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August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
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August 3rd. 2014 ...
Are You a Natural Witch?
You Have to Believe We Are Magic...
July 27th. 2014 ...
Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?
Astrological Ages and the Great Astrological End-Time Cycle
The New Jersey Finishing School for Would-Be Glamour Girls and Boys
July 20th. 2014 ...
Being an Underage Wiccan
Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition
Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of the Witches
Thoughts on Ghost Hunting
July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
July 6th. 2014 ...
Keys: Opening the Portals into Other Worlds
The Lore of the Door
Leaves of Love
June 29th. 2014 ...
What Does the Bible Say About Witches and Pagans?
Are You My Familiar ?
Invocations of the God and Goddess
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
June 22nd. 2014 ...
Witchcraft vs. Religion
Christianity and Paganism: Why All Of the Fighting?
June 15th. 2014 ...
Becoming Your Own Wise One
Canine Familiars: Role of the Alpha
June 8th. 2014 ...
Moral Relativism and Wicca
Paganism in Cebu, Philippines
June 1st. 2014 ...
Rediscovering My Pagan Faith
13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah
May 25th. 2014 ...
Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials
Awakening to our Celestial Nature (A Free 8-Day Course)
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10 Things I Love about my Sacred Work as a Public Witch
May 18th. 2014 ...
Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)
The Medea Within Us All
Visits from the Departed
May 11th. 2014 ...
Breaking the Law of Return
Karma and Sin
Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!
The Sin Concept
May 4th. 2014 ...
When to Let Go...When to Hold On
Goddessy: Sorceress Speaks On Beauty
Embracing my Inner Goddess through Belly Dance
April 27th. 2014 ...
Mental Illness in the Pagan Community
World Crisis: Awaken Witches and Take Action
Being Pagan, Being Bipolar
"Earth Day" Is A Pagan Conspiracy!
April 20th. 2014 ...
Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide
Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus
Morality and Controversy in the Craft
A Pagan Perspective on Easter
The Star Child
April 13th. 2014 ...
Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils
Being a Worrisome Witch
Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!
What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops
April 6th. 2014 ...
The Elements and the Quarters
Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014
How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”
13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah
March 30th. 2014 ...
Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order
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Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis
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March 23rd. 2014 ...
Spirituality and Social Change
The First Step to Anywhere!
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Raising a Kitchen Witch From Scratch
Article ID: 15197
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 702
Times Read: 3,508
RSS Views: 12,422
Author: Seba O'Kiley [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: September 30th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,508
“In fact, people who posses not magic at all can instill their home-cooked meals with love and security and health, transforming ingredients and bringing disparate people together as family and friends. There’s a reason that when opening one’s home to guests, the first thing you do is offer food and drink. Cooking is a kind of everyday magic.” -- Juliet Blackwell
When I was wee, I stayed with my Grandma quite a bit. She was my mentor, my teacher, my “other momma” and augmented my kitchen learnin’ in her own natural way. Her grapevines were teaching tools, as in: grow them slow, water daily, “feel” their skin for trouble and dry them, molasses-slow-like, in the hottest rays of the sun–then rest them in cool niches for storage. (Her own aunties were down-home wine makers over around Elk River, Alabama. We didn’t talk about that much.) Grandma was rightly specific about the element of touch when it came to process. I can still smell her favorite peach stand on Highway 72–that cloying, somehow musky aroma that smacks of pies and late afternoon sun and where all the best “picked anything” sat on rough wood shelves. The memory that resonates the most is:
Dusky, bruised pink horizon slung low under an already indigo sky . . . fireflies dancing in the dim outline of pines . . . and there, off the highway, a brightly lit “farm stand” called her name. A kitchen witch’s dream, complete with roughshod tables, sawdust floors, jams and jellies glimmering purple, red and golden under the hum of precariously hung light fixtures. And the process: her hand reaching out to melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, feeling the texture, feeling for a soft spot indicating hidden rot, running her chewed fingernails across the microscopic hairs of peaches and okra. I think I finally understand now, all these decades later, what she was teaching me back then. We were feeling our way through choices that otherwise might have been mislead by labels, presentation or advertisement.
If Paganism is the “Old Religion, ” then the cooking that we do down here in the Deep South is the “Old Kitchen Witchery.” It is marked by a disregard of measurements, tasting each and every step, burning our fingers and palms and tongues in our refusal to disconnect from each and every sacred step and the rustic presentation of soul-satisfying suppers. It is the art of seed preservation, pickling, canning, growing, sowing, harvesting and frying or simmering in hundred-year-old, seasoned iron skillets. It is the unabashed reverence for home and hearth, community and family and a well-fed body. For that, y’all, we need to feel our way.
