fire dancing in cauldron

Kitchen Witchery

by Lady Passion

You don't have to be a natural chef to learn the Wiccan art of Kitchen Witchery. Learning to craft in the kitchen involves five parts witchy common sense, three parts instinct and one part inspiration. Kitchen magic is a great way to help and heal friends and family, experiment with spells and recipes, and perfect your correspondence and numerology skills. Here are some tips to get you started:

Arrange your counters, ingredients, and utensils for maximum ergonomic and emotional comfort, and Feng Shui energy "flow". Everyone has their special way of working. Think about yours before beginning, and rearrange your space to ensure that you can find and reach things easily, enhancing spell concentration. (You may have to do this periodically to keep order and as your ability improves.) A messy kitchen invites mischievous Brownies and breakage.

Prepare a kitchen-witch bottle filled with salt, sharp objects, and personal body fluid (any type). Label, seal the top with wax, and store it with your spices to prevent fires, cuts, and food poisoning.

Sprinkle salt on the floor, then sweep to cleanse and purify the kitchen of all non-magical energies. Make ordinary mopwater into magical floorwash by adding a pinch of hyssop, basil, anise, or fennel. Always sweep or mop toward the center of your kitchen (away from the door) or in inwardly spiraling circles.

Consider casting a quick kitchen circle prior to cooking. Consecrate all your ingredients and utensils. (This need only be done when beginning to work with kitchen witchery, and for each new utensil acquired.) Thoroughly washing meat and veggies, etc. doubles as a purification ritual.

Don't try every unusual recipe you find in The Book of Life or Romany Remedies and Recipes, etc. Many grimoires call for unobtainable or extremely poisonous ingredients.

Learn the difference between the psychological and chemical effects of certain foods. For example, chocolate is notorious for its endorphen-stimulating properties (i.e. emotionally soothing quality). But even limited amounts can wreak devastating effects on diabetics (because of its high glucose content), people with migraines (it's a vaso-constrictor), or menstruating women (it stimulates the prostiglandins which cause abdominal cramps). Separate myth ("Spanish Fly is a great aphrodisiac") from fact (Damiana actually works).

Learn the "Doctrine of Signatures" (herbs often look like the body part they treat or effect they produce) and the traditional, magical properties of substances.

If mixing healing ingredients, consider allergies and avoid using such foods even if they're traditionally appropriate for the physical or psychological need. (For example, a family member may need a salve for abnormally dry skin. Almond milk is the standard miracle cure. But if they're allergic to almonds, don't add that, because their face will swell on contact.)

Tell (and as necessary, remind) your family or guests when you are cooking or fermenting something special, so they don't assume it's noxious junk and throw it out, inadvertently sample it, or accidentally break the container.

Label and date mixtures you make that require time to ferment or charge beneath the sun or moon. Some may be toxic (Dragon's Blood ink). Recycle empty tincture bottles, Mason jars, and beer bottles with permanently attached tops, filling them with your own concoctions and brews. Use amber bottles as a rule, so you won't lose a batch because of exposure to sunlight in clear bottles. Use a separate mortar and pestle for poisonous and non-poisonous uses.

Think how the ancients coped with only a few basic ingredients, and model your practices accordingly. Use what you already have in your cabinets before splurging for arcane ingredients. A witch can do basic spells with only a few ingredients: egg or flour (for binding), sugar, honey, basil, anise or fennel (sweet/invoking magic) or salt, cayenne pepper, garlic, or dill (for hot/banishing magic). Adding water "thins" or dissipates negative energy. Adding a dash of milk "thickens" or draws positive energy.

Make directional stirring second nature. If you're mixing, cooking, icing or baking a dish to conjure a positive effect, stir each ingredient you add and the final mixture deosil using a magical number of circles round (3, 7, 9, etc.). Keep count. Stare into the mixture and become mesmerized by its swirling. Infuse each ingredient with the specific attribute you want it to contribute to the spell, and the total mixture with your aspirations for the overall outcome you desire it to manifest. If you're trying to banish a problem, try adding the ingredients in backward order and stirring everything widdershins. Concentrate on the ways in which the problem will disappear, and see the people concerned happy and unburdened. Use magical numbers when stirring, slicing vents, and combining ingredients.

Mutter, whistle, or sing while you cook to alert the Gods to your efforts. Practice saying the accompanying incantation to your stirring rhythm. Set the heat to a magical number (3, 5, 7 or 9 on a burner), or a number that corresponds to your working (e.g. bake a round "sun" cake at 365 degrees). Refrigerate, age, or steep things for an magical amount of time ("21 days" is common in old recipes).

If you prepare things during the day and desire moon energy, consider putting in on a silver or aluminum plate in a shadowed corner until nightfall, so it can absorb like energy until you're able to charge it outside. Using a brass platter in a windowsill works equally well as an indoor sun-energy equivalent. If you're making a love feast, using a copper plate will add Venus energy.

Be magically creative with color, design, shape, and combining dishes. Consider the moon phase's influence. Dough rises faster and higher during the waxing and full moon. Ingredients blend better during the waning phase. Consider the season and meaning of the upcoming Sabbat, using appropriate color and traditional main dish combinations as time, creativity and money allow.

Note the different results you achieve when cooking by candlelight and incense to soothing music, compared with that of the family babble supper crunch using artificial lighting. Keep a log of things you made involving spells without your family's or guests' knowledge, and correlate patterns of success and failure. Offer a portion of each concoction to the Gods on your outdoor altar or to appease your garden devas. But cover whole dishes well when leaving them outside to charge. Animals are curious, hungry and resourceful!

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Latest update: 25 Dec. 1996