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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen magic’

Blueberry Muffins by GreyCatsidhe
Blueberry Muffins, a photo by GreyCatsidhe on Flickr.

Yesterday I talked about little ways to maintain your spiritual practices while feeling overwhelmed with life’s other demands. I briefly mentioned kitchen magic.

Now, I’m not an expert. There are probably kitchen witches out there who would laugh at me. Anyway, here’s something I did this morning that you could do.

Say you have a lot of demands coming up but you have one day to yourself. Take a few minutes of that day and prepare of pan of muffins for the rest of the week. I used a very basic mix from the local company North Country Farms, local eggs, organic milk, olive oil, and organic blueberries (grown in the USA!). Not to sound like a broken record, but I always promote using local and/or organic products. Mindfully selecting your ingredients is a huge part of my magical practice.

Once your ingredients are mixed, add some energy. I call upon the Two Powers and let them flow through my arm into the batter. I stir sunwise and focus on what I need. If I have a busy week coming up, I might focus on energizing myself despite the demands. This morning I focused on happiness and relaxation. It’s summer vacation and I want to promote those traits as I come off my busy period.

Other things you might focus on:

* healing (in tea, soup, stews, tinctures, homemade smoothies, etc)
* happiness (birthday cake, wedding cake, etc)
*fertility (tea, wedding cakes, mixed drinks, a compost mixture for the garden, etc)
*dreams (tea, mixed drinks, warmed milk)
*relaxation (tea, anything with tryptophan)
* luck (cakes)
* strength (foods containing protein or carbohydrates, hearty meals, etc)

These are just some ideas or examples of things I’ve done. Do you do kitchen magic? Any tips for someone learning about the topic?

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A "raised bed" of eggplant and tomatoes.

One of the biggest challenges to living a Pagan life is integrating our spirituality into our everyday lives.  It’s so easy to put it off until the high days and occasionally light a candle when we feel desperate.  Trust me – I know.  I used to be like that when I first became a Pagan about 8 years ago.  That’s fine if you only want a very shallow religious experience, but that’s not enough for most of us.  However, if you’re like me, you have busy periods in which practicing becomes very difficult due to family obligations, high stress, lack of time, and a lack of energy.  Here’s how I try to stay in touch with my spirituality when life gets hectic.

      • Maintain simple daily or weekly rituals.  Don’t feel like you can meditate for hours?  Don’t have time for an hour-long ritual?  Do your best to do short shrine devotionals – even if you’re only speaking words of thanks to the Kindreds in front of your altar before bed. I did my best to do devotionals at my shrine every day but it turned into an every other day event.  I did, however, do my “necklace” ritual each morning.  I put on my protective talisman and said a charm of thanksgiving to the Kindreds.  That little bit helped me stay connected.
      • Pray.  Feel comfortable talking to the Gods, Ancestors, or Nature Spirits.  Thank them for their blessings, especially as you work your way through stressful situations.  Remember to thank the Earth Mother and/or Nature Spirits for food, shelter, and beauty.  Little interactions like that will strengthen your connection to nature – a critical aspect of many Pagan spiritualities.
      • Make time for nature.  Piggy-backing on my last point, do your best to spend time in nature to maintain that connection.  The photo above features some of my patio garden.  While I felt too busy to get into the forest this past month, my garden helped me maintain a relationship to some Nature Spirits.  I watered them, repotted them into roomier homes, sang to them, and spoke to them whenever I needed to harvest.  Working in the garden comes with plenty of opportunities for magic.  You can create simple chants or prayers whenever you care for your plants.
      • Pamper yourself with magic!  Approach your grooming as a magical act.  It’s especially helpful if you use natural ingredients.  Even better if you or someone you know made them!  You have a better idea of the intent put into the soaps/lotions/cosmetics/etc.
      • Kitchen magic!  Most people have heard of kitchen magic, and I know I’ve blogged about it before.  You don’t have to consider yourself a kitchen witch to do it.  In fact, many religions have lore surrounding the preparation of food.  Look into your culture of choice for inspiration.  If you don’t feel that you have enough time to experiment with new recipes, try to put some intent into your cooking.  Health is an easy goal to work towards when dealing with food, and it’s critical that you attempt to maintain a healthy diet when feeling stressed.  You could also brew a relaxing pot of tea to calm your nerves at the end of the day.  It seems like such a mundane task, but if you allow your mind to view it as healing magic, you suddenly feel the zest of life once more!
      • Cleaning potions.  My house suffered thanks to my hectic schedule, but I did my best to stay on top of things with homemade cleaning remedies.  Simple cleaning recipes can become purification potions and applied with prayers or chanting.
      • Surround yourself with reminders.  I try to decorate my home in a “modern Druidic style.”  My decor reflects my values and helps me feel “connected”.  While it’s true that such things are simple possessions and not necessary to spiritual development, your decor becomes a symbol and is thus a powerful mental key.   Pagan decorating is harder for people who live in diverse, shared homes, of course, but it doesn’t have to be.  If you aren’t able to cover your walls with awens, triquetras, Brighid’s crosses, or cauldrons, go for more subtle symbols – oak leaves, the sun, the moon, rain, a spirit animal, etc…

