Dumb Supper

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Although Samhain is celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere on the 1st of May, in the Northern Hemisphere its celebrated on the 31st of October, and some here chose to connect to those energies.  Therefore, I thought I would post something I wrote a few years back on Samhain and the practice of the Dumb Supper .

Samhain is also known as the last harvest.  It’s the time of year when the land’s fertility withdraws in preparation for the dormancy of winter.  Since Samhain is when the veil between the living world and that of the spirit world is the thinnest, I use this occasion to make offerings in the form of a Dumb Supper to my ancestors in thanks for the connections to my blood history.  Samhain is also a time of endings and beginnings for the witch, as its the start of the witch’s new year.   Along with ancestor veneration, acknowledging and honoring the Gods of this time – the turning of the seasonal wheel is also of importance.

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A Dumb Supper is a meal, which can include drink created in honor of the dead.  This supper cannot only be for your ancestors but also for friends who have passed or those whom you have a connection to and are no longer in the realm of the living.  Dumb Suppers are a time of silent remembrance so when offering a meal to them, it is traditional to commune with them silently or you can write a note to them and leave it with the meal.  Dumb Suppers can be offered in sacred space, like part of a Samhain ritual or they can be offered at a place at the set table of your Samhain meal you prepare (usually at the head of the table and served first).  Dumb Suppers can be covered in a shroud to symbolize its for the blessed dead, have a candle lit before it so its easy for them to find it on the astral, as well as saying a silent prayer in honor of them.

I like to create a Dumb Supper with things my blessed dead liked to eat in life. I personally include my supper as part of my Samhain ritual, which I use to communicate with them and thank them for their blessings of giving me life. Since candles were used to help spirits find their way home, I place a candle with images of my ancestors, a personal item of theirs and a plate consisting of their food in the North West of my cast circle.  I place a note I have written to them underneath the offering plate ensuring this plate is never used by the living (lest death take those who partake of it).  During my Samhain ritual I also burn the note of correspondence I wrote for them in a cauldron or fire pit so its released to the ether of spirit.

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Whatever you decide to create for your Dumb Supper, ensure you use what’s in season, and connect to the energies of Samhain.  Foodstuff in season can consisting of apples, pumpkins, corn, mushrooms, turnips, pomegranates, garlic, onions, potatoes, wine/mead, meat, nuts, within your meal offering for the ancestors.  Herbs which can be infused in your food and drink which resonate with the energies of Samhain are rosemary, mugwort, rue, tarragon, sage, wormwood, bay, nettle, mandrake, nutmeg, fennel (please note some of these herbs can be toxic with overuse or be incompatible with pregnant women so please refer to a material medica for further detailed information on the herbs you use).

If you would like some recipes check out my food blog:

https://madammagick.wordpress.com/recipes/

(c) T. Georgitsis 2014

Blending and Baking for Beltaine

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Beltane is a fertility festival where the union of the God and Goddess is honored.   Its a time of plentiful abundance and as such we can celebrate it as a feasting holiday.  A way to honor the earth’s blooming richness during Beltane is to hold a ritual with symbols of male and female fertility to signify the fruitfulness of the land and in turn us. It is also customary to hold a meal after the ceremony in celebration, which is called Agape in the Wiccan tradition I am initiated in.  Agape is a ritualistic meal after the customary rite has ended and circle is closed and the attendees are gathered around a hearth table or fireplace to eat and drink in merriment and the word itself means love in Greek.

One of the things which stands out for me during Wiccan ritual is the cakes and wine sharing within the coven which is similar to the catholic church sacrament but predates it.  Its where after our magickal working within the cast circle, cakes and wine is passed around by the coven members, which the Priestess and Priest initiate before the altar.  The cake and wine is shared among those gathered to ground and give thanks in honor of the God and Goddess for the blessings they have bestowed upon us.  When the goblet of wine is passed around the words “May you never thirst” are spoken before being handed to the next participant and when the cakes plate (sometimes the earth pentacle is used) is passed around the words “May you never hunger” are spoken before they are handed to the next person.  I find this form of blessing quite beneficial as not only does it bless us with the prosperity and bounty of the God and Goddess but it connects the coven in an act of love through the sharing of food in the name of deity.

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During Beltane my preferred preference for cake and wine is oat cakes and may wine. The magickal properties of wine are fertility, abundance and dreams and connect to the element of water and the moon.  The magickal properties of oats are fertility, wealth and prosperity and connect to the element of earth and the planet Venus.

May Wine Recipe

Wine is used in many a Wiccan celebration and as such perfect to use at Beltane. May wine also known as Maibowle (May bowl) can connect us to the nature of Beltane since its at the heart of spring and we have the ingredients at hand to be able to make this refreshing alcoholic punch. May wine/Maibowle gets its name due to Beltane falling on May 1st in the northern hemisphere where Beltane also known as May Day has its origins.  It is this time of year where this type of wine is enjoyed in celebration of the fertility festival, most notably in Germany.

