Articles/Essays From Pagans
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
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?
The Power of the Gorgon
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
Everything's Alright, Yes: Mary Magdalene
Results Magic and the Moral Compass
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)
How to Work With Your Muse
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
Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!
Karma and Sin
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
How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”
Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014
13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Cranberry and Cool Weather Kitchen Magick
Article ID: 14321
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,398
Times Read: 2,492
RSS Views: 17,425
Author: Kiki's Cauldron
Posted: December 5th. 2010
Times Viewed: 2,492
For many, cranberries become a part of the meal between Samhain and Yule. Prior Samhain, fresh cranberries are harvested from northern bogs and available for many autumn dishes. At Thanksgiving, stuffing is sweetened with a heaping spoonful of delicious cranberry chutney. And at Yule, many enjoy the fragrant smell of cranberry cooking in dessert dishes or in its perfume smell by the hearth with cranberry-scented candles. The cranberry’s deep red color is admirable, exotic, and comforting. It’s unique tale of growth in bog and harvest in water, it’s lavish mythical lore, and even its long list of health benefits make it a berry worthy of examining for magickal qualities.
Cranberries are one of only three berries native to North America (the other two being the blueberry and concord grape) . They grow on low-level vines and flourish in bogs (that is to say: they need acidic peat soil and fresh water to grow) . Cranberries are also a berry of the north, commonly growing in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Canada. A smaller variety of the cranberry also grows in Scandinavia. Oftentimes when we see commercials on television with cranberry gardeners knee-high in cranberry-filled water, we assume that the cranberries actually grow in water. However, this is an image of a specific farming technique known as “water harvesting.” In this process, the cranberry vine-filled bogs are flooded with water. Special farming equipment known as watering reels turn and stir the water in the flooded bogs, loosening the berries from the vine. Because the cranberries contain pockets of air inside them, they float to the surface, which then makes it easy to corral and harvest. Cranberries can also be harvested the old fashion way. “Dry harvesting” is the simple method of plucking the berry from the dry vines during the fall.
The Cranberry in History, Lore and Mythology
The bog is the home of the cranberry, but was also sacrificial stomping ground of ancient societies in Northern Europe. Consider all of the archeological findings that have been discovered in bogs from Denmark Scotland, England, Sweden, and Northern Germany: daggers, swords, shields, spears, javelins, drinking vessels, sickles, y-shaped dowsing rods and jewelry have all be recovered from bogs. Also recovered from a bog was the famous Gundestrup Cauldron, a silver cauldron of Celtic origin, which had mythological narratives on it. Even more shockingly, excellently preserved human bodies, which appear to have been victims of sacrifice, have been discovered in bog. It appears that to ancient society, the watery bog was a place of significant importance, where sacrifices and treasures were willingly deposited.
Some researchers and academics have suggested that the bog deposits were offerings for protection, or rituals to bring fertility to the land and well-being to the land’s inhabitants. One cannot avoid the idea of a spooky, dank bog on a cold dark night either. Perhaps it is the fact that the unstable, marshy territory could lead to hazardous falls and injuries. Legend has it that the murky, watery parts of a bog were bottomless, so to step in one meant imminent doom. Hans Christian Andersen shared many stories of the bog, most of which involved witches, elves and fairies. And in English and Welsh folklore, Will-o-the-wisps are said to be glowing lights that would float above the bog. Some believed that they were benevolent fairy or nature spirits that acted as guides to lost travelers; on the other hand, some saw the Will-’o-the-Wisps as ill spirited fairies, dark elves or spirits connected to the devil.
