Sunday, 23 January 2011
ThriftWitch: The Magic of Soup
Following my last post, my friend Harlequin asked if I would be writing about the magical uses of soup. I hadn't planned to, but his question got me thinking...
The first thought that sprang to mind was the choice of ingredients. You could choose the ingredients of your soup according to the energies you wish to induce in yourself and your fellow diners. You could for example choose earthy, grounding ingredients like root vegetables and tubers - carrots, turnips, swede, parsnips, potatoes, beetroot or Jerusalem artichokes (though you may wish to take Jafion's advice from the comments on my last post if you choose these!) - to make a 'grounding' soup. This could be a useful dish following a very trance-y ritual or demanding pathworking or spellworking. On the other hand, a light, spicy soup featuring ginger, chili, paprika etc could be used to increase energy levels. Or how about a healing soup, rich in fresh green veggies, garlic and herbs?
Your choice of herbs could be made according to their magical properties. For example thyme is ruled by Venus, so you may wish to include it as an ingredient for the soup you'll eat with your lover, or as part of your Valentine's Day meal.
You could also tailor ingredients according to what is being celebrated at the time of year. I think a creamy, pale coloured soup like curried parsnip or leek and potato would be ideal for Imbolc, and your Lammas soup could contain seasonal ingredients like tomatoes, along with barley and a sprinkling of poppy seeds to celebrate the grain harvest. It goes without saying that the obvious dish for Samhain is pumpkin soup!
There is also the intent that goes into creating the soup. Chop and prepare the ingredients mindfully, giving thanks for the abundance that feeds you. Meditate on that which you wish to increase or bring into your life whilst stirring the pot deosil (clockwise, the direction of the sun in the sky - in the Northern Hemisphere anyway - the direction of growth), or stir widdershins (anticlockwise) whilst meditating on that which you wish to banish (say, illness - or excess weight!). Say a few words of thanks - silent or aloud - before eating.
In my family, we all used to take turns stirring our wishes into the Christmas Pudding during its preparation. This idea works with many dishes, including soup! So if the soup is to be made for a group gathering or celebration, each person could take a turn stirring the pot and adding a few words of blessing for the group over it. That would be a potent brew!
For me, one of the 'magical' aspects of cooking is the way ingredients come together synergistically, creating something which is more than the sum of its parts. I kind of touched on that idea in this post. Soup is an especially good metaphor for this kind of magic given the diversity of ingredients and the way they blend together (particularly in a cream soup).
Finally, when you have finished your magical meal, what about a spot of divination? It was Reya who first taught me soup bowl divination - thank you Reya! After your meal, gaze into your soup bowl. Rather like reading the tea leaves, you should find that the patterns left behind by the interaction of spoon and soup dregs (with a little squinting) resolve themselves into symbols that can be interpreted as you see fit. Like most forms of divination, it's often easier to read for another than for yourself. And of course, it goes without saying that deliberate manipulation of soup dregs is cheating!
Happy soup making!