Written by Vanessa Anderson
The usual conjuring and imagery of Witches, witchcraft and spell work often centre around a cauldron bubbling on a hot fire – hubble and bubble – while a cackling crone stirs the pot, muttering softly to herself as she dollops and sprinkles her tinctures and herbs. Each component is selected for cause and effect, a concoction of sorts meant for suture and salve, whether corporeal, ethereal or spiritual. An act of intent, for which ailment affects.
I previously appealed to you, to remember your magic yet I was not quite sure yet which element of practical magic should follow my last instalment for I truly believe that everything we do, with intent, is magic. One practice, in particular, keeps circling my mind – cooking, brewing, concocting, creating with love and intent, spelling.
In my piece titled – When the world tries to break someone you love – I wrote about my nephew, he is sick, very sick. Amid the chaos of disrupted routine and emotional upheaval, one simple, wholesome act pulls together the red thread that binds us all – cooking. It is this element because it is so raw in our existence that I want to reflect on it in this piece.
The ill, like the stone thrown across a pond, cause a ripple and those within the concentric circles ebbing outward – hold the space of the one within. We take care of them, holding them together so that they can hold those within.
Through all the ages of man, in every culture across the spiritual realm, we have sustained each other, held these circles together and gathered others towards us, with food. When we celebrate, we gather and share food, when we mourn, we gather and share food, when others are ill, we do what comes naturally – we cook, we gather and we share food.
We do this to hold the line when others are raging against a battle and, if we are lucky, we may have others to hold the line should we find ourselves in a battle that threatens to consume us.
When we were little, and we felt sick, we rested and our mothers made us soup to eat. When family and friends are sick, we offer to make their food, and we sustain them when they do have not the strength to do so themselves. It is a practice (in magic) done naturally, with intent. We give of our time and our energy towards others, the ingredients may be wholesome and nourishing, but that is not all on offer.
We infuse love, a knowing and understanding of the space others are in. It is an act of kindness where energy, like magic flows naturally. It is not odd or strange that the foods we prepare are often, exactly what the body needs to support it. It is knowledge within, sometimes we forget, sometimes the universe reminds us.
Food, good food, is energy. When it is prepared with love and intent – whether twirling round a cauldron or a pot on the stove – it is magic.
All magic is, is practice with intent.
We give our thought to the idea that someone else is in need. We give thought to the knowing that they have other things on their mind. No matter whether they are the one who is ill, or the one taking care of the ill, or those holding the space between the lines and the circles – our thoughts, through simple practices, like making food, become the tincture that offers suture and salve to the wounds of the embattled.
Remember that you are magic.
Test the theory, remember the last meal you made now remember the way you approached preparing it, what you infused within, how you and others felt eating it? Was it merely sustenance for an empty stomach, or did it nourish and nurture more than just body?
Last thought: if you are what you eat, then should you not take back the power over how it is prepared?