Welcome to a more or less Celtic Reconstructionist blog, where love of the Old Gods is still strong

Freitag, 2. März 2012

Eating and Spirituality


I can’t really say much about the magical properties of food, since I’m just getting started to learn them and made a very long, very colourful list last week. So for this week, I’d like to address why I don’t eat meat and what this has to do with my spirituality.

When I started to read the basic works on Wicca in the summer of 2008 I came to the conclusion that the divine was inherent in everything: in us humans, who are divine ourselves; in nature, the trees, the rain and the wind; and in animals. Hence, I felt that I would not be living up to my ideals if I continued to eat the animals that, like me, were a part of the divine (interestingly enough, J., my husband’s nine-year-old cousin, recently came to the same conclusion, saying that “the animals are a part of God’s creation, too”).
This realisation coincided with my moving to England for my year abroad, where vegetarian products are much more readily available than in Germany. After a while I noticed that the longer I abstained from meat, the more I felt more in harmony with my surroundings. Nature seemed brighter, and I felt more attuned to the divine. Incidentally, it was in autumn of that year when I first met my matron goddess. I also noticed that while staying at my mum’s for visits during that year that I couldn’t really get up to any spiritual work (even the less obviously pagan ones such as praying) – even though the Harz mountains are a very spiritual place for me. 

Cunningham (2007: 26) addresses this, too, when he describes how he adopted a vegetarian diet once but gave it up again as he felt so spiritual that even “walking became a mystical experience.” So we see that not eating meat is not a decision fit for everyone. However, there are many other foods that can have an influence on our spirituality. I, for one, feel that a light meal before ritual is much better for me than, say, eating a pizza.
What about you? Do you have any preferences on what to eat or not to eat before ritual? And how does your spiritual path influence your eating habits?

My spirituality is also reflected in how I deal with foodstuffs. First of all, I try to cook and buy only what I really plan on eating. Wasting foods just because I can’t be bothered to measure ingredients and think hard on how hungry I really am doesn’t agree with my view of a mindful spirituality.
When I have the time, I also love to go to the local farmer’s market and buy fresh foods. I feel that preparing foods that are available naturally in my area at this time of year help me get in touch with the changes in nature, so I celebrate the sabbats with a different, more informed outlook. And second of all, the promise of fresh vegetables gives me something to look forward to: I still remember how my family would be waiting impatiently for a visit by my aunt and uncle because they’d bring fresh tomatoes and courgettes that they grew in their garden. Also, vegetables like asparagus are only available for quite a short time each spring, so preparing it is something very special for me, almost a ritual in itself. I’m thinking of actually writing out a ritual for this to thank my matron for the bounty that She gives us. 
 I’m also planning on working more with the magic inherent in foods; however, I find myself disagreeing quite often with the list Cunningham provides. For example, I don’t associate cinnamon with monetary goals (Cunningham 2007: 134). And I think that fennel heightens my spiritual awareness; however this property isn’t listed in Cunningham’s book (Cunningham 2007: 138). So do you know any other good resource books that discuss the magic of food?

I sincerely hope that I did not sound too preachy here, since I don’t want to advocate a vegetarian lifestyle; after all, what and how you eat is a highly individual decision. So don’t let anybody (other than your doctor, if you have health issues) tell you that the way you eat is not right if you feel it benefits you and your spirituality, cause your body is yours alone!

Blessed be,
Harzgeist

Sources:
Cunningham, Scott. 2007. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen. 3rd Edition. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn.

images:
goddess with animals: http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d124/BluebirdAcresFarm144/animal_angel-1.jpg

Kommentare:

  1. While I am not a vegetarian, I do love my fresh fruits and veggies, and especially asparagus. I think that nothing says welcome Spring more than asparagus. I go to the Asparagus Festival every year in May in a little town called West Brookfield, MA. There I have had asparagus in so many ways, but my favorite is roasted with olive oil and garlic. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Wow, roasted asparagus! I shall definitely try it this year!

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  2. Very interesting post. I am not a vegetarian either but can appreciate those who are. I am way to selfish when it comes to food and can not imagine not having meat. Very inspiring post though. Thank you! :)

    Brenda Lee
    www.paganinme.com

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    1. Thank you! I've heard similar thoughts from friends who love their bacon too much to give it up ;-) But as long as we're all accepting of each-other's decisions of what to eat (or not to eat), I embrace others' opinions.

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  3. it is true that vegetarianism makes you feel more mystical, that is because meat is a grounding and centering type of food. If you go into a vegan diet even more desconnected from the earth you can be... but this desconnection i find brings an imbalance on the energies... we become too much elemental air and forget the earth elemental...
    im neither of them, im a proud omnivorous, beacuse our bodies where designed for meat and dairy intake, so what you have to keep in mind when you go into those diets is to be sure you are taking in everything your body needs that are not easily found in vegetables and so on...

    just a warning to be careful, i have a friend that is vegan and she had lack of many vitamins and minerals (although she did take pills of suplementation, your body doesnt absorb them right), it was bad to a point she started fainting, convulsing and she became anorexic... so this is why im really skeptic!!!

    apart from it, when i think of trying to not hurt animals for my health i always remember, well vegetables are also beings with feelings and im hurting them too!!! and Im interrupting the cicle of life by cutting out meat...
    this is my opinion on why i don´t do vegetarism and even less veganism... but im not agaisnt it, just ask to please see a nutritionist coz that is the best professional to help you put together your diet without harming yourself... medical doctors dont really know much about it, so be careful and good luck with your choice!!!

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  4. I've had discussions with many of my friends about the potential health risks of being vegetarian. While I appreciate their concern (and yours!), it is a fact that any diet has its risks, but people don't generally go about pointing out to a pizza-lover that it might make them overweight as much as they bother a vegetarian because refusing to eat meat is supposedly not healthy or that it is not the way humans are supposed to eat (which, I find, is not true, since humans also weren't made to eat fatty fast foods and drink Coke, but they still do).
    On the other hand, there is enough information out there claiming that eating too much meat is also a health-risk (see e.g. Jonathan Safran Foer's book "Eating Animals"), but I'd never tell a meat-lover to go see a doctor ;-) And it's a fact that many Asians, as well as many African people, do not digest dairy products well, so I don't think that humans were made to consume them.

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  5. I have tried a few times to go vegetarian, it never lasted long. I think part of the difficulty is always living with other people and having communal meals, I've had to compromise my food choices with theirs. I hadn't really considered spiritual benefits, I just hate the idea of killing animals when it's not necessary, although at the same time I sometimes wonder why I'm ok with killing vegetables and wonder if I should stick to fruits, which are designed to be eaten. It is easy to go too far and over-analyze everything. I think the important thing I really want to reach is mindfulness, which you also mention here. Something has to die so I can live, what's more important to me than cutting out certain types of food is that I recognize the balance and loss of life there. And eventually my fiance want to start growing and making as much of our food as we can rather than buying everything prepackaged, so that will help too.

    As far as other sources, I haven't read her books yet, but Patricia Telesco has been suggested to me by many people as a resource on kitchen witchery. I know she includes mostly recipes, but there is some information on why the ingredients are used as well. I'm not sure what her source is, though, and you might find it's just Scott Cunningham's correspondences made into a cookbook.

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    1. I understand your point about balance; I've been meaning to address this in my post, too, but I didn't feel I had the experience to say something worthwhile about it.

      Thanks for pointing me to Patricia Telesco. I've read one of her books about daily rituals, and I quite liked it, so I'm going to look into her work more!

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