Food for ritual

Since this also just turned up in my search engine results, I thought it might be handy to mention. One of our coven desires is good food and drink: we’re both big believers in food being a pleasure as well as a necessity, and we want our ritual work and celebrations to reflect that.

What does that actually mean?

Food in ritual

As is true with many Wiccan influenced groups, we have a ‘cakes and ale’ portion in our rituals. Most commonly for us, this is bread and wine, mead, or sometimes beer (depending on the season and ritual focus.)

I started baking bread maybe four years ago, and I’ve discovered that I really like baking bread for ritual use. It’s also remarkably easy – my basic bread recipe (which I’m not going to post today, as it’s long, and I want to talk about other things, too) takes about 3 hours start to finish, and only about 15-20 minutes of actual work.

Why bake for ritual? Why not buy something from any one of the excellent bakeries within easy driving distance?

  • I know exactly what’s in there.
  • I know where those ingredients came from (for example, I use locally produced honey rather than sugar in most of my bread.)
  • I can adapt the bread precisely for ritual use: I did spice-based breads over much of the winter, but now that we’re in spring, I’m doing herb breads. Both are fabulous, but they evoke different feelings.
  • I can shape the bread in ritually beautiful ways that help reinforce the focus of the ritual.
  • There is something powerfully transformative in making bread: I begin thinking about the transformation and change the ritual will bring even before I get there.
  • It requires that I spend about 3 hours at home, which turns out to be a nice and happy scheduling thing for me: it means I am far less likely to make too many plans the week before group ritual (and thus am less tired, have gotten stuff done at home, etc.) Definite bonus.

My recipe for Beltane is actually going to be a new one for me – one of the friends who is coming as a guest has an oatmeal bread recipe she thinks would be fantastic for ritual, so I’m going to try that.

Likewise, what we pick for a liquid varies. We’re happy to do an alternative for people who don’t drink alcohol (currently not an issue, as everyone attending also drinks socially) but I do find that alcohol holds energy better than other liquids, and that that is sometimes very useful. My non-alcohol of choice is either sparkling juice, or some kind of interestingly flavored not-too-sweet juice. (The ready availability of pomegranate juice, for example, is handy.)

Food for Beltane

There are a few traditional foods – white wine with woodruff and strawberries, for example, or rose petal scones or other baked goods. However, we’re in Minnesota – neither of these things are actually seasonal for us, unless we have an unusually early spring. (And even then, that’s only roses, not strawberries. And one of our guests has rose allergies to many common varieties.)

Our plans, therefore, are for *good* food – homemade foods that feel right to us right now. I’m contemplating a chicken salad (to go with the ritual bread) but I’m still figuring out exactly what I want to put in it.

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