It’s also interesting to note that the cranberry has a special place in the hearts of the Finnish and students and admirers of ancient Lapland mythology. The Kalevala, epic legend of Finland, and reputed inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, is a compiled collection of Finnish oral stories that have been sung by Lapland bards for centuries. In the final passage, or Rune, of The Kalevala, we hear of the tale of a virgin Goddess’ encounter with the cranberry. Described as a beautiful maiden, Marjatta is a Goddess who is chaste, yet connected with her Northland home. While roaming the forests, she hears the singing of the cranberry, which begs her to eat him. Because of her maidenhood, she couldn’t pluck the berry, but instead used a charm to have the berry rise from the vine and into her mouth. After she ate the berry, she was impregnated. (*See endnote) . When her family found out of her pregnancy, they did not believe her story of the cranberry and was shunned. Similar to the story of Christ’s birth, Marjatta gave birth to her sun in a stable in a forest. The heroic god of The Kalevala, Väinämöinen, is summoned to decide the destiny of the baby. When it is told that the child’s father is a cranberry, Väinämöinen sentences the baby to banishment in the forest and seals his death. However, when the baby pleads for his life by pointing out Väinämöinen’s unfair judgement, he is saved. Väinämöinen also recognizes that the son of the cranberry would grow to be his successor: a royal king and mighty ruler.
Some of the American history and lore of cranberries is fascinating as well. Native Americans were very familiar with the cranberry, and used it graciously as food, medicine, and dye. They used the berry to flavor meats, in a poultice to heal wounds and lower inflammation, and as a dye to make deep burgundy rugs. When Dutch and German settlers came to America, they named the berry “Crane Berry.” This name was inspired by the berry’s pink spring blossoms, which were said to resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill Crane.
The Cranberry’s Astounding Health Benefits
There are so many health benefits for cranberries that after seeing how they can help your general health, you may consider keeping cranberry juice, tea or supplements in stock in your kitchen. Cranberries are very effective in the healing and relief of urinary tract infections. Cranberries are chock-full of antioxidants, which could mean that cranberries could have anti-aging qualities. The juice is said to prevent peptic ulcers, while eating the berry is said to cut back dental plaque. Recent research has suggested that cranberry can reduce the development of kidney stones and the risk of cancer and heart disease. Cranberries contain no cholesterol, trace amounts of fat and minimal sodium. They have a hearty amount of Vitamin C and fiber, and historically were taken to sea by mariners who wished to fight scurvy.
There are countless recipes for cranberries available. If you have not indulged in the tart, yet sweet taste of cranberries, autumn and winter are the seasons to incorporate them into your meals, as they will usually be in stock between September and December. Two websites I highly recommend for recipes are the recipes available at Cape Cod Cranberry Grower’s Association ( http://www.cranberries.org/cranberries/recipes.html) and my favorite kitchen magazine: Cook’s Illustrated ( http://www.cooksillustrated.com/) .
Cranberries can be frozen, so they can last in the freezer for a long period of time. And, they are a “Prepper” and “Homesteader” friendly food, as they can be purchased canned, or be made into a preserve. Keep in mind as well: cranberries were used as a form of barter amongst Native American tribes!
Cranberry’s Magickal Components
Oftentimes, the cranberry’s beautiful red color has associated it with the planet Mars, and as a result, its magickal correspondences are similar to that of Mars. Because of this, cranberry can be used for protection, positive energy, courage, passion, determination, goals, and action. Consider having Cranberry Sauce as part of a protective meal, or drinking cranberry juice or tea while doing magick for anything associated with Mars.
If color were considered as a way of marking the cranberry’s magickal associations, it would be foolish to not highlight the deep, sensual and erotic red color as corresponding to love and lust magick. If you are cooking a meal for a loved one, consider incorporating cranberry into the meal. There is actually cranberry wine available, which fermentors of homemade wines and meads would find easy to brew (see “How to Make Cranberry Wine” for details: http://www.ehow.com/how_2123157_make-cranberry-wine.html) . In Magick Potions: How to Prepare and Use Homemade Incense, Oils, Aphrodisiacs and Much More, Gerina Dunwich supplies a recipe for “Lovers’ Meditation Blend.” In the context of her book, she suggests using this while working with the Lovers Tarot Card. You may also want to sip this tea while performing love magick. Simply add two teaspoons cherry juice to 1-cup hot cranberry tea. Stir it with a cinnamon stick clockwise. There is something incredibly comforting and warming about Cranberry, so to show your love and appreciation for your family and friends, consider adding Cranberry sauce or chutney to a dinner. It will bring a feeling of peace, comfort, warmth, good health and love to those who enjoy it.
