Sunday, June 10, 2012

A little about Kitchen Witchery

For starters, have you read my article in Circle Magazine?
(It's issue 111 from Spring 2012, and the issue itself is called "Kitchen Witchery.")

The article I wrote is called "A Crash-Course in Kitchen Witchery," and it's jam-packed full of tips, Sabbat correspondences, craft ideas, spells, and recipes for the kitchen witch.  Here is an excerpt just to give you a taste:

"... Here is a small collection of simple ideas on how to work some kitchen magic beyond the old stand-by of "stirring the pot clockwise to bring about increase."   Drawing on the 20 item pantry [which is a list of ingredients I explain earlier in the article], the equipment in your kitchen, a dash of creativity, and just a pinch of witchy know-how, you can easily try these ideas in your own home any time the moon is in the right phase and you have a little bit of time on your hands.

1.  Bring some wealth into your life by brewing up some tea.  Steep ginger or mint in boiling water for about five minutes, then remove it and stir in a tiny bit of cinnamon or vanilla extract for extra power.  Sweeten or add milk to taste, and visualize money and other financial blessings coming your way as you drink your wealth-drawing tea.

2.  Olive oil, which is excellent for your skin, can be used to make scented anointing oils.  This works really well with strong-smelling herbs and spices, such as ginger, lavender, rosemary, or sage.  Simply warm the herb or spice in the olive oil in a small pot over low heat for about half an hour.  You can then use the scented oil to on your pulse points as you would a perfume, or for anointing the forehead, hands, feet, chakras, etc.  The oil can also be used to dress candles, bless altar tools, or be included in sabbat rituals or celebrations, depending on the energies of the herb used in making the scented oil.

3.  Whip up a batch of love cookies using cane sugar, vanilla extract, and wheat flour using your favorite recipe.  Make sure to visualize new love coming into your life or already existing love being strengthened as you mix the dough, and cut the cookies into hearts or decorate them with other love symbols, such as pink or red sugar or frosting.  This is an excellent activity to do with any loved one, including significant others and spouses, children, grandchildren, relatives, friends, and especially anyone you would like to become a friend..."

Sound interesting?  There's plenty more where that came from!  You can buy a paper or a digital copy from Circle Sanctuary's online store here:  http://www.circlesanctuary.org/store/
Keep in mind too that the WHOLE ISSUE is devoted to kitchen witchery so there are tons of other articles on the subject.
  



Some of what I use for kitchen workings.


My Kitchen Witchery, A Visual Guide:
I thought that to further illustrate what being somewhat of a kitchen/cottage witch means to me, I'd use a photo to help get my point across.  Because everyone loves pictures!
1.  Brown pitcher/utensils:  I LOVE ceramics.  They are literally made out of the earth, and kitchen witchery is very earthy.  So of course I love this piece.  Obviously it was meant to hold water or juice, but I like my spoons and utensils in it where I can see it every day!
2.  Wine (in) Glass:  The traditional offering on the altar or in circle.  Kitchen witches love their wine (beer, cider, liquor...), and I'm no exception.  Btw, the glass is meaningful to me, because it was hand-etched by me in an icicle pattern (which is hard to see here.)
3.  Bowl of Fruit + Lemon:  When I think about what separates a "kitchen" or "cottage" witch from any other kind of witch, this is what comes to mind.  No, not piles of citrus fruits, but  a lot of ordinary, cheap, easily obtained ingredients.  Making the sacred out of the mundane, conjuring magic in the everyday.  Tell me that's not alchemy!  (BTW, I got the bowl as a present from my Mom last weekend.  So that adds to the allure!)
4.  Candles:  Of course I have candles in the kitchen, but I totally understand why some don't.  There's enough fire in a kitchen to fulfill that needed element, anyway.  I just like having the candles there because I'm kinda accident-prone, so it's just a good idea to burn them there where there's a water source!  (Hey... look at the excellent candle holder in the pic!  This was made by my stepdad out of the wood from a wine barrel!)
5.  Mortar and Pestle:
If I could recommend one tool that every kitchen witch needs, it would be this one.  First of all, it is a very ancient tool, with a long magical history; second of all, it is the preferred witchy tool for grinding spices, herbs, homemade medicines, etc.; and lastly, it symbolizes both male and female in the same way as the chalice and the blade, and when used, also embodies the Great Rite.
6.  Broom:
This is a small altar broom I made years ago, out of a cinnamon stick, braided raffia, and some teal embroidery thread.  I think the broom is one of the most important kitchen witch symbols.  It physically AND psychically sweeps, but it's also a symbol of protection, fertility, and of course witchiness.
7.  Incense, Incense Burner:
This burner is a green cast-iron leaf.  Obviously symbolic of the air element, the leaf is also suggestive of earth.  I also like that cast-iron has an ancestral feel to it - the way a cast-iron pan or cauldron does.
8.  Knife:
I have an athame (a really nice one, in fact) that I've never quite bonded with.  I think it's the idea that an athame is not "supposed" to cut anything.  Somehow that clashes with the fact that a knife, by its very nature, is an extremely useful and necessary tool.  So when I use my mundane kitchen knives for anything magical, it doesn't seem like a conflict of interest to me.  My knives are sharp, well-made, perfectly balanced, and have a nice heft to them.  They were also NOT cheap, but I spent the money on them because they are good tools and I think they are well worth the investment.  Since they are the best I have, why wouldn't I want to use them in my magic?

