Most of us are familiar with the concept and practice of offering food and libations (drink offerings) to the gods, ancestors, spirits, or the land in which we are honoring and working with – but we often overlook the offerings that we give ourselves. Most pagans and witches see the sacredness in everything – in nature, in life, and in death. The act of eating and drinking is a sacred act, though it is often overlooked. We eat to survive and we eat for pleasure.
“Our ancestors worshipped food, seeing it as a gift from the hands of their deities. Food magicians don’t worship food, though we respect it as a life-sustaining substance containing the energies of the earth. Food is a manifestation of divine energies that’s vital to our survival. Approaching from this frame of mind makes it easier for us to utilize it as a tool of self-transformation.”
– Scott Cunningham
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen
Regardless of our dietary choices it is through death, the consuming of life, that we are able to live. Plants die, animals die, and people die for our food. Even if one abstains from animal products, the earth from which plants grow is composed of decaying bodies – that of animals and that of people, from which the plants receive their sustenance. In fact, many cultures honored and prayed to their ancestors for “pushing up” the crops from the underworld or the land.
Many people in our culture today eat unconsciously and many may be opposed to the idea of treating food as an offering to the self, giving thanksgiving for their food, or blessing their food as a practice of prior religions they’ve left behind – and many still reject the idea of prayer. However, these practices are almost universal among belief systems around the world and reach far back into the history of many cultures.
“For this sacrifice
I thank and bless those of fin, fur, and feather
I thank and bless the land, waters, and weather
I thank and bless the grain, root, fruit, and vine
That I may have sustenance for body, heart, and mind
That I may honor the gods for all they give
May there always be enough for all to live”