Edible Magick: Kitchen Witchery, or Something Else?

<I have been really busy, and somewhat unwell, so I have missed two (?) weeks of PBP14 😦  Here is week 10 though… >

 

Edible Magick!

I don’t really know what qualifies as Kitchen Witchery, so we will see where this thought takes us, shall we? As far as I can tell, there are two types of edible Magick, 1) foodstuffs prepared specifically for a Magickal working or event and 2) foodstuffs prepared in such a way, or including specific ingredients, so as to produce a Magickal result.

 

This first type of edible Magick would include foodstuffs made specifically for the Cakes & Ale rite, or that has been blessed before consumption for a Magickal feast (in a Sabbat celebration, or perhaps a coming of age rite). There are plenty of recipes available online, in recipe books, through friends & family, etc that you can utilize for this type of edible Magick.

The second type of edible Magick would include foodstuffs utilizing the Magickal properties of ingredients, rather than simply their taste. This could mean adding a particular herb/spice to your weekly family meal that encourages harmony, etc. etc.

Obviously, if you are going to be cooking with herbs and spices (or indeed any other ingredients) for their Magickal properties, please heed this warning: Make sure it is edible. There are a great many substances that are extremely powerful Magickally, which will cause illness or even death if consumed. ALWAYS be sure to check as many resources as you can, and if in doubt, leave it out.

I have often found myself cooking a meal for my family, in which the ingredients I use have a particular Magickal correspondence, or medicinal purpose, without even realising it until afterwards! Next time you feel like cooking a particular dish out of the blue, look into the ingredients to see if there is something your subconscious may be trying to rectify in the balance of your life. Or perhaps you may find it useful to look at what needs balancing in your (or your family) life – and create a dish with ingredients to assist?

 

Ethically…

I’m just going to say it right now: there is nothing ethically or morally wrong with cooking a Magickal meal, serving it to people, and not telling them of the energies utilized in the cooking or preparation. As long as you are not attempting to subvert another person’s free will, there is no harm. If you do tell a non-believer that you utilized Magick in creating the meal, there may be tantrums and refusal to eat. Just like not telling a small child that there are healthy vegetables minced up and ‘hidden’ in their dinner, you are not required to disclose all the ingredients of every meal you make, and the reason you chose those ingredients. By all means, tell the consumer if you wish, and if you think they will accept (or even appreciate) the Magick utilized in this way, but don’t feel at all obligated to – it’s your call.

 

 

PS – I will post a couple of Magickal recipes in separate posts, just as soon as I can find where I’ve hidden my Cooking BoS 😀

WARNING: As always, with anything you make that is intended to be consumed, make sure the ingredients you use are safe for human consumption!

 

Denial, Deceit, and Delusions of Grandeur

Week 7 of the Pagan Blog Project

 

Ok so let us start with Denial & Deceit.

The two issues of denial/deceit I want to discuss are Self-denial (lying to yourself), and denial on behalf of others.

Self-denial is not healthy, simple as that. If you keep urges, wants, needs, desires, etc from yourself, it is basically lying to yourself. Witchcraft and Magick are only as powerful as your word. If you yourself can’t believe what you say, or what you think, why should the Universe? Or another entity (deity, spirit, etc)?

That being said, it IS a lot harder than it sounds. To be truly, completely honest with yourself – about everything – may very well be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do. In order to make your Magick every bit as powerful as you can, to use your energies to their fullest potential, and to maintain your spiritual (not to mention emotional, mental, physical, etc) integrity it is something you need to do. You will need to have a good long look at yourself – your thoughts, behaviour, habits…. everything, before you will be able to effectively use the full power of your personal energy. You may want to organise a personal mini-retreat, for an hour or two (or longer, if that’s what it takes), with a notebook and pen. If you have trouble remembering everything, or thinking of things you may/may not be entirely truthful about, or there are things you need to work through that you’ve been repressing – write it down! Write down everything that comes to you.

Personally, I kept a notebook with me for a week solid, and as well as making notes of some prompts/questions, I wrote down most of the thoughts that went through my head for those seven days. This was in addition to two in-depth hermit-ness sessions, one at the beginning of the week, one at the end. Some of my prompts were along the lines of:

Relationships – how do I communicate? how do I react to bad news? good news? would I want to be friends with me?

Myself – how do I think of myself? my body? how do I justify my actions?

Mental – when my mind wanders, where does it go? what do I think about before I go to sleep? when I first wake up?

You may want to do this more than once – after all, people change. Your habits, environment, relationships, mental processes, all change with time. Maybe not drastically, maybe not all at once, but they do change. Remember not to think of justifications for your habits, thoughts, etc as you write them down – simply write it down as data to be analysed later. You don’t even have to analyse all that you’ve written down, and you don’t have to try and change yourself “for the better”, or to “fit in”. If you realise you’re selfish, and you don’t want to change that, then don’t – but accept the fact that you are selfish, and be honest with yourself about it.