A Few Kitchen Tips and Tricks:
Every witch has a few tricks up his/her sleeve, and I'm no exception.  I'm going to share my favorites with you, some of which you may have heard before... and some that I made up myself!

* Use a fresh herb sprig as an aspergillum (water sprinkler).  I prefer rosemary for this, although any sturdy and fragrant herb, flower, or branch could work, such as a single rose or a pine bough (depending on intent, of course.)

* What kind of water are you sprinkling?  Naturally, plain ol' water with a little salt dissolved in it is good for grounding or removing negativity.  However, you can also use specially blessed water that you keep just for this purpose, such as rainwater or water collected during the waning moon (for banishing and cleansing) or from a special lake, river, or other source.

* Not a fan of smoke?  Use an oil diffuser! (And I don't mean one of those icky plug-in or reed do-dads, either.)  AzureGreen has some really nice and inexpensive ones:  http://www.azuregreen.net/
However, a small pot of water simmering on the stove can accomplish the exact same thing:  simply put in some water, and float a small amount of essential oil on the surface.  As the water heats up, it will also heat up the oil, which will release the scent (this way you don't waste the oils, or worry about boiling the pot dry.)  This is great for those that like to work with essential oils or for people that prefer to use scent sparingly.

* Keep a box or jar of coarse salt around.  You can use it in all the same ways you would use ordinary salt:  to dissolve in water, to ring candles with, to scatter around the circle, to use in spells, etc.  But coarse salt also has the added benefit of actually looking like crystals, making it a great substitute for quartz or symbol of the element of earth.   It can even be used in place of sand for burning incense on, or crystals/tools can be buried in it to be energetically purified.  Salt crystals also make a nice altar offering, as salt was priceless in times past.  And because salt is perfectly at home in a kitchen, no one will be the wiser.

Moss Agate - It's a miracle in the garden!
* Many kitchen witches like to use a wooden spoon as a wand of sorts, but it's difficult to keep your mundane spoons separate from your sacred ones.  So how about using a blessed wooden honey dipper!  It can live in a drawer or utensil jar, but will never get used by anyone except you as long as you buy (or put) your honey in a squeezable container.

* If you are trying to grow herbs (or any other plant, really), put a small tumbled moss agate that has been charged with abundance and fertility energy into the soil next to the plant.  I don't know why this works, but it does - one year I grew tomato plants taller than I am!

That's all for now... thanks for reading, and have a lovely and blessed day!














2 comments:

  1. Brilliant! Back when I first started practising, I was quite young and didn't really have the money or means to buy herbs and ingredients a lot of the time. I would often look up kitchen herbs in my Cunningham's Encyclopedia and see how they could be used in my work. I once protected us from a string of robberies occurring in my neighbourhood by circling my house with leftover dill from the night before's salmon :) HAHA!

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  2. That's so cool! Dill happens to be one of my favorite herbs, btw... easy to grow, yummy, lots of magical uses - what's not to like? Bonus points to you for using recycling in your spell, too! ;)

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