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Oats are used in several Beltane-centric Celtic cakes and breads, my favourite being Bannocks which are native to Scotland.  Bannocks can have charms placed upon them and therefore the person consuming them also consumes the symbolic meaning that the charm represents.

Bannocks Recipe

(c) T. Georgitsis 2012

Organic Chinese Tea Appreciation: Glenferrie Tea House

Last year I found out the Glenferrie Tea House started to offer organic chinese tea appreciation sessions so I booked myself in as I have an obsession with tea.

The appreciation session lasted for about 2 hours and was set in the master tea makers home complete with traditional tea table and chairs.

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The different types of teas we tried were white tea (top near the small tea cups) and in order from left to right (bottom near prosperity pigs) were oolong also known as red tea, green tea and black tea.

My favourite was the Green tea which was the Green Puerh and the Oolong tea known as Red Puerh was perfect for my constitution (love it when my natural medicine knowledge can be used).  I found the Black Tea known as Hei Cha was the longest fermented we had at 10 years old which had an interesting flavour, since I’d never had black tea before.  All teas were from the same region in China – Yunnan Province and other than the loose non fermented White and Green were packed as disks.

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I learned so much about Traditional Chinese Tea I never knew before.  The things which stood out for me was the first brew of any tea is the tea wash to remove any impurities from the processing of the herbs and should not be drunk.  Also white tea and green teas only make about 5 good brews whilst red and black can make up to 10-15 and the notes change drastically with each brew.  Lastly White and Green tea shouldn’t be kept past 1 year after its been exposed to the air as its worthless unlike black or red tea which can last longer due to the fermentation (similar to wine).

The great thing is I have confirmation that my palette is still delicate as I could definitely taste the notes in the various teas (flowers in the green, chocolate in the black etc) and asked about them which impressed the tea master even though that was not my intention – just wanted to make sure I was tasting it right.

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All images (C) T. Georgitsis 2016

 

 

 

Hekate Recipes: Health Tonic

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Hekate Hellenic Health Tonic: Ironwort and Chamomile

Ironwort (aka Mountain Tea): High in iron (which is where it derives is common name from), Ironwort is a superherb which has been used in Greek folk herbal medicine for generations.  Its an antioxidant, immune booster, lowers blood pressure and body temperature, assists with fatigue and anemia as well as helping with circulation and chronic fatigue.

 

Chamomile: Relaxant which can be used as a sedative, used against fevers/colds as its antibacterial, used for digestive upsets as an antispasmodic and anti-allergenic, is anti-inflammatory and anti fungal. Great for allergies,speeds up healing, assists with skin problems, eye infections and mouth ulcers.

 

Recipe: Anastasia’s Spiral Pita

As a devotion for the Feast of Hekate today (13th of August) which honours her storm aspect,  I personally like to leave offerings at crossroads to appease her.  This is one of my mother’s recipes which I feel is very apt as an offering for Hekate:

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Anastasia’s Spiral Pita

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of medium or short grain rice
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 6-8 spring onions chopped
  • 400g frozen spinach, thawed, drained, chopped and squeezed dry
  • 150g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 125g cottage or ricotta cheese (I like to use a hard Greek cheese grated like Kasseri or Kefalotyri or alternatively I just use more feta)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 generous pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 packet filo pastry

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Place olive oil in a fry pan and heat. Add rice and onion and slowly cook until transparent and tender.
  3. In a bowl place spring onions, spinach, feta, cottage cheese (other cheese preferred), egg, dill and nutmeg. Mix through with clean fingertips ensuring mixture is thoroughly blended.
  4. Place unrolled filo pastry sheet on a floured flat surface and cut into strips approximately 12cm wide.
  5. Evenly spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the middle of the filo pastry strip.
  6. Fold the vertical ends of the filo strip over so they touch ensuring the mixture stays within and pinch the filo together forming a tube around the mixture. Pinch the ends as well so the mixture doesn’t seep out.
  7. Take one end of the filled strip and roll it towards itself until it forms a spiral. You have now created a spiral pita.
  8. Repeat with remaining filo until you have used all of the filling.
  9. Arrange spirals on a large baking tray at least 5cm apart and brush with a little olive oil.
  10. Bake 15 -20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Note: I have family members who instead of adding 125g of other style cheese they add 125g of mushed pumpkin or zucchini.

