The question in mind for many Millsies today is: how do we cope? Despite a merger, midterms and a pandemic, we continue to reach for our goals with determination. Though the whirlwinds circle our feet, we stand strong, proud and brave. We are all Mills. It is important for us to keep in mind the energy and heart it takes to continue. Keeping in mind our struggle, I hoped to find ideas about how we can cope with such a heavy load as we try to succeed. I called on that bravery and consulted my cards with hopes that I could find an answer to exactly that question: How do we cope with the current experience of being a Millsie?
The cards that I pulled were a message of warning, encouragement and hope.
Photo taken by Jessica Moreno, Mills MFA Student
The Sun, The Four of Pentacles and The Devil lay before us as answers to this question.
Let us begin: we start our spread with our first card, which reminds us of our value. As we contemplate the coming changes of the future, we must remember not to be afraid of the unknown and to believe in ourselves. The sun, represented by Apollo, reminds us that we as individuals are beautiful, powerful and worthy. Apollo stands radiant, holding a lyre in one hand and a bow in the other. Having a stolen version of musicality from Pan, Apollo uses this art to banish fear through music and express the freedom to dance. Page 77 of Juliet Sharman-Burke’s book “The Mythic Tarot” tells us that “Apollo is an image of hope and faith which springs, not from one person’s striving, but from all of us. A human inheritance of nobility and determination which can restore faith in oneself.”
No matter the discourses ahead of us, we are unified in pursuit of one objective: an education at Mills College. Holding this treasured goal in our hands, we must also believe that no matter what happens, we will carry on in the time-honored Mills tradition of demonstrating intelligence, talent and determination. By consulting my tarot deck with this in mind, I chose to pull three cards, hopeful to find answers of how we should cope. I believe the issue to be complex enough to deserve more than one card; however, I also believe our academic body is large enough that being too specific would make the waters of interpretation murky. A “spread” is defined for us by Wille, who is the creator of A Little Spark Of Joy: “This term refers to the pattern of cards chosen from a deck during a reading.”
Although many of us feel we do not have the answers just yet, the challenges of change brings us to our next card: The Four of Pentacles.
The Four of Pentacles shows us the Greek Daedalus. He stands, grimacing with anger and jealousy towards his nephew, who has surpassed him in skill at such a young age. Daedalus clutches his pentacles close to his chest and stands away from his nephew, watching him create a golden treasure. Daedalus’s jealousy comes from a place of insecurity and fear. The disruptions that we face have forced us to change and reconsider our plans. Doubting his own worth and attributing that worth to his reputation has put Daedalus in a place of anger and resentment, away from the potential future ahead of him.
Anyone struggling financially? Worried about your skill repertoire in the future? Because I sure am! As we learn our crafts, aspire in our confidences to reach new heights, could it be possible we are holding on to the past a little too tightly? Though not everyone agrees about the merger, how are we choosing to honor our craft through this change? The pandemic has created a world changing disruption, we have chosen to seek treasure in our craft. Amazingly enough, this leads us to our next card.
The Devil sits at the end of our reading as Pan the Satyr. The untamed Satyr dances through the wilderness playing his pipes as two humans, bound by the neck, are forced to dance along. Or are they? Notice that their hands are free, unbound. Under no spell, they dance as if enslaved and forced. This card represents the scapegoat itself. The shame we all hide and blame, when we refuse to face the truth — that ugliness is a part of life. Shame, guilt, anger and fear all come from an insecurity in ourselves, a failure to face these woes head-on and accept them. These are universal feelings because they are human feelings. Millsies must ask themselves: what are we blaming for our anger? Which parts of ourselves are we condemning? Pan reminds us that our bondage to these woes is a conscious choice and encourages us to accept the naturalness of disruptions by allowing our energy and intent to flow freely. “Do not be blocked by fear [as he plays his pipes], you are powerful enough to break free!” is his message.
Though I do not know where these changes will take each of us, I know that we are together. No matter what has changed, or been thrown at us, we have not given up. This determination over such an extended time with such turbulent changes builds anxiety about the future. Sarah Wilson offers advice in her book “First We Make the Beast Beautiful” when she says “Anxiety is a disconnection with this Something Else.” I have listed a few Something Elses we have processed and blamed for our fear, but now I want to challenge us to work through this fear or anger. What waits for us on the other end? The disconnection we may each be feeling is important because it is telling us what we need to pay attention to. Contemplate today’s spread when thinking about your current experience of being a Millsie. I too am holding a space for it while I process its meaning for myself.
Until we find our answers, I encourage us each to set aside time to treasure ourselves, and remember that we are resilient, powerful and intelligent. Since fall is known as the time of harvest, I wanted to offer a recipe that allows us to gather our confidence. The end of September and beginning of October is when peaches are harvested, so we are going to use them as a reminder of our labors, worth and hope. Some of the intentions when using peaches are those of “longevity, protection and love.” This is a cost-friendly way to celebrate yourself in the kitchen while you bake something delicious. These peach muffins are easier to make than peach cobbler, but just as yummy. I hope that through baking this recipe you will be reminded of your brightness, the value of your labor, and the value of your determination, and be granted hope that we Millsies will bear treasure no matter the circumstances. I have chosen a holistic baker, Janel, to be our guide. Her recipe is listed on Peach & The Cobbler and is given as follows:
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- ⅔ cup coconut or almond milk, room temp
- 1 large egg, room temp
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups peaches, diced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line or grease 12 regular size muffin tins.
- Blanch the peaches by filling a medium-size saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium/high and blanch peaches for ~1 min. Work in 2-3 batches, blanching 2-3 peaches at a time, so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and let cool for ~5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
- Peel the peaches either using a paring knife or using your hands depending on how easy the peel is coming off. Remove pits and dice into bite-size pieces, or approximately ½ inch. Set aside.
- Make streusel by combining ¼ cup flour, ⅓ cup rolled oats, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a small bowl. Mix until coconut oil is incorporated fully, and pea sized clumps form. Set aside.
- Make muffin batter by combining 5 tablespoons coconut oil (melted), ⅔ cup coconut or almond milk (warmed to room temp), 1 large egg (warmed to room temp), and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk together.
- Add the coconut oil and coconut milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix.
- Fold in 1 ½ cups peaches until just combined. Set aside the remaining ½ cup of peaches to place on the top of each muffin.
- Fill each muffin tin with ¼ cup of batter, and place 2-3 peach pieces on each muffin. Then top each muffin with 1 tablespoon streusel.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tins for ~10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a cooling rack.