 

    • Don’t view yourself as a failure.  This is very difficult – I know.  I recently posted about coming to terms with this myself.  To reiterate: ” I can’t do everything.   As much as my spiritual development is important to me, I realized the value of spending time and doing quality work instead of rushing through exercises and trying to fit everything into a tiny time slot.  That’s not how to learn and progress.  It’s not fair to me or the spirits.”  We all have to remember that we can’t be master priests and priestesses within a matter of years.  It takes more time than that – which is why myths often portray wise people as older.  Take your time and don’t rush.  Be happy with what you can do.

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I never felt drawn to kitchen magic until I was properly settled down.  Prior to that I lived in two homes – my parents’ house and my boyfriend’s apartment (which actually belonged to his brother and sister-in-law).  I never felt like I had my own kitchen.  And even though I still don’t actually own a home, I feel like I’m an actual adult now with a responsibility to take care of my tiny family.

I don’t view this as some feminine setback.  On the contrary, I feel that my comfort in the kitchen gives me power.  When my life becomes hectic, working in the kitchen has become one of the most important links between me and my magical spirituality.  I recommend kitchen magic to anyone fretting about a perceived chasm between their magical and “mundane” lives.

Above my stove is an altar to the Irish Goddess of hearth and home, Brighid.  I keep her flame there on designated nights.  I keep my mortar and pestle there, charging in her sacred space.  Whenever I clean the home or invite guests over, I light incense and place it on that altar as an offering to her and in the hopes that her welcoming spirit will fill the air.

Preparing food is a type of alchemy.  We gather ingredients from the Earth Mother.  We transform these Nature Spirits, these children of land, into nourishment through the powers of fire and water.  The pot or kettle is the sacred cauldron.  The spoon is the wand.  The knife is the holy sword.  The cutting board or cooking stone can be as the stone of destiny.  Using local, sustainable, free-range, and/or organic ingredients can strengthen your relationship to the Nature Spirits and better connect you to the agricultural cycles we claim to celebrate. ( I don’t think I really, fully appreciated them until my dear friend Imagickat prompted me to think about food in relation to the High Days.)

Cooking can also be a way to connect with our ancestors.  Last year I started to experiment with a few dishes my Irish ancestors would have eaten.  I was working on eating more local ingredients.  In the winter, that means root vegetables.  I started with shepherds pie.  I changed it to match my vegetarian morality.  It was a huge success and continues to be a favorite winter dish.

Last night I made the dish pictured above – Cornish pasties.  I made my first batch last winter and, while they tasted fine, they did not look as wonderful as the second batch I photographed.  I’m pretty sure I had my first Cornish pasty in Marazion, a fishing town in Cornwall.  It was vegetarian, but many varieties contain meat.  They’re basically apple turnovers filled with veggies and/or meat.    From what I understand, pasties were made so workers could have a nice portable lunch.  I don’t know if I have any Cornish ancestry, but it’s possible if one looks back far enough.  Even if I don’t, making them someone seems significant. It reminds me of my first foray into a land still attempting to cling to its Celtic roots.  It is a ritual of sorts.  When I make pasties and eat them, I remember the sea and the strong stirring I had in my heart as I rode on a train through the English countryside.

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