The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Celebrating the Harvest at Samhain - a kitchen ritual you can use now!

 Good Evening,

This is the time of the last harvest of the year and soon, come November 1st, we will be celebrating our New Year's Day and the first day of the Pagan winter. 

Many people have asked me this time of year, Pagan or not, what they can do to celebrate the harvest season, to mark this special time of the year. It just seems appropriate doesn't it, to make a celebration of the end of the warm season, summer and the harvest season.  So tonight, I have put on my witches hat and have come up with a kitchen ritual you might enjoy doing when it comes to celebrating this wondrous season.

A ritual to celebrate the Harvest Season. 

This is a food ritual, a giving of thanks for the bounty and abundance we have in our lives and metaphorically using food to recognize and give thanks for this abundance.  This ritual takes place in your kitchen and the altar is your dining table!

Your Menu (foods and tools needed for your ritual)

Vegans or Vegetarians can omit any animal products and substitute the protein of your choice.  Wash your hands thoroughly, and dry carefully. Safe food handling is paramount but this hand washing also takes the place of a ritual bath which some choose to use before ritual, some do not.  I prefer to  carefully wash my hands and forearms, taking care with the nails, then prepare the food to be eaten with your hands.  Carefully, slowly eating your food allows you to make a spiritual connection to the nourishment and nurturing energies that wish to work with you.  Gather the following foods:

Green salad - tossed with fresh herbs chopped fine and dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
The greens in the salad are and also represent the growing things of the earth, the vinegar the memory essence of the ancestors and the olive oil is the earth energy that connects those energies to your magickal energies making you a part of what you eat, as it soon becomes part of you.

Bread - a good, hearty, home or hand made bread with a great taste. Served with  seasoned olive oil  it should be chewy and require you to rip it with your teeth. This is such an ancient practice, the eating of hearty bread and a necessary one as it assured survival for generations, it feels like a communion between man and the divine. Grains, I feel, were the one specific staple (gift of the Gods) that mankind needed for our survival and we still eat and enjoy them today. The grains are no better way honored and celebrated than by chewing bread in relationship with others or simply the divine.

Salt - placing a container of salt on the table (it does not have to be consumed for the energy to permeate the ritual)  also recognizes the wealth to be found in abundance. It represents safety and strength, protection and warding off evil and harm are all magickal properties of salt and have been since long before biblical days.

Olives - another food representing a strong, abundant harvest. Eating olives brings protection, a sense of peace within as well as abundance and wealth.  In ancient Greece olive leaves were worn for luck and today we can eat the cured olives, any variety, for the same purpose.

As you place each food, arrayed separately, each in its own dish (make it a pretty dish of glass or china)  on the table then ring a bell three times.  After the bell is rung you can say aloud "Thank you Goddess/God/Universe (you may insert any name of Deity you please), for Life, Love and Abundance"

Then place the next plate of food, ring bell three times, then recite prayer.  Again and again until all food is on table. 

Additional choices for your celebration table could be:

Cheeses - varieties of your choosing. I like sharp cheddars, soft Havarties, mellow Goudas and tangy Swiss. And a staple for me is fresh mozzarella, for its flavor is so mild it acts as a palate for all the other flavors its paired with. Sprinkle mozzarella with finely chopped fresh or dried herbs and drizzle with a thin stream of olive oil. Make up a sun wheel (plate) of cheese to represent the waning sun and its warmth and strength that will soon return as we turn the Wheel of the Year. The cheese also represents the coming spring with the returning warmth and life giving greening of the fields. The harvest of the cured cheeses that had cured in some cases almost a year by this time were looked forward to and considered a great abundance.

Fresh Fruit - the harvest season ends with the last of the fruits and vegetables being harvested from the orchards and fields. Having a fresh fruit platter represents all the abundance of the harvest and apples should be a part of any fruit chosen for this holiday.  Candied apples are a favorite and the apple displays the protective symbol of the pentagram when cut horizontally to the stem and have long been considered the fruit of the Goddess. Any fruit is appropriate because it comes from the Mother Earth and fruit cannot be eaten until ripe so it represents the patience one must have between sowing seeds and harvesting fruits. Fruit can teach us of the lessons of patience and appropriate timing. A fresh vegetable platter is also a great choice for the same reasons as the fruit.

Chocolate - Cocoa is considered a food of the Gods according to the ancient Aztecs, which when blended with sugar becomes a heavenly delight that frankly to me is proof positive of a higher spirit called God/dess. Only one so divine could have come up with such a nifty treat! Just perfect! Janet Farrar (author of 'The Witch's Bible) as well as so many other wonderful books, told me that Goddess today enjoys chocolate as an offering.  I have yet to meet anyone as knowledgeable as she of the many aspects of the Goddess and their likes and dislikes. She also wrote The Witches Goddess and The Witches God, frankly this woman knows her Goddesses!  So ever since I last met her, I  have made sure to offer the Goddess a piece of chocolate every now and again and its always been received well. 

Pumpkin and Squash - a harvest favorite, especially with pumpkin muffins, or pie.  Or cube up some squash (remove rind first) and place in baking pan. Cover with maple syrup or honey and sprinkle with nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 to 1 hour. The time depends on how 'hot' your oven is and how big the chunks are you cut up. When you take it out of the oven a few pinches of butter melted in the sauce then spooned over the squash will be very tasty. The ingredients of this entire dish shout 'the harvest season', abundance, health and strength, which are also traits looked for magickally,  to get one through a long winter with illness, cold and flu. 

Finally a centerpiece of the fruits, squashes, gourds, corn and colors of the season. Maroons, yellows, oranges, dark greens, russets, bright reds and browns, blacks, silvers, coppers, bronzes and golds all combined to make a pretty table display. You choose the actual pieces but the colors are easy enough to come by this time of year.

Ribbons can be incorporated into your design or decorations as ribbons are metaphoric for the connections we still retain to our loved ones who have passed on.  Place name tags in front of table settings for loved ones who will be present only in spirit. Be sure to have a place setting for them, as well as placing food upon their plates. No one in this earthly realm will consume the food and its discarded afterwards as typical left over food is discarded. It is believed the spirits take the 'spiritual energy' of the food and what's left over is just waste. If possible the food, small amounts can be taken outside and left for the small creatures that need to eat also this time of year.

After table is set and food is properly placed, wash hands again, very well.  Be seated (if with others, hold hands around table) and say the following blessing with others repeating after you:

Great Mother/generous Father
we thank you for Life
Great Mother/generous Father
we thank you for Love
Great Mother Generous Father
we thank you for Abundance, Health and Happiness
So Mote it be!

The bell is again rung three times and laid aside as the feasting begins. This is not a 'dumb supper' so talking and sharing are permitted.  Take time to slowly chew and savor the food, the abundance which fills your belly and your soul. Enjoy, talk about the loved ones who have passed and are tonight with you at this sacred, special ritual meal, and remember them with happiness and good memories while enjoying the love of family and friends still with us. And we can be grateful.

This is just one way to celebrate this harvest season and remember the ancestors, which is a sacred part of the Samhain Holy Day (Holiday).  

Peace and Happiness

© 2010-2011 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

No comments:

Post a Comment