Popular Pagan Holidays
Autumn: The Croning Time
Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...
Daily Goddess Awareness
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chri... Yuletide!
Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism
Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever
The Dark Half of the Year
Ah...To Be A Witch...
Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time
The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
Autumn Equinox: A Point of Balance on the Wheel of the Year
The Beltaine Storm
Winter Holiday Intentions and Food Magik
Spiritual Aspects of Yule
Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead
Lughnasadh: The Deeper Meaning
A Meditation on Samhain: How Lucky You Are.
Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)
Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story
A Celtic View of Samhain
Ostara: Enter the Light!
A Summer Solstice Primer
Witches Lost in Halloween
Supermoms’ and Superdads’ Defense Against “Holiday Kryptonite”
Imbolc...or As The Wheel Turns
The Best Thing About Death
A Story For Autumn
Yule and the New Year
Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
The Babylonian Ghost Festival
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
Dealing with the Darkness, Post-Samhain
Solstice of the Soul
First Thanksgiving... in China
The Samhain Experience
Love Lives On: A Samhain Reflection on Death, Rebirth, and the Afterlife
A White Christmas in Fuyang
Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
The Story of Ostara
The First Yule
Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In
A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~
Solstice Swim at Beach 69, Puako, Hawaii
The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening
Unity During Samhain
Mabon..Balance and Reflection
Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death
Ghosts, Omens, and Fact-Finding: Wandering In Today's Eco-Interface
Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc
The Blood is in the Land
Sandy Was The Name Of the Dark Goddess This Samhain
The Promise of the Harvest
At Samhain, Meet Bilé, God of the Dead of Ireland and the Danu, the All -Mother
Mabon - The Flash of the Setting Sun
Yules Lessons from Days of Yore: Perfect Love, Perfect Trust
Parting the Veils and Opening to Ancestral Wisdom
Samhain is Ablaze with Reflections of My Father
Lammas: The Sacrificial Harvest
"The Horn of Plenty": A Pathworking for Lammas
Lascivious Lupercalia: Why Valentine's is a Vital Pagan Holy Day for the Modern World
The Call of the Crone
Opening to the Anima Mundi – The Gift of the Equinox
Symbology of Altar Decorations
The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice
The Serpent's Kiss: Beltane's Fire
Back to Basics: Imbolc
The Lover's Flame-Beltane
Ode to Ostara
Sonoran Desert Wheel of the Year (Square Peg, Round Hole)
Anthesteria, the Hellenic "Samhain"
Samhain: the Sunbeam in the Twilight
Gaia's Mantle:The Greening of the Earth
Beltane and Samhain: Reflections of Life and Death
Brigid of the Ponderosa
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 14297
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,138
Times Read: 5,105
RSS Views: 16,100
Author: Willow Moon
Posted: November 21st. 2010
Times Viewed: 5,105
I remember with such accuracy and fondness the smell of my kitchen as a child when Shadowfest grew near. I looked forward to the pomegranates, squash, bread, grapes, dates and figs that would become the focal point of our family meals. It was a special time, a time of gathering and preparing, laughing and growing closer together as a family unit while exploring the depths of the ancestral energies that are so prominent in an Italian household.
Each of us held certain honors at this time of year; I assisted with canning and drying for winter stores while my brothers harvested our garden wealth and prepared the yard for the coming winter. My Nona (grandmother) took care of the cooking and freezing, working her wondrous magic and creating a way’ for the ancestors to find’ once the time was “just right”. It is this way’ that I remember so fondly
As I gather the ingredients for Ancestor Stew I remember those feelings, those unshakable knowings and yearnings and the need to replicate the recipe “just right” so the way’ may be made’. I shop on line for Fava beans only to find small, insignificant beans, not the monstrous beauties that are a requirement…nay, a necessity to create a gate through which my ancestors will arrive. With time becoming an ever-growing concern I decided to try a Middle Eastern market; two weeks prior to Shadowfest I have my mammoth beauties.
