Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
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February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
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The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
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January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
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: 528
Times Read: 3,274
RSS Views: 12,422
Author: Seba O'Kiley [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: September 30th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,274
“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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