I feel like I should start by apologizing for the length of time between my posts. Maybe it was a winter retreat and I needed to hibernate, or maybe it was my laziness. Either way I am back and hope to develop a little more consistency. The potential of spring has me hopeful. All over my little hill, the Earth begins to awaken. The smell of thawing soil spreads through the air. The trees are budding and specks of green are spread across the ground.
In this post, I wanted to talk about something that might seem a bit more mundane, but for me, is tied to my magick: eating. More specifically, seasonal eating. For many Witches we celebrate the tidal movement of the Sabbats. We watch the changes in the world around us from the green promising growth of spring to the retreat and slumber of the winter. It seems natural for us to dance with this, but how many of us pay attention to that change in our diets?
If we look at the agricultural ties to the Sabbats, it is clear that what we eat changes in unison with each of these celebrations. It is most apparent in the later parts of the year when we celebrate the three major harvest festivals. The harvest of fruit, grain, and finally meat. As a result of this, our ancestors – who didn’t have grocery stores — ate diets that reflected that.
Now that spring is here, our diets potentially should shift towards many of the greens that are beginning to sprout or unfold. Many of these herbs are bitters. If any of you have tasted a black tea after the bag has soaked for a very long time, you know what I mean by a bitter. These herbs and plants help our bodies awaken our digestive track. Over the winter we eat diets of root veggies and preserved meats from the final harvest, much as our ancestors did. These young budded friends of ours have biological effects on our bodies. The bitter qualities promote the production of saliva and digestive fluids. They prime the pumps for what is to come as the growing season approaches.
Those of us that are Green Witches recognize this change. These synchronicities with the plant kingdom are a reflective of the magick in our World. Many of us are doing work this time of year that is about planting the seed or preparing for the growth and harvest to come. How are your practice and celebrations affected or influenced by seasonal foods?
I would also ask you how adapting or adopting these dietary practices helps with the sustainability of our planet’s resources. If some of us define our practice as an Earth-based religion, how would embracing locally grown produce, as well as sustainably and ethically raised meats impact our planet? How will it change our Inner Temples? These really are questions only you can answer. We can talk about the price of these choices, and they are real, or the practicality, but what I suggest is first working on our awareness.
So how can we take those baby steps?
- Visit your local Farmer’s Markets.
- Find recipes that utilize seasonally grown produce.
- If possible purchase organically grown produce.
- Limit the amount of meat you consume – it is by far the biggest consumer of resources.
- Say grace. WHAT? Okay, maybe not a traditional grace, but show appreciation for what you take in. As within, so without. Recognize that something had to die in order for you to live, plant or animal. Just to prove that eating this way can be delicious and powerful, I’m sharing a few recipes I appreciate this time of year.
- 2-3 cups fresh picked chickweed (Stellaria media or Stellaria pubera)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup Parmesan (fresh grated preferable)
- 1/3 of a cup walnuts or pine nuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil (or enough to form a sauce)
- Zest of 1 lemon
Thoroughly blend ingredients. This beautiful pesto can be served over pasta or rice. It can also be slathered over chicken or polenta. It is wonderful over roasted veggies and can be served hot or cold.
Nettles (Urtica dioica), stinging nettles, or witches’ nettles are prolific in the spring, and they are an amazing additive to any dish, especially soup. Lots of people are concerned with the stinging aspect of them. The chemical that sits within the leaves of nettles degrades in boiling water.
You can literally take any soup recipe and add nettles to it to reap the benefits of this powerful mineral- and nutrient-rich plant.
Not just for your gin anymore!
- Orange peel
- Vodka or brandy (at least 80 proof)
- Mason jar
Place herbs in mason jar and fill with vodka or brandy. Store out of direct light for 6-8 weeks. Shake 3-4 times per week. Strain and bottle when complete. Once you have completed these beautifully aromatic bitters, you can add them to your favorite cocktail or take a dropper-full in the morning or before meals.
All of these recipes are easy and vibrant. I hope you have a chance to try them out. At the very least, I hope I gave you a little food for thought regarding seasonal eating and how it can fit into our spiritual practice.
Ryan is an ordained Minister, Seminary Graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft & Deputy Minister of the Cancer Ministry. Ryan is passionate about Kitchen Witchery, the creatures of the Green World, working with Plant Spirits and making magick in daily life. Crafting herbal infusions, candles, and sacred tools, Ryan is co-creator of Drops of Three. You may visit his website at www.dropsofthree.storenvy.com.