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Author Topic: Diet/Food and Ritual  (Read 1510 times)

Kraken

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Diet/Food and Ritual
« on: September 03, 2015, 06:59:03 pm »
In general, do some practices require that you go on a fast before performing certain rituals? Is there a general diet that a witch can follow that will line up with Wiccan/Druid beliefs? Is there a spiritual element to I want to aim for a more homemade/natural way of life with food/medicine and try kicking all processed stuff...it's a difficult thing...any ideas?
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Jenett

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Re: Diet/Food and Ritual
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 08:34:03 pm »
Quote from: Kraken;179520
In general, do some practices require that you go on a fast before performing certain rituals? Is there a general diet that a witch can follow that will line up with Wiccan/Druid beliefs? Is there a spiritual element to I want to aim for a more homemade/natural way of life with food/medicine and try kicking all processed stuff...it's a difficult thing...any ideas?


There isn't any one prescribed thing (specific initiatory traditions may have some specific guidance or guidelines, but outside of that, it's pretty much 'do your own'). This is partly because people who are Wiccan come in a wide range of bodies, and some people can fast safely, and some can't, and some can fast and do complicated (or not complicated) ritual well, and some can't, and fasting makes sense for some kinds of rituals, and not for others, and so on. Ditto with any other food choice you want to talk about - avoiding or eating specific foods.

My own practice is that I have a body which makes some things with food complicated. (I have spent a year or so at a time twice in the past 5 with chronic medical things that have meant that 'food I can manage to cook and eat' won out of 'food that might be more ideal in some way' most of the time, and if I'd been restrictive about religious approaches to food, that could have been very bad for me in several dimensions - both because I'd have trouble eating, and because I'd likely feel badly about not keeping to previous religious commitments about food.

So I suggest that whatever you do, you keep it flexible, on the religious side, unless you have a specific reason to do something different. (Have it be about preferences, or choosing seasonal foods when you can, but not worrying if you can't for reasons of travel, medical issue, visiting family who don't get it, etc.)

Other things I've done, which I feel keep that flexibility while still being meaningful:

- Before my three initiations and also other rituals that it makes sense for, I have done a week of avoiding processed food, soda, etc. (Making exceptions if I have to for meals I don't have much control over.)

- When my overall health has been better (I'm almost back at this point again), I see about doing a seasonal feast and fast model (If you look at a lot of cultural holidays in places, the foods that are featured in them are often foods that would be scarce at that time. An overview of the idea here can get started: http://www.paganbookofhours.org/horae/fast.html )
 
- I look at ways to include food intentionally in ritual, whether that's ritual bread and wine, or what the foods are after. How this comes out, again, depends on my current energy levels, how many people are involved (a lot of things are sort of a pain in the neck, solo), and details of the ritual.)
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Mountain Cat

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Re: Diet/Food and Ritual
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 09:45:49 pm »
Quote from: Kraken;179520
In general, do some practices require that you go on a fast before performing certain rituals? Is there a general diet that a witch can follow that will line up with Wiccan/Druid beliefs? Is there a spiritual element to I want to aim for a more homemade/natural way of life with food/medicine and try kicking all processed stuff...it's a difficult thing...any ideas?

 

I haven't come across any dietary practices in Druidry. I would see it as personal choice if you wished to fast or feast before (or after) rituals, though some are clearly better focused for fasting, should that be something you desire.

I know of several vegans in Druidry, but I am not one of them. I think a home made, natural way of life in regards to food would work well. As for medicine, I suppose that would be a personal choice, but I can't imagine natural medicines taking the place of modern medicines. Perhaps as enhancements.

It's all down to personal choice and whether you feel it goes well with your lifestyle or not.

Kraken

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Re: Diet/Food and Ritual
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 11:09:17 pm »
Thank you for your input, Jenett and Mountain Cat :)
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Faemon

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Re: Diet/Food and Ritual
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 12:29:35 am »
Quote from: Kraken;179520
In general, do some practices require that you go on a fast before performing certain rituals? Is there a general diet that a witch can follow that will line up with Wiccan/Druid beliefs?

I want to aim for a more homemade/natural way of life with food/medicine and try kicking all processed stuff...it's a difficult thing...any ideas?


I suspect that a lot of New Agey "eating meat lowers vibrations" like vegetarians are more likely to have psychic powers, and vegans more so, or "processed food is bad for your soul" type of ideas...those come from not-completely-evil agendas of people who know what industrial animal husbandry does to the life quality of animals, or perhaps some yogic traditions that have worked their way into modern Western spiritual traditions through Theosophy, maybe with a distant echo of Romanticism as a philosophy and "all-natural organic is authentic and better" and spiritually significant.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't get into that practice at all, but tracing the lineage of these ideas always helps me to get a better perspective.

I believe that everything we would believe is a product of "imagining" from a society with needs for its time, and particular (but collective) perceptions. This boils down to a feedback loop of personal intuition and communal support.

So, it's easy to participate in Lent if the community is Catholic, or Ramadan fasting in an Islamic community, or the fasting at some Buddhist Goenka retreats.