Recipe and Image (C) T. Georgitsis

Spirit & Spell (Issue 11): Regular Food and Faith – Coven, Cup & Blade

In the eleventh issue of Spirit & Spell my regular Food & Faith column is about the cakes and ale aspect of wiccan ritual as well as me sharing my honey mead recipe:

http://spiritandspell.org/our-latest-issue/

 

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The Alternative Spirit (Issue 2): Regular Hekate Column – Hekate’s Noumenia

In the second issue of The Alternative Spirit my regular Hellenic/Hekate column is about Noumenia with Hekate:

http://www.alpinenirvanastore.com/#!product/prd1/2178451185/the-alternative-spirit-magazine-winter-2014

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The Alternative Spirit (Issue 1): Regular Hekate Column – Hekate’s Deipnon

In this new magazine I will be continuing my regular Hekate article – in the first issues its all about Hekate’s Deipnon…

https://www.facebook.com/TheAustralianPaganMagazine?fref=ts

Spirit & Spell (Issue 10): Regular recipe column – Lugh’s Harvest

In this new issue (10) of Spirit & Spell my regular recipe column, Food & Faith, discusses Lugh’s Harvest with me sharing a few of my recipes of summery punch drinks:

http://spiritandspell.org/buy/backissue/issue-10-feb-2014/

Lugh (The First Harvest) and Tina’s Magickal Plum Jam Recipe

Lughnasadh celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere on 1st or 2nd  February is also known as the first harvest due to the land’s plentiful bounty during this time.  For me Lugh is a time to make offerings for what is profusely available, as well as pour a libation in honour of the gods of this season, who give of themselves to allow the land to prosper with fertility and abundance.

The first time I recall participating in a harvest festival, I was a young child visiting relatives in a small remote farming village on an island in Greece (Kontopouli, Lemos).  The main staple is wheat and after the first harvest had been collected all the residents of the village would gather with bundles of chaffless wheat stalks at crossroads and in central meeting points around the village.  There, they would create bonfires in a succession of three in a row where young and old would jump them in order to bring fertility, luck and prosperity into their lives for the rest of the year.  After this, feasting and drinking would occur at the local taverns or in people’s homes which would always consist of what was amply available such as wine, bread, vegetables and fruit. The connection between the first harvest and food was set up for me from a very early age and continues to this day.

For me the first harvest is a time of much working due to my garden being abundant with life. I personally like to preserve olives, plums, apples, lemons but there is a plethora of fruits and vegetables just perfect for pickling, canning and preserving to enjoy during the dark months where the warming energies of the summer produce is appreciated. It’s also a time to gather certain herbs and flowers which richly grow and resonate with the vibrations of summer for use not only in cooking but in crafting items like charms. Whatever you decide to create, you use what it’s in season, ensuring you infuse the energies of Lugh consisting of, prosperity, protection, purification, positive transformation, pure generosity and productive success within your food.

Friends and family absolutely adore the magickal plum jam I make around this time which has the sweetness of strawberry jam and the tartness of marmalade combined and to me it really connects me with the season.  The magickal qualities of plum are those of love and devotion as well as causing the body and mind to relax according to the Greeks and Ancient Egyptians.  Plums are also a fruit which symbolise fertility and can be seen to have a protective element.

When I make my jam, considering this is quite a long process which can take several hours and involves constant stirring, I developed a simple chant I use whilst I continuously send affirmative thoughts into the boiling pot:

“Round and round the boiling pot,

I stir into it positive thought.

Protection, kindness, love and joy,

Made for friends and family to enjoy”

(C) T. Georgitsis 2012

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Tina’s Magickal Plum Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2kg plums of choice (I use my home grown organic Victoria Plum variety)
  • 1 litre water
  • 125 ml lemon juice
  • 1.5 kg sugar
  • 1 pkt jam setter (if necessary to set but my suggestion is to add 25ml more lemon juice and keep boiling until it sets to keep it vegan)

Method:

  1. Put a small plate in fridge to test for setting point later.
  2. Cut plums in half, remove stones and any impurities on skin.
  3. In a large pot place plums with 1 litre of water and cover with a lid.
  4. Bring slowly to the boil on a medium heat, ensuring you stir every so often so the plums don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Once the mixture comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer with lid off for an hour or until the plums are soft and breaking apart.
  6. Add sugar and lemon and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  7. Bring to the boil on medium heat continuously stirring then reduce to a simmer.
  8. Remove any skum from the surface and continue to simmer until the jam falls through a tilted spoon in thick sheets without watery dripping.
  9. Once the above occurs, test for setting point by putting a little bit of jam on the cold plate in the fridge for a minute, the setting point has been reached when a skin forms on the surface and it wrinkles when pushed.
  10. When ready place into warm clean jars and seal.
  11. Label the jar with date and ingredients.
  12. Store in a cool dark place and refrigerate up to 8-12 weeks after opening

(C) All images, articles and recipes T. Georgitsis 2012 (First appeared in Issue 6 of Spirit & Spell magazine January 2013)

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