As we move from summer into fall, I am reminded of the importance of sacrifice. I am reminded that spiritual balance is maintained when we ritualistically give back from which we have taken.
To give something back is a genuine and important act. As we harvest the fruits (and vegetables) from the soil, and as we adorn our tables with this bounty; we should also remember to celebrate the earth’s generosity. With this I am brought to discuss the value of libation.
A libation in its simplest form, can be described as a ritualistic pouring or offering of a sacred or valued liquid into the earth. This act is a symbolic gesture of honor and devotion toward departed loved ones, deities, and the earth herself. Libation is also preformed to gain the favor of one’s patron deity. Libation is considered one of the humblest forms ritual.
In most Pagan, Wiccan, and Witchcraft practices the tradition of libation is critical in maintaining a positive balance and relationship with our deities and the energies we call upon. The act of offering something back to these energies puts our needs, desire, and actions into perspective as we acknowledge what is required to gain bounty. We are reminded that we are only one small part of the whole arrangement that creates sustenance. It is through this act of sacrifice, that we understand what it takes remain happy and healthy.
As we look back over the centuries we realize that libations were reserved for the most sacred of fluids, olive oil, milk, honey, alcohol, and in some practices blood. Many traditions conduct libation rituals at the start of the planting season in spring, to ensure a healthy and bountiful crop. One traditional libation I am most familiar with, is the one of pouring “Mother’s Milk”. Other libation rituals are reserved for honoring the dead. Entire bottles of bourbon and rum are left on shrines and altars to honor the dead, as well as patron deities.
Libations are an ancient practice. It is believed that libation rituals originated near the upper Nile in ancient Egypt. Libation rituals seemed to then spread from Egypt to Africa, Asia, and into Greece. In the Americas, it appears that native tribes were already performing their own libation rituals, using alcohol as their preferred liquid.
In examination of libation, we recognize the value of alcohol. Alcohol has long been revered for its intoxicating effects and therefore reserved for celebration and ritual. Today the ritualistic pouring or spilling of malt liquor to honor the deceased is common. It is often referred to as “pouring one out” or “tipping”.
There are some rules about libation you should be made aware. First, it is important to remember that libations are sacred gifts. These gifts and offerings are not for you to consume. I, like many others, prefer to pour libations directly into the ground. Some prefer to leave their libation on an altar in a scared cup or bowl. This tradition usually involves later pouring it to the earth.
Below is my own libation recipe for Mabon as well as Samhain. The intent of this libation is to honor the Goddess. You may also enjoy this as a beverage for yourself in addition to using it as an offering in your own ritual. I find to be especially nice for group rituals, since it is pleasant and delicious.
This recipe is made up of several juices as well as Brandy. I wanted to create something that represented Autumn in flavor and color.
Once you mix the recipe you can reserve some for libation purposes and enjoy the rest. Think of it as a toast to autumn, the Goddess, and the bounty we receive.
©2013, Leanrda Witchwood – The Magick Kitchen
I just want good food and to live a Magickal life! Is that so much to ask?
Through persistence, I found the honest answer… I can have both! I realize that I could forge my own path using the skills and knowledge I gained, and the simplest of techniques.
I love food and everything that goes with it. I have spent more than 35 years in the kitchen, enjoying every minute. Okay… well, enjoying almost every minute of it.
In addition, I have disbursed nearly as many years studying Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. Combining these two interests has created a Magickal path where I combine food and spirituality. To my delight they play brilliantly together.
My love of whole healthy foods, and unique recipes has also lead me to help run a local teen cooking program, where I teach kids valuable life skills in the kitchen. In addition, I teach a variety of cooking classes for adults and covens on subjects ranging from making the time spent in the kitchen more enjoyable, to cooking together as a group, and recipe-spell creation.
It only made sense that I would begin writing and sharing my experience. From this, The Magick Kitchen was born. My journey with you is about developing a spiritual experience with food, far beyond the dull habit of consumption. We have a marvelous opportunity here to take a most mundane task and make it Magickal!
The Magick Kitchen is about connecting to Divinity through food and the ritual of preparing and sharing food. It is about developing a sacred balance between nourishment, ritual, and spirit. Food has the power to heal, sooth, and bring us together as friends, families, and community.
I am so glad you joined me! Sharing knowledge, experience, and personal perspective with you is an honor. Thank you!
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