Denial on behalf of others is trickier to deal with.

For instance, about 4 years ago I was discussing religion with my (Roman Catholic) father because I can’t for the life of me understand why he still maintains a firm belief in Catholicism & the Bible considering the fact that he’s gay. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with him being Catholic, and I don’t have a problem with Catholics in general (hell, my Hubby is Catholic!) – I was just trying to understand him better. I sort of ‘came out of the broom closet’ unintentionally, telling him that I am a Pagan – to which his reply was “No you’re not, there’s no such thing.” O.o

Well, what is there to say to something like that? I was a bit flabbergasted, to say the least, so I just let it go. Honestly, I still don’t know what I would’ve said to that – even if I could go back to that moment in time to retort.

 

Righty-o, time for some Delusions of Grandeur.

delusion of grandeur is the permanent, false belief that oneself possesses superior qualities. In a religious context, the person believes he or she has received a special message from God or another deity. (paraphrased from: John M. Grohol, Psy. D., Delusion of Grandeur, 2008)

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I first discovered/recognised Paganism, I felt pretty special. Around every corner was a sign from the Gods, I was constantly getting messages from the Divine….. I thought I was the greatest person in the world, that I had this special insight into the Universe and its workings. The world was full of sparkles and light and good, and any darkness could be easily fixed by having a personal chat with the Lord & Lady upstairs. I saw Tinkerbell-like fairies and Disney-fied pixies everywhere.

Nowadays, I can see that I was being pig-headed and silly, and the majority of what I thought I saw or heard were just figments of my mind. Once I actually started to study the various forms and beliefs of Paganism, and delve deeper into the history, emerging traditions/paths, as well as other people’s opinions & narratives, I truly began to understand that Magick is not like what’s portrayed in Charmed or Buffy. The ‘real world’ is full of Magick – it always has been. It may be called different things; tradition, wishing on a star, the birthday candle wish, prayer, nature, even Biology, Psychology, and most of the other ‘-ologies’.

However, some people seem to get stuck in the initial stage of “Oh my gosh I am so awesome. I talk to a Goddess and a God and do Magick. LOOK AT ME WITH ALL MY LOVE AND LIGHT”. These people are who I – and others – refer to as “fluffy bunnies”. Others may have a similar, or completely different, definition of fluffy bunny – but that’s what I go with. The thing is, delusions of grandeur are actually a symptom found in mental disorders (see above link in definition), and can be dangerous if not seen to by a professional.

 

… I honestly have no idea where I was going with the second half of this post -.- so I’ll just leave it at that.

NOTE: If you do attempt the exercise in the post’s beginning, and have trouble with it or are disturbed in any way by your results, please talk to someone – a friend, family member, or even a trained mental health professional. 

CREATING A ‘CRAFT NAME

Week 6 of the Pagan Blog Project

‘A rose by any other name …’

  • William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet.

What is in a name?
Firstly, it’s how you identify yourself as an individual ‘me’.
Secondly, it can express your familial ties or group identity.

Why is a ‘Craft (magickal) name important?
Actually, for some people it’s not important in the least. But for those of us who decide to use a ‘Craft name, the importance can vary greatly – as can its privacy. It may reflect a practitioner’s spiritual path, animal spirit totem, their coven/clan ties, and/or their patron deity.
Some people may choose to legally change their name, to reflect their life’s path. Others may only use their ‘Craft name when conducting Magick. Still others – myself included – have two (or even more) ‘Craft names, one as a sort of nickname to be more widely known, and the other as a more private name to be used only between the practitioner & deity, or practitioner & close family/coven members.

Some people may take an animal as their ‘Craft name, or part of it. I personally know three people who use Wolf, one Raven, one Bear, two Corvids, and a Crow.
These people either worked with that animal as a permanent spirit ally/totem, or were just incredibly drawn to those animals for a significant amount of time.

Another common inclusion in ‘Craft names is the name of a deity; Odin, Morrighan, Cerridwen, etc etc ad nauseum. Personally, I would never use a deity’s name as my own because

1) it seems disrespectful to me,

2) it doesn’t fit for me, and

3) I may want to work with other deities down the track, and names (of deities especially) hold a power of their own.
That said, I have no problem with others choosing a name that includes that of a deity, and I will always address them by their preferred moniker – I just wouldn’t want to be calling a deity’s attention every time someone spoke to me.