Perhaps this is why we tend to keep our recipes within the family, pass them down in grease-stained books and reminisce on the soul who crafted it when its spell weaves its way onto our tables. They represent the sacred process, the sacred thump of someone’s divine presence in the realm of the living. Sometimes, that process was a journey as a momma. Sometimes, that process is the struggle through an economically crippling period of life. Most times?
Sustenance. Pure and simple.
One night, my grandma had suffered my whining on about being “hongry” about all she could. Before I knew it, flour was sifting through the air, butter was being melted slowly in a pot and cocoa met sugar across the plane of the most delicate crust, rolled and sliced like buns. Little more than pantry items had conjured themselves into a little soul food for her grandchild–and I never forgot the story with which I sopped it all down. Seems that, in the Depression, treats like Poptarts and Little Debbie cakes weren’t within the reach of chubby child fingers (imagine my shock) forcing mommas across the land to get a might creative. Love. Simple and sweet. Love manifested itself out of bare pantries and broken pocketbooks and landed on the tongues of country younguns and lit their hearts like butter on a biscuit.
Is that not an oral tradition? In more ways than one? Stories, legends, legacies weaving from farm to table, ancestors to children, echoing their way through time in fatback and the juice of the perfect peach, sliding down sticky Alabama fingers. I hear her voice every time touch a peach. I feel her warmth with every stir of a wooden spoon. I know my own thread in the tapestry as I write, by hand: pinch of salt, an egg or two (depending on their girth) , serves ’round six if fin they ain’t that ravished. Now, if that doesn’t represent tradition, the creek’s done gone dry and the fish have flopped uneaten on red clay.
And catfish is what’s for dinner tonight, y’all. (The Southern Fried Initiate/Daughter hankered for it and I plan to feed that sweet flesh of hers. Right after I teach her how to batter it, just so, with buttermilk and stone ground yellow meal.)
I reckon’ that night at the Limestone County Farm Stand taught me most of what I needed to get by in life. Lessee:
1. Support your locals. This builds a foundation for the community and helps sustain all in the circle.
2. Local sustenance tastes sweeter, brighter and fosters a connection between the dirt between our feet and the neighbor waving howdy from the yard.
3. Eating locally works in healing ways. Local honey can ease yor’ allergies. Backyard flowering vegetation is safer in a pollination drift.
4. Rotted fruit is best in the compost heap, so as it can be recycled into an element of growth.
5. Growing things your own self nurtures a sense of pride, wholeness and is sustainable for your wallet and the cheapest Prozac in town. (Get yor’ hands in the dirt. I guarantee that the cucumbers won’t be the only things fruiting soon.)
6. Share healthy seed, extra sprouts, bushels of harvest, recipes, preserves and suppers. Believe it or not, there is ALWAYS room for another set of feet under a table.
7. Thank the universe, and yor’ local farmer, for the bounty. Divine process made that dinner. Hit knees, bless sustenance and grab a fork.
8. Pay it forward. Share those potions and tricks to ward off caterpillars, aphids and rabbits. Get over to some soul’s house and help build that chicken house. (Good energy out, good energy in. This is true building of a community, y’all. And you never know when a wolf might blow YOUR house down. Re-read “Stone Soup.”)
9. Barter. Money sure ain’t everything, and in fact, it doesn’t represent much at all. Got a bushel of banana peppers, but sure would like some cayenne? Are you one helluva seamstress, but need someone who tinkers on cars? Well, skip the government taxes and get to trading! (This is a lost art in our community and one of the most Pagan things you can do.)
10. Revel, wildly and hopelessly, in the tastes and smells and textures of our sweet Mother Earth. We all think too damn much. Feel your way. Feel the grass beneath your toes. Feel the energy traversing through the veins of a spinach leave, the sweet burst of tomato seed, the vinegar tart of a pickled pear. We are so short for this world. What blasphemy do we enact when we forget to commune with it all?
Imagine, for one moment, if Gran hadn’t stopped there on Highway 72 with that young wile chile?
Kitchen Witchery: The art of sustaining legacy, legend, community and family through the sacred process of communion with Mother Earth. Produces magic, healthy bodies, balanced minds and promotes sustainability in all realms. Serves . . . .
All of us.
This post first appeared at Southernkitchenwitch.com on August 12th, 2012.
Location: Auburn, Alabama
Author's Profile: To learn more about Seba O'Kiley - Click HERE
Other Articles: Seba O'Kiley has posted 6 additional articles- View them?
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