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The Magical Egg and Celebrating Ostara Through Food
Article ID: 14483
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The Magical Egg: Eggs are a symbol of life, creation, birth and rebirth. Over the centuries, eggs have been revered, cursed, collected, broken, eaten, buried, filled, and used in innumerable ways by humans desiring to tap their mysterious energies (Cunningham, 1996) . Some see the earth itself as an egg. Eggs provide protein, which sustains life, as does the earth.
In Hindu mythology, Shiva created an egg out of which the earth and sky were formed. Other deities associated with eggs include Osiris, Aphrodite, Venus, and Eostra. In many mythologies throughout the world, eggs are linked with the divine.
According to some, eggs not only produce life (when fertilized) , they also symbolize life itself. The shell represents earth; the membrane represents air; the yolk is fire; the white is water. Eggs have even been used to save human lives, being sacrificed in place of humans in some ancient cultures.
Although most eggs that are consumed come from chickens, other birds' eggs are also used. Quail eggs are often seen in Asian cuisine, as are duck eggs. Gull eggs are considered a delicacy in England and Norway.
Besides being a nutritious food source, eggs also have many magical uses. Eggs were thought to give protection, possibly because of the white color of many shells. In ancient Egypt, eggs were held in the hand while reciting protective invocations, as a method of protecting people on ships from drowning. (Cunningham, 1996) . In Thebes, Egypt, the tomb of Haremhab, built about 1420 BCE shows a depiction of a man carrying bowls of ostrich eggs and other large eggs, presumably those of the pelican, as offerings. Perhaps this man was asking for protection, or giving thanks.
Eggs have also been used for divination. The first egg laid by a hen is thought to possess special powers. Records show us that eggs have been used for divination in Europe since the 17th century. The egg white was dripped into a basin of water and people gazed at the shapes made by the whites. This practice was brought to America in the 17th century as well, and some believe that this little "game" was the start of the hysteria that lead to the Salem Witch Trials.
In some cultures, an egg was rolled across the marriage bed to promote the conception and birth of healthy, male children. Jewish women used to eat double-yolked eggs in an attempt to cure sterility. Eggs are added to fertility diets, as well as diets for spirituality, protection and grounding.
* Note: If you like eggs and are not allergic to them, enjoy them any way you wish. Just remember, moderation is key. Also be careful when consuming products that contain raw eggs. Children, the elderly, pregnant women, or those with compromised immune systems should not consume raw eggs
And now on to the good stuff...
Celebrating Ostara Through Food
As I consider myself to be a kitchen Witch, I like to celebrate the Sabbats in the kitchen. To me, taking the bounty of the gods and goddesses and transforming those beautiful ingredients into a meal is just as good as any ritual. The only tools I need are my hands and a few basic kitchen implements: a good knife (an athame, if you wish) , a soup pot (cauldron) , a cast iron skillet, and some wands in the form of wooden spoons.
Eggs and dairy products are traditional foods for this time of year, as well as fresh spring vegetables like tender asparagus. Asparagus is associated with the element of fire and the energy of sex. Combine this with the fertility of the egg if you're trying to have a baby. It couldn't hurt, and it might help, if you visualize it helping.
The following recipe is one that I make for my mother on her birthday. As her birthday is in December, I substitute broccoli for asparagus (see notes) .
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 tablespoons water or milk
1/2 cup grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 oz ham or prosciutto, diced
salt and pepper to taste
olive or Canola oil
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the asparagus for about 5 minutes, until tender and wilted. Remove, strain, and run cold water over it in a colander. Preheat oven to 350 F.
In an oven-safe skillet, heat approx. 2 tablespoons oil. Cook the onion 5 minutes, until tender. Add cooked diced ham or Prosciutto, if using.
In a large bowl beat the eggs with milk or water. Season with salt and pepper. Add cheese. Pour mixture into the skillet, covering the eggs and ham. Arrange trimmed asparagus on top.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until eggs are almost set but not brown. Place skillet in the oven and cook the frittata until the top is browned and eggs are completely set.
Slip a spatula around the periphery of the frittata to loosen it and slide it onto a serving plate and serve hot.
[Notes: Feel free to leave out the meat if non meat-eaters will be present. Serve with crusty rolls and a salad of spring greens (dandelion greens, for example, or baby spinach) . This is also a good recipe to have at Yule. The yellow of the egg yolks reminds us of the returning sun. If making this at Yule, omit the asparagus and substitute broccoli. You may also wish to add some red bell pepper, whose bright red color adds a little extra fire energy. Broccoli: Moon, water, protection (Cunningham, 1996.) Add broccoli to protective diets.]
Other spring foods include sprouts, artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, radishes, rhubarb and watercress.
Ideas for spring dishes include lamb (prosperity) , salad with spinach, sprouts and radishes, tea sandwiches with butter and watercress, rhubarb pie, carrot soup with dill, cauliflower and new potato curry (aloo gobi) , fried cauliflower with yogurt (served cold and delicious in the warmer months) , roasted asparagus with garlic and chili (lots of fire energy in this dish) , and seafood such as red sea bream, sardines, cockles and clams.
Nurture your fertile mind and your budding creativity this spring. Get into the kitchen and see what you can come up with to celebrate this season of rebirth and renewal. What will you grow this year? Will it be a new-found love of cooking? As they say in Turkey, Afiyet olsun - good appetite - and Blessed Ostara.
Cunningham, Scott. (1996) . Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen
Copyright: Copyright 2011 Brandy Griffin. All rights reserved. Note: This is reproduced from my blog http://witchininthekitchen.blogspot.com.
Location: Milton, West Virginia
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