuff (they’ll be white, which is how you know you got out all the yummy red juicy stuff) and you’re left with the most amazing drink ever. It’s not bad hot, by the way, especially with a dash of lemon juice. Hubby had a friend over last night, and we served some of it to him. He said it was divine.
Personally I like to chill it and drink it as an iced tea, with ice cubes. Mix it with iced green tea and oh my– delish! It’s a little tart, and you can definitely feel the tannins in your mouth afterward, a little like wine, but it’s sweet (and you can make it as sweet as you’d like with the sugar). The juice of a lemon really enhances the flavor of pomegranate juice.
Instead of mantras, recite prayers and connect to your Deity (or Deities) during the process. The spiritual dimension adds a little something extra into the juice. After making a huge batch of pomegranate juice yesterday, I did a tarot reading to get a sense of the juice’s purpose. Again, I know, it sounds a little cray-cray, but then check out the reading. Eerily pertinent!
Eight of Pentacles for yielding a great harvest. Wow. Knight of Cups, a bringer of opportunities and creative, spiritual offerings. The suit of Cups is also related to our emotional plane, for home, love, and family, and here we have a dominance of Cups, Water energy. The Knight of Cups marches into the Ten of Cups, which needs no further explanation, right? Concord, spiritual contentment, happy familial relations. A good batch of pomegranate juice well-infused with really positive energy, if I may say so.
Do let me know if you give such a process a try.