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!
Cunningham, Scott. 2007. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen. 3rd Edition. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn.
goddess with animals: http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d124/BluebirdAcresFarm144/animal_angel-1.jpg