With the beans taking a full 24 hrs to soak (rather than 6-8 hrs) , I have some time to gather my resources. With prayers and intention I gather the herbs that I’ve nurtured in my little container garden all season. I am especially pleased with the fennel; she needed more sun than she was able to receive and whether through my nurturing or my lack of bother she has become strong and proud, full of aroma and waiting for this one moment to add her magic to the way’. The oregano is curly this year, as if the ever changing – ever same pattern of the spiral is insistent upon being a focal point; smiling and humming, the herbs are gathered with mutual reverence and respect. I add these precious bundles to the soup stalk that is now warming gently upon the stove, releasing the fragrance that completely permeates the room; instantly I am swept backwards in time.
I remember my Nona standing in front of a huge pot adding the same herbs and releasing the same wonderfully comforting fragrance. I remember coming home to that delicious fragrance after a long day walking home from school in the cold air of early evening that marks the changing of seasons in Eastern Washington (Spokane) . As I stand in my own kitchen cooking with the beautiful spirits of the herbs I have loved and nurtured I continue to cast my mind back, to earlier times, to ancestors whose stories I have heard and to those I have never known.
Pomegranate is added, its rich plum sweetness adding to this spell through time. Dry red wine induces the fragrance, teasing it to a darker richness and bringing about an awareness of age and honor. The cornucopia continues with all things being added and layered in their appropriate time at the peak of waiting so as to enhance the “just right” moment of the creative force that is opening the way’.
It is time to add Favas, beautiful beans that are shaped like a pregnant Goddess and are held in high regard, they are considered holy when creating rites of passage. Although they are used in birthing rites and wedding rites, their “real” purpose is in assisting those who have crossed from this realm. Bringing gifts of inception and manifestation these beautiful beans are historically potent in several countries across the globe, but perhaps for their associations with death (or with life) Americans are reluctant to embrace their beauty and potency.
I pick up handfuls of a few beans at a time and gently rinse them in cool water; I am keeping the skins intact and allowing the beans to maintain their firmness and shape. I think back to all the times I have created this same ritual. To the many times at my Nona’s side, watching her gentle twisted hands working the beans through the cool water. I imagine the long line of my ancestors all washing these beauties together, as sisters, as mothers, as daughters, as granddaughters, as those who are ‘finding their way’ together. I feel ancient and fearless, proud and humble, gifted and honored. I feel the way’ opening.
Gently adding the favas to the stew the aroma is at once mellowed and deepened. I understand why we create this stew each year, at this same time, in this same way. It is a fullness that culminates, with beauty and honor holding equal measure.
Eventually I add the seasoned meat; sausage is traditional. This addition is intended to be a remembrance of our bodies, our flesh; impermanence, and the realization that we are all subject to the universal laws of change and adaptation. Even those who chose not to partake of meat (or red meats) eat ancestor stew. It is our calling to awareness that our flesh will transform, will become food, and will nurture through transformation.
The aroma becomes at once sweet and rich when the conversion is complete. I feel my ancestors waiting in anticipation as the magic becomes strengthened and solidified. I feel the way’ is open. I pull some bowls out of the cupboard and ladle the blood red liquid into these miniature representations of the womb. I place cream in the center to represent the lactation of birth and the cervical mucus plug; I add cheese around the cream to represent the nutrients within amniotic fluid.
I place the bowls on the ancestor altar, inviting my ancestors into my world, my home and my family. I feel happiness surround me, and the pleasure of my company is known. I feel honored. I ladle my family some bowls of stew with cream and cheese, so that we may birth together through the transformative energies of death. I ask my Goddess (in this case; Hecate) to allow this union to bring what it may. This is our way’.
Blessed Shadowfest to my family!
Copyright: Copyright © 2010 by the article's author
Location: Everett, Washington
Author's Profile: To learn more about Willow Moon - Click HERE
Other Articles: Willow Moon has posted 4 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Willow Moon... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2016 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).