– Sylvie Olivier
For many of us in the Modern Pagan or Witchcraft Traditions, the thought of saying Grace at the beginning of our meals makes us tense up. Scars of past spiritual practices have muddied a very beautiful ritual.
It wasn’t until I started studying with the Temple of Witchcraft and attending the public rituals that the thought of showing gratitude or saying a blessing over the meal I was about to eat even entered my mind. I didn’t come from a super religious background; in fact we didn’t even say grace in my household, but I still associated it with other faiths, more specifically Christianity.
When I first heard Matooka and Silver say a blessing over the food we were about to share after Ritual and speak about gratitude, it made me a little uncomfortable. Then it made me start to re-evaluate my stand on it and look at what was triggering this response. Was it the ritual itself, or some remnant or resentment of my experience with those other faiths? More importantly, was this a valid practice for me, and would I continue to allow those past experiences to overshadow a beautiful practice? Later on in the third year of my studies with the Temple, I decided to challenge myself and incorporate a blessing before each meal. I did so again in the fifth year, trying to weave it into my daily practice. During that time I still struggled a little bit, but I found it to be important.
As a Witch I see all things as having life. I am sure many of you share this same view. As we work our Magick and develop our practice, we have a chance to meet the spirits that lie within, beneath, throughout both the plant and animal kingdoms. We build relationships and gain allies. If you have been to one of the Temple’s public Sabbats and have heard me say the blessing, it is all about the gratitude I have for these beings’ sacrifices.
“I thank would like to thank the Spirits of Leaf and Bud, Hoof and Horn, Feather and Scale…”
The realization that something’s life has had to end in order for us to be sustained is at the very root of the power and importance behind saying grace or a blessing over our meal.
If you don’t necessarily share this same view on the individuality of each plant or animal or their equality, then as a spiritual person, I am sure we can agree that they are at least a manifestation of the Divine. If you see them as gifts for us, then would it not be important to say thank you for the generosity of the Universe or Divinity?
The ritual of saying a blessing or grace with your meals doesn’t even have to be an act of your spirituality. It can simply be taking a moment to acknowledge that we are part of a larger ecosystem. Whether you view Nature as delicate or dynamic, each plant, animal, mineral or molecule has developed to play a specific role in a larger system. A momentary pause before consumption can be taken to reflect on this and the place we hold in the world around us.
These three reasons I have discussed are just a little food for thought about incorporating this ritual into your daily practice. There are many reasons I haven’t discussed, animal ethics for example. How do you feel about saying a blessing? How do you show gratitude for the food that sustains you? Is this already part of your daily practice? What are the reasons it is not?
Thank you for your time. I am grateful to be able to write this column for the Temple of Witchcraft and for all of you who take time to read it and share your comments.
Ryan is an ordained Minister, Seminary Graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft, and 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.