A lot of ‘newbie’ books encourage the use of numerology in finding or creating a ‘Craft name. There is argument both for and against doing so, the main points of which I feel are:
+ the numerological energy aligns with the name you are given at birth (or the one you most often use)
– you may find a name that you like, that suits you and fits well, but the numbers don’t add up

Some people choose to prefix their ‘Craft name with a title, such as Priest/ess, Lord, Lady, etc. I think that if you want to use a title that’s up to you, but don’t expect everyone to believe you earned it.

In finding my own ‘Craft names, I went with my gut but as I was exploring the realm of numerology at the time, I also tried the calculations that go with numerological matching.
My first ‘Craft name (long since discarded as it doesn’t adequately reflect me or my path anymore) was a match to both my birth name AND birth date. My current ‘Craft names make more sense and fit better with me, my path, and my Magick. So I attempted the same calculations, to no avail. At the time I just went with the idea that hey maybe these (numerological) energies suit me better?
Then I came across a short text in the ‘Internet Book of Shadows‘ by Mike Nichols, who offered a different method of assigning today’s letters a numerical value using the Ogham as a base.
To my utter surprise at the synchronicity of the universe, my current ‘Craft names BOTH matched using Nichols’s system.

In short, your ‘Craft name is YOURS. Don’t be in a rush to find the ‘coolest’ name, you can take as long as you like to formulate a ‘Craft name for yourself. You may choose to include botanicals, crystals, animals, another language, deities, colours, times, anything you like – it’s up to you what to use, to find something that fits you yourself.
Just don’t be surprised if someone snickers at you introducing yourself as ‘Lady RainbowUnicorn the Magnificent.’

Numerical letter values as set out by Mike Nichols:
1 – A B H M
2 – D G L O X
3 – T U V W
4 – C E F J K S
5 –  I N P Q R Y Z

Crash Course in Chakras

The most commonly utilised system of chakras is the 7-Chakra model, and although there are practitioners who use an alternate model, this is the one I will use for this post.

What are the chakras?
Originally part of Hindu spirituality, the chakras are 7 energy centres, aligned with the spine, within our auric/astral bodies. They control the flow of energy through all of our bodies – astral, auric, ethereal, physical, however many layers of body you prescribe to the chakras permeate them all. They are most commonly visualised as lotuses, or as spinning vortexes / wheels of energy, or both combined. Each chakra has specific energies it governs & regulates, and it’s own set of correspondences (listed below).

Chakras naturally open and close (visualised as fast or slowed/not spinning) to properly regulate the flow of energy through our bodies – inhibiting or decreasing excesses, and encouraging or increasing deficits. Problems arise in our bodies – and consequently our lives – when the chakras are out of balance i.e. if a chakra becomes blocked (stuck closed) or overloaded (stuck open).

As well as governing the energies within our bodies, the chakras also facilitate an energetic connection to the Earth, at the base, and the Heavens / Universe at the crown. This connection is often utilised in grounding & centring before magickal work, in various meditations, and incorporated in some forms of yoga.

Here are the most commonly assigned correspondences, starting at the Base Chakra and working up:

BASE / ROOT CHAKRA
Location: base of spine / coccyx
Sanskrit name: Muladhara
Mantra: Lam
Colour: red
No. of lotus petals: 4
Element: Earth
Crystals: hematite, garnet, onyx, ruby
Oils: cedar wood, patchouli, musk
Incense: cedar
Connected with: financial security, grounding, feeling secure, physical reality, physical needs, survival, tribe / cultural identity

SACRAL CHAKRA
Location: a few inches below the navel
Sanskrit name: Svadhisthana
Mantra: Vam
Colour: orange
No. of lotus petals: 6
Element: Fire
Crystals: carnelian, moonstone, gold topaz, orange coral
Oils: rose geranium, rose, sandalwood
Incense: damiana
Connected with: taste, smell, sensuality, sex & lust, desires, reproduction system, addiction, pancreas, spleen

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA
Location: between bottom of ribs and the navel
Sanskrit name: Manipura
Mantra: Ram
Colour: yellow
No. of lotus petals: 10
Element: Air
Crystals: yellow citrine, sunstone, amber
Oils: bergamot, vetiver, yang ylang
Incense: Ginger, woodruff
Connected with: concentration, ambition, focus, intellect, inner peace, digestion, sense of self, personal identity, willpower, motivation

HEART CHAKRA
Location: centre of chest
Sanskrit name: Anahata
Mantra: Yam
Colour: Green
No. of lotus petals: 12
Element: Water
Crystals: rose quartz, emerald, jade, peridot
Oils: rosewood, rose, bergamot
Incense: lavender
Connected with: emotions, feelings, compassion, love, self acceptance, cardio-vascular health, relationships