But fasting without context as established as that, or with very little communal support and no strong personal leanings...not something I can answer for you. I don't know if Dianic Wicca or Neo-Wicca or Druidry what you're looking into has a calendar for fasting seasons, or daily diet prescriptions. The following text discusses anorexia, scroll past if it's not something you can contend with Gilbride, who goes here, *waves* wrote this book about bardic mysticism that's been influential to my practice but is not what I practice. Maybe the Welsh bardic traditions are slightly different than the Irish bardic traditions focused on in the book, I don't know, but see practices could be that particular. That book says, if I remember correctly, records of "fasting" had been documented as more like a hunger strike: if you really wanted the gods to make something happen, then almost starving to death could be a thing. When I read that, I was certainly tempted to reframe my own hunger strikes as doing that without knowing it. However, it's definitely more effective if 1.) you kind of already tied what you're doing and why to the belief system as you're doing it, not retroactively like I did, because my therapists called it "anorexia" then so that's what it was, and 2.) if whoever had made you miserable has this idea that a poet starving to death on their doorstep will put a curse on their house. Then they might be nicer. A community supports belief structures, see? Nowadays in some places the attitude is more like ugh get a Real Job you "poet", RENT is just a big Broadway musical about rebellious trust fund brats and pseudo-intellectual artistes who complain about their self-imposed poverty. (So...that might take the wind out of my sails if I tried it again...)

I also read that eating raw boar meat as part of the ritual might have been a thing, which is very interesting to read about, but...don't do it. In modern life we have swine flu outbreaks and the pilot episode of House, M.D. Tradition is beautiful, but it can be unhealthy to practice something just because people used to practice it...or even, it would be good to ponder, how what is practiced now is different than before, how the practice adapted.
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Re: Diet/Food and Ritual
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2015, 01:08:03 pm »
Quote from: Kraken;179520


 
To throw something else in here, not Wiccan or druidy but from my Egyptian perspective:

Food is sacred.  Food is pure.  You know that food is holy because it preserves and maintains life.  That is the function of food, and it fulfils that function admirably; that is also the function of holiness.

Approach food accordingly: that its function is to preserve and maintain life.  What is good for you?  What is good for your life?  Do certain foods make you feel dull and sluggish?  Perhaps you should eat less of them.  Do you desire certain foods deeply at certain times?  Listen.  (Listen to your belly but do not obey it slavishly; unlike your heart, it can be deluded.  Learning the difference between the two is complicated and part of a lifetime's work.)

Food is life.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

TisiphoneSeraph

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Re: Diet/Food and Ritual
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 06:28:12 am »
Quote from: Kraken;179520
In general, do some practices require that you go on a fast before performing certain rituals? Is there a general diet that a witch can follow that will line up with Wiccan/Druid beliefs? Is there a spiritual element to I want to aim for a more homemade/natural way of life with food/medicine and try kicking all processed stuff...it's a difficult thing...any ideas?

 
I see food and fasts as a tool but the eating and abstaining has to be done with intention if you're going to use it spiritually.

This is something I'm still trying to figure out for myself. I agree completely with Darkhawk that food is sacred. I've not been good about respecting food lately so I feel like I can't speak to it but her beliefs about food are similar to my own. I've been quite ill off and on over the past year or so practicing respect for food and trying to fulfill my true needs has fallen to the wayside.

Blanket standards have a way of leaving someone out so I think the general consensus I've seen has been that individuals should make decisions for themselves, either from personal convictions or where their personal exploration of spirituality leads them.

I know a fair number of pagans who are vegetarian or vegan for religious reasons. I'm personally not as it would pose a health risk and I've never had religious or moral conviction not to eat meat so it would feel disingenuous to me personally.

Most of the deities I've worked with have not particularly cared for formal rituals so especially during college but even now I used food as a way to connect with them and integrate offerings into my life. My most common one was grabbing a drink between classes - earl grey tea for the Morrigan, cafe mochas for Yinepu - offering it to a deity and just being quiet, enjoying the drink with them, and focusing on them. Food always helped ground my mindfulness.

I've not had good luck with fasts. They become self destructive and hard to break so I avoid them. I prefer to fast activities or a particular food rather than total fasts. Some people can do it, I just can't so I respect that in myself and don't pursue them.
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Elding

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Re: Diet/Food and Ritual
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2015, 04:59:44 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;179591
To throw something else in here, not Wiccan or druidy but from my Egyptian perspective:

Food is sacred.  Food is pure.  You know that food is holy because it preserves and maintains life.  That is the function of food, and it fulfils that function admirably; that is also the function of holiness.

Approach food accordingly: that its function is to preserve and maintain life.  What is good for you?  What is good for your life?  Do certain foods make you feel dull and sluggish?  Perhaps you should eat less of them.  Do you desire certain foods deeply at certain times?  Listen.  (Listen to your belly but do not obey it slavishly; unlike your heart, it can be deluded.  Learning the difference between the two is complicated and part of a lifetime's work.)

Food is life.

 
Very well said!

OP: Why don't you try a number of different things and see what works for you? Eat low-carb for a month. Eat low-fat for a month. Experiment with cutting out things like grains, dairy or meat from your diet and see where you feel best.

I would love to give you a definitive answer, but the truth is that peoples bodies work differently. What works for me might not work for you. As a starting point, I suggest looking into Paleo, vegetarianism, and various religious diets (such as the yogi diet) to see what best sustain you.

However, there is one rule that I would advice you to follow - be mindful from where your food comes from. There is nothing spiritual about buying your grains from some gigantic mono-culture that only contributes to the desertification, or from a feedlot animal. Only doing this might in fact be what you are looking for, in and of itself.
Out in the woods, and I\'m not alone, but the sun\'s quickly going down!
There! In the trees! Something stalking me! Stop walking around!
\'K, just be cool, don\'t be such a fool! There is nothing at all to fear...
... other than the trees and the night and a beam of light, and the breathing in my ear...
[/I]

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