The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Imbolc~Feast Days and why Pagans find food to be sacred.

 Happy Imbolc!

For the Pagan first day of spring, here in Southern New England we are experiencing lovely spring-like weather. Yes, we know .  .  .  winter is sure to return with a snowfall or two, but for us, we know in our hearts .  .  .  it's SPRING!!!  We just don't say so, but our ancestors have declared this the first of spring for centuries in Western Europe.  Indeed, in Great Britain and Ireland they often have spring like weather much earlier than we do here in New England, but we seemed to have matched them this year. At least for the immediate time being.

Now to clear up any confusion, especially if you have a Witches Calendar, which clearly indicates Imbolc is tomorrow!, let me explain.  When the early Christians started to absorb and integrate the Pagan holidays into their calendar (for how else would the Pagan population have followed so smoothy the early Christian holidays, if they were not our own?) they moved Imbolc from the first of February to February 2nd.  They did this for other Sabbats, for instance Samhain, which was given three days of holiness, October 31st, November 1st and 2nd and again they did this for Imbolc. They changed the date to February 2nd and called it Candle Mass, to honor the candles that are lit to welcome in the burgeoning Sun.  In modern times in this country, we recognize this date as Ground Hogs day, also a traditional holiday to welcome in the spring or to foretell a longer winter.  Well many Pagans and Wiccans alike tend to follow this Christianized date and still today celebrate on the 2nd of the month.  Yet, it matters not! Celebrate as you can, as I will celebrate Imbolc this Saturday with my magical studies students in morning class.

Now onto the topic of the day, Feast Days and why pagans find food to be sacred.  Of course each person will feel about things as they will, but food has always been and, I think,always will be sacred and special. Our practice has its roots in ages long ago, but at a time when food for all was scarce and difficult to come by. A time when everyone knew the feel of hunger and want. I could discuss in great detail the history of food, but I'll keep it specific to the topic at hand.  The Sabbats were a time, it is debated, that from 2 times, to 4 times to possibly 8 times a year, a Sabbat was conducted in ancient Celtic times and the focus was primarily the foodstuffs to feed everyone.  A number of animals were slaughtered to provide fresh meat for the populace, and great ritual was believed to have been conducted in and around the slaughtering and preparing process.  I can only believe that the early spring Sabbats were a bit leaner, depending on the condition of the food stores (grain and root vegetables placed in storage) and if they had survived the winter with no rot or vermin infestation they would have had more, if not, then much less. When one knows what hunger, real hunger, feels like then a feast with plenty to eat does become sacred. For without food, we die. Our village, our town, our communities cease to exist.  For the ancient Pagan cultures, that many try to emulate in ritual and belief today, extinction and death due to starvation was a very real and constant threat. 

Today, I try to emphasize the understanding of what we have and how very fortunate we are to live in this day and age. We do not know hunger as the ancients did. Yes, there are third world countries where hunger is a real threat, but in the United States today we throw away enough food everyday from our homes and restaurants, food stores and other locations that could feed a small country.  Everyday! Yes, there may be individuals who have known hunger, but in this day and age it just is not a community wide understanding or experience.

We are lucky and blessed!  If you have consumed anything today more than a thin, watery disease ridden gruel with no flavor or nutrition, you are blessed. If you could easily place your hand on a slice of bread within moments of reading these words, you are as fortunate as any king or queen that ever existed, in this respect.  We have the ability to go to a store and buy as much food as we want or can afford. Many times we are restricted to having enough space to store it.  In ancient times when you ran out of food, you went without. Sometimes for longer than a body could survive.

I feel many Pagans today, because we strive to be in-tune with nature and the physical world, on some level we understand and can appreciate this.  We celebrate all the Sabbats with good food. Much of it is made by individuals or the best is purchased for the feast.  We have sparkling juice, punch, breads, cakes, salads, and in many cases as we celebrate in the morning hours, egg and potato dishes.  You can celebrate in the afternoon or evening and the menu is what you make of it.  I find it nice to have fresh greens and fruits for the Sabbat feasts and fresh baked bread for the cakes and ale part of the ceremony.  Fresh flowers are also a nice touch for the occasion, but its up to you to make it what you will.

As challenging as we may find our day to day life to be, I find great perspective in remembering how the ancients lived and in turn feeling so very blessed to have it so much more comfortable and easy today.  I take the energy of the Sabbat and meditate on those thoughts and in this way it becomes very meaningful to me and I hope it will be to you.

So plan an Imbolc feast for today or this week. Invite over some like minded friends and celebrate! Celebrate spring, celebrate life and love and most of all celebrate the times we find ourselves in. When you take that next bite from a fresh piece of bread or a ripe piece of fruit, take but a moment to realize how very lucky you are.  And .  .  .   you are. Blessed Be and Happy Imbolc to you and yours.

Imbolc Spring Omelet

This omelet utilizes many spring ingredients such as cheese, and fresh greens in the baby spinach.  It is a light dish, but substantial enough to act as a main dish or if served with many other foods a lovely side dish.

Eggs, beaten. 4-6 large ones for an omelet to serve 2 -3 people.
baby spinach  a small handful
feta cheese appx 1/2 cup
sliced ripe tomatoes (one large or two small)
fresh mushrooms sliced thinly

Have all the fillings ready to use and nearby in individual bowls. Heat up a large skillet (an electric fry pan works well with this recipe)  Add the beaten eggs to the skillet and cook on medium for several minutes until the egg has cooked and is only slightly moist on top. Then place as much of the fillings on as you wish. I place the mushrooms first, then the feta cheese. Then the tomatoes and finally I place a handful of the spinach on top.  Try to arrange the fillings on one side of the circle of eggs. Then take the undressed side of the eggs and with a spatula flip it over the side with the fillings. Cover the pan for just a few moments to let the steam from the omelet permeate all of the fillings and melt the cheese. Then uncover and slide onto a platter.  Garnish with some baby spinach leaves and a few slices of fresh tomato along the top then a small sprinkle of the feta cheese.  This is a recipe I whipped up just for you, my witchy reader, I hope you try it and enjoy it.



Peace and Happiness





© 2010-2012 Faith M. McCann.  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 www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website.  Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.

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2 comments:

  1. Faith - I'll be a reader of your blog going forward! It is very interesting. Thanks

    wdwicks

    ReplyDelete