THROAT CHAKRA
Location: hollow of neck (just above collarbones)
Sanskrit name: Vishuddha
Mantra: Ham
Colour: blue
No. of lotus petals: 16
Element: AEthyr / Spirit
Crystals: sodalite, turquoise, aquamarine
Oils: eucalyptus, chamomile, lavender
Incense: frankincense, benzoin
Connected with: voice, self-expression, communication, speaking your truth, assertiveness, confidence, integrity

BROW / THIRD EYE CHAKRA
Location: between the eyebrows and up a little
Sanskrit name: Ajna
Mantra: Aam
Colour: indigo
No. of petals: 2
Element: Light
Crystals: tiger’s eye, lapis lazuli, sapphire
Oils: basil, sandalwood, thyme, rose geranium
Incense: mugwort
Connected with: intuition, psychic abilities, being in tune with everything around you, ESP

CROWN CHAKRA
Location: just above the crown of your head
Sanskrit name: Sahasrara
Mantra: Om
Colour: violet
No. of lotus petals: 1,000
Element: All / None
Crystals: amethyst, selenite, clear quartz, diamond
Oils: frankincense, rosemary
Incense: myrrh
Connected with: unity, spirituality, sacredness, enlightenment, knowledge, wisdom, true understanding, divine bliss, Ultimate Power / the Creator, deities, universal oneness

BLOOD

Blood is important – just ask anyone involved in forensics.
But what has blood got to do with Magick? My answer will hopefully make sense to even the fluffiest of bunnies.

Everyone knows blood contains DNA right? That double-helix of genes that dictates our biological blueprint – whether we have dark skin or fair, blue eyes or hazel.
Blood is life. It is the fundamental base of who we are, how we start our journey of self-discovery. Even if you don’t get along with your blood relatives, the connection you share – your blood-bond – gives you one of your earliest identifiers, influencing who you decide you are in this world. Your culture, traditions, family – everyone feels the need to identify with a group, to belong. When you’re young your blood provides the first instance of that.

Another facet of blood’s importance is a little more “magickal” – menarche (onset of menstruation). Women’s blood, Moon blood, Gaia’s blessing – whatever name it is given, it’s an important and powerful part of every woman’s life. Obviously in our Western culture, nowadays especially, menarche & menses are only experienced by women.
When a girl embarks upon her own journey of menses, she is joining all women – those of her family, her culture, the whole world! It is an important, empowering stage of a young woman’s life, and a rite of passage that will only amplify her personal power.

Blood can be used in Magick too. Now before anyone gets all upset, protesting “oh no that’s dark Magick!” Or “it’s not right to self harm, get help!” let me say a few things before elaborating on blood as a magickal tool / ingredient.
1) Yes, Blood Magick is ‘dark’ Magick. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything has to exist in balance, right? Then how can only working with light be balanced? Life is full of polarity, bad/good, light/dark, night/day, etc – and so Magick is no different. Yet ‘dark’ Magick isn’t all about evil, or causing harm – it can be very rewarding to work with your Shadow Self.
2) I completely agree with the second protest. If you’re harming yourself for the sake of it, or because of a mental illness, you should definitely seek help. I myself have been in that position, and found it incredibly helpful to speak to a professional (as well as close friends) about my need/obsession of self-harming.
3) An additional point: I am NOT & will NEVER in any way shape or form encouraging anyone to cause themselves, or anyone else, harm for any purpose whatsoever.

Now that’s been stated, we can get to the Blood-Magick link. Blood can be used for many different purposes in Magick, such as devotion, connection, or anointing. Let’s look at these examples in closer detail.
Devotion: blood can be used as an offering to deities, spirits, entities, etc. as an act of sacrificial devotion – offering an intimate part of yourself, allowing them to bond & connect with you, your blood, and your unique energy signature.
Connection: blood can be utilised in ritual or spells to tie you more intimately & closely to the Magick worked. It can also help in rites involving biological ancestors or other biological family.
Anointing: blood can be used to anoint and consecrate magickal tools such as athames, candles, wands, your BoS, etc. This creates a more powerful link between a practitioner and the Magick worked by them, with their tools – it helps to align the innate qualities or Magick within the item with your personal energy & Magick.

NOTE: if anyone reading this post is interested enough to start using Blood Magick, please make sure you keep the following things in mind…
– be careful WHERE you draw blood from
– don’t EVER share needles/blades/etc. The safest way to draw blood I can think of is to use a medical lancet (the pricking things used by diabetics when checking their blood sugar)
– be mindful of ANY & ALL medical conditions that may affect or be effected by drawing blood
– be careful in the amount of blood you draw, both in QUANTITY and FREQUENCY
– menstrual blood is ALWAYS a less risky, if somewhat messier, option

I hope this has been informative, and makes you re-examine any pre-conceived ideas you may have about Blood Magick.