Tuesday 12 March 2024

Kitchen Witchcraft: Finding Magic in Everyday Rituals

I recently had a discussion with a friend about the importance of ritual for spirituality and magic. In their personal practice, my friend felt it was essential to make time for dedicated ritualised ceremonies. My personal practice these days is more about finding the magic in everyday things, and in the world around us.

To me, ritual and ceremony are not synonymous. A ceremony is likely to be ritualistic, but not all rituals are ceremonies. Ritual can mean things like having the first cup of tea in the morning (and to me having the first cup of tea in the morning *is* magical). 

I used to think differently. Back when I was a regular member of a Gardnerian Wiccan coven, I felt it was essential to take part in Esbats and Sabbats as they were where important changes in consciousness happened. I still love ceremonies, and agree doing things like casting a circle, calling the quarters, raising energy and invoking deity can be an intense magical and spiritual experience. 

However, many years ago I became a 24/7 carer for my mum. It meant I could no longer do much in the way of grand ceremonies due to time and space and the needs of the person I loved who I was caring for. So, I started to make everyday things ritualistic and magical: doing the washing up, gardening, going to the shops, preparing and enjoying food and drink. I realised I could put magic into those things and draw magic out of them. Mundane chores can be turned into a meditative exercise, I could raise energy with every step I walked, I could connect with the elements and forces of nature in the garden, I could call on the magic of the moon quietly sitting by my window of an evening while my mother slept, but still be there if she needed me (the Goddess of the Moon understands such things, I realised), I could stir enchantmen into food and let it fill me as I ate it. As I said earlier, having tea became an important ritual, and I experimented with many herbal teas for their various properties too. 

Magic is everywhere, it isn't separate from the world, in my opinion. Ceremonies can definitely connect with the powers of the earth, sky, heavens, and deities, but that can be done in other ways too. It was a revelation to me that I could turn what might seem mundane to many into magical ritual, although I suspect plenty of women will nod their heads. 

Historically it was usually women who took the caring roles and who were more tied up with the home. I think generally women developed more kitchen-based magical practices whereas ceremonial magic was more generally done by men. Of course there were many exceptions to those generalisations and I realise the world is a different place now and gender roles are different too. 

I think I upset my friend with our discussion because he very much disagreed with me. However, it reminded me of the roots of my own personal magical practice. When I had to give up my own home and career to be a full-time carer, I needed to change my entire perspective on what was important to me. I started writing this witchcraft blog to keep my brain engaged and continue my magical development even when I had to be present and available in my role as a carer. I could tap away at my computer while keeping an eye on mum. As I've mentioned, I also developed magical practices around doing the household chores. Without the blog and the personal home-based magical practice I would never have the career I do now as an author of books on practical magic and a teacher of workshops on magic and witchcraft. 

However, I completely understand that some people, including my friend, feel I'm deluding myself over the relative value of kitchen or home-based eclectic witchcraft compared with ceremonial magical practices. We each have our own paths and I am not trying to say that my path is better than any other. They are just different. 

But what do you think? Is ceremonial magic more vibrant or valuable than kitchen-style witchcraft?  Please leave a comment.


Brenda Evans said...

I fully agree with you, and find your words very helpful and enlightening. I often feel guilty at not having time for rituals due to family commitments, thank you for sharing.

Tamara said...

I think of ceremony has something reserved for special occasions, to mark holidays, etc. I don't mind ceremony... I'm a creative person and appreciate an artfully performed expression. But I think the mundane, day to day rituals are more grounding for me and bring more joy and purpose to me. While the ceremonies are lovely, they're extra, whereas the dailies are necessary. I also forget to imbue my ordinary life with these little rituals (beyond certain things like morning coffee and meditation). Thanks for the reminder; we can infuse a little bit of good energy into everything we do... we just have to be intentional. :)

Jane Mortimer said...

Lucya, your post on this subject is very touching and beautifully written. I think your friend is being very unfair in decrying kitchen magic as somehow inferior to ritual and ceremonial magic. How many of us would love to be part of these wonderful ceremonies but we simply can't, because we might be stuck at home caring for a loved one, or perhaps too fragile ourselves to be part of something outside the home. Magic isn't another world. It's our world, and our world is wherever we happen to be and whatever our circumstances are. You could say our magical home is wherever we hang our pointy hat!

Badwitch said...

Thank you Brenda, Tamara and Jane. Yes, our magical home can be wherever we hang our pointy hats!