Magic in the Mundane: The Spiritual Interworkings of My Kitchen
Lately, I’ve been spending copious amounts of time in the kitchen. Whether this is out of compulsion, intrigue, or survival, I don’t know. But what I do know is that my kitchen activities are opening up a new world to me. One that is sacred, old, and deeply treasured.
There’s a wild sense of empowerment in turning hoards of fresh produce into batches of soups, stews, and diverse, colorful, nutritionally-packed meals. But more than that, I’ve taken on the household tasks of meal prepping and cooking as moments of meditation and prayer, weaving intention into every ingredient I choose. It’s almost like a witch casting a spell over her cauldron, except… that’s exactly what it is.
Prayer & Offerings
I started keeping a journal next to my stove. I’ll write down each ingredient and step, its magical correspondence, my thoughts and wishes I feel during the process, and a prayer at the end, asking for the meal to be blessed with not only nourishment but a clear mind, a positive spirit, and protection over my family and my home.
I’d always been the type of person to write my prayers, but this has naturally evolved into me taking an active role in manifesting my own desires as well as preparing an offering in the form of a meal for my family and friends. A daily ritual rooted in thanksgiving and an act of service for those around me.
I think this started when I began researching the health benefits of my most commonly used kitchen spices. Daily ingredients such as garlic, rosemary, turmeric, and black pepper have incredibly potent anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, anti-depressant, and mood-lifting properties for starters. Plus, a single tablespoon of a simple spice like oregano in an otherwise plain dish can double the number of antioxidants in the meal, charging the food with more nutrition, so to speak. It was only a short matter of time before I began researching the magical properties of my favorite herbs and ingredients.
The Magical Properties of Common Kitchen Ingredients
Here are a few of my favorites from The Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Healing and Self-Care:
Herbs and Seasonings
Basil: Clarity, Prosperity, Strength, Sympathy
Bay: Healing, Success
Black Pepper: Banishing, Protection
Cinnamon: Abundance, Connection, Protection, Success
Cloves: Confidence, Money, Protection
Oregano: Courage, Joy, Justice, Letting Go, Warding
Paprika: Enhancing, Personal Energy
Red Pepper Flakes: Protection, Romance, Strength
Salt: Cleansing, Healing, Prosperity, Protection
Turmeric: Healing, Protection, Strength, Vitality
Thyme: Cleansing, Courage, Healing, Loyalty, Prosperity
Vanilla: Comfort, Happiness, Love, Restoration
Carrot: Abundance, Lust
Celery: Lust, Mental Clarity, Psychic Abilities
Garlic: Banishing, Courage, Protection, Purification, Warding
Kale: Healing, Prosperity, Releasing
Onion: Banishing, Endurance, Prosperity, Stability
Tomato: Love, Prosperity, Warding
Zucchini: Lust, Prosperity, Protection
Garbanzo Beans: Balance, Creation, Energy, Healing, Strength
Apple: Healing, Love, Vitality
Lemon: Enhancing, Relationships, Strength
Orange: Divination, Emotional Expression, Happiness
Ancestral Ties and Ancient Meals
In the last three months or so, I realized that the simple act of cooking, which usually consists of me following my own intuition, sans recipes and cookbooks, could be something more. Surely watching the generations of women in my family prepare incredible meals and craft exquisite baked goods left an impression on me, and perhaps ingrained these values into my future lineage. Is it possible that the ingredients I choose and the intentions I set in the preparation and presentation of meals can impact my family’s well-being on an even deeper, psychological, and spiritual level? If food is medicine, can it also be magic?
My husband and I have been reading from The Witch’s Feast: A Kitchen Grimoire and have started to experiment with the flavors and traditions of the Celtic pagan world. It’s been truly mindblowing to learn about the oldest existing meals and recipes ever recorded and to gain the insight to replicate them in our home. So far, we’ve made a recipe called Fornacalia Focaccia, a dish inspired by the pagan feast of bakers to honor their goddess of fire Fornax. She was believed to control flames, and contain fires in their hearth. The bakers would prepare the feast while burning edible offerings to ask that the goddess not burn their loaves (or their villages).
The second was a dish my husband prepared, a garlic and leek quiche inspired by the ancient pagan feast Deipnon to honor the goddess Hekate who was believed to be the goddess of crossroads, nighttime, and spirits of the dead. On each new moon, the villagers would leave raw eggs, cakes, leeks, garlic, and honey at her shrines. Since these offerings were often taken by the poor, this was seen as a gift of charity in the goddess’s name.
Simplicity and Aromatherapy
Often, I experience days where I lack the motivation and energy I desperately need to get through the day, let alone cook. But I seemingly have found a magical little hack to lift me out of the fog just long enough to take care of my most pressing responsibilities and feed myself something nutritious, even when this is the last thing on my agenda.
When I wake up and feel a lack of energy or passion, I’ve resorted to simmer pots to kickstart my day. After making a cup of black tea, I’ll immediately drag my fatigued self to the stove, add water to a stone dutch oven and add absolutely any fragrant ingredient I have on hand. Typically I’ll simmer sliced oranges, cloves, bay leaves, and when I’m really needing a boost, a dash of vanilla in water. I let the aromatic steam fill my kitchen and waft over into my living room and through the vents until it reaches the far end of the house.
Unlike a savory meal, the essence of citrus and sweet spices smells so clean, bright, and energizing, giving me a much-needed boost of dopamine to kickstart my morning routine on even the hardest days. Personally, I like to think the effect is not all pseudoscience since smells have such an intense mental effect on us. The olfactory nerve that enables your sense of smell is the shortest sensory nerve in your body running directly from your brain to the inside of your nose. This basically gives the whole concept of aromatherapy some serious scientific backing. If smells can so easily manipulate our moods – desire, disgust, energy, relaxation – why wouldn’t we try to manipulate that for our own advantage? This has become my new secret weapon. Plus, if I can control my own mood over the course of the day with an act so simple, that’s power in and of itself, magical or otherwise.
I’ll be sure to write more posts about any more recipes we follow or create, and keep you posted about my journey growing my own vegetables from tiny seedlings this year. Here’s to a prosperous, joyful, and flavorful life.
Xoxo – Taylyn