Tale of Marjatta reminds us of the nutritional value of the cranberry- so fertile and powerful is the cranberry, that it is the vehicle for immaculate conception. Since it is tied to immaculate conception, and the birth of a child who will replace the old King, it can be linked to rejuvenation, reincarnation, and the themes of Yule and Christmas. Cranberry also has clear links to fertility magick in this context. Spell work aside, the nutritional benefits of the cranberry are worthy enough to be incorporated into a routine diet, as it will aid in overall health and well being.
Finally, it is important to not forget the magick of the bog, the motherland of cranberry. Here, we see cranberry’s tie to the supernatural, mystical, and ancient. In a place where humans and precious objects were sacrificed, there was much value put on the mystical powers of the bog. It is a place where the protection of people and armies, the fertility of land and nature, and the well being of those who visit it, could be determined and sought after through ritual and sacrifice. Perhaps you will include a bowl of cranberries next to your pomegranate on your Samhain altar to show thanks to the supernatural powers of the bog. Or simply, while cooking cranberries during the colder season or enjoying its fragrance in oil or a candle, you can reflect on the mystical, protective, and fertile powers of the deep red berry.
*Please note: Many translators cannot agree on which berry Marjatta actually enjoys in The Kalevala. Translations include cranberry, bilberry, lingonberry, blackberry and strawberry. The original Finnish word used was “punapuola, ” which is indeed a variety of cranberry, though smaller and sweeter than the one grown in Northern America.
Bonser, Wilfrid. “The Magic Birth ‘Motif’ in The Kalevala.” Man 18 (1918) : 20-22. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2787792.
Chamberlain, A.F. “Notes on the History, Customs, and Beliefs of the Mississagua Indians.” The Journal of American Folklore 1.2 (1888) : 150-160. http://www.jstor.org/stable/533821.
“Cranberry Benefits and Information.” NutraSanus. http://www.nutrasansu.com/cranberry.html.
Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen. Llewellyn Publications: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2003.
Dunwich, Gerina. Magick Potions: How To Prepare and Use Homemade Incense, Oil, Aphrodisiacs and More. Citadel Press Books: New York, 1998.
Glob, P.V. Trans. Rupert Bruce-Mitford. The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved. New York Review Books: New York, 1969.
“History of Cranberries.” Cape Cod Cranberry Association. http://www.cranberries.org.
Holland, Eileen. The Spellcaster’s Reference: Magickal Timing for the Wheel of the Year. Weiser Books: San Francisco, 2009.
Kelly, Eaomonn P. “Secrets of the Bog Bodies: The Enigma of the Iron Age Explained.” Archaeology Ireland 20.1: 26-30 (2006) . http://www.jstor.org/stable/20559121.
Meredith, Dianne. “Hazards in the Bog- Real and Imagined.” Geographical Review 92.3: 319-332 (2002) . http://www.jstor.org/stable/4140913.
The Kalevala. Compiled by Elias Lönnrot. Trans. John John Marin Crawford. Project Guttenberg. 31 May 2002. http://www.gutenberg.org/.
“Where do Cranberries Grow?” Ocean Spray Food Service. http://www.oceansprayfoodservice.com.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Author's Profile: To learn more about Kiki's Cauldron - Click HERE
Bio: Kiki has studied magick, mythology, spirituality and witchcraft for over a decade, and writes on these topics frequently. When not studying or writing, she is putting together herbs, incense, oil blends, and spell candles for Kiki’s Cauldron, a line of natural and magickal goods and tarot readings available on Etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/kikiscauldron. In addition to studying spirituality and magick, she has recently received her Master’s degree in Medieval English from the University of Nottingham, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern Connecticut State University. She lives in Nashville with her boyfriend and 17 frogs and toads.
Other Articles: Kiki's Cauldron has posted 2 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Kiki's Cauldron... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).