The woman bent over the stone hearth, adding twisted
branches to the embers that glowed behind the andirons.
Once theyd sprung into flickering life, she stepped
outside to pump water into the old iron pot.
She returned to her house and placed the heavy cauldron
directly over the fire, positioning its three long legs
evenly around the blaze.
As the water warmed, she carved a small heart on to a
beeswax candle, placed it in a pewter holder on the kitchen
table, and lit its wick. She uncovered the baskets of strawberries
that she had gathered that morning. Removing
one, she placed it on the cutting board.
Love . . . for . . . me, she murmured.
Working slowly and deliberately, she transferred the
luscious fruits to the board, placing them in a pattern. She
soon had created a small heart fashioned of strawberries.
The woman made another heart around the first, then
another and another, until her supply of strawberries was
exhausted. She smiled and chopped the strawberries, imagining
what her life would be like once shed met a man.
While waiting for the water to boil, she took an apple from a
string hung from the ceiling. She carefully carved a heart into its
peel with a white-handled knife, saying:
Love for me!
The woman stared at the apple, smiled, and bit into the fruit.
The sweetness refreshed her. She slowly ate the apple, biting
clockwise around the fruit from where shed first penetrated it,
slowly consuming the heart.
Later, the woman rose from her spinning and checked the pot.
It was nearly boiling. She took the cutting board to the openfaced
hearth and, using the white-handled knife, slid the chopped
strawberries into the rustling water. As the fruit dropped into the
cauldron, she said:
Love for me!
The cake of sugar had sat undisturbed in its ceramic pot for
three months, but now was the time. The woman gently added it
to the simmering, fruit-filled cauldron. It absorbed the water
She sat beside the fire and took up a spoon made of cherry
wood. Slowly stirring, and moving the spoon in the direction of
the sun, the woman cooked her strawberry jam. As it boiled, she
said, over and over again in a voice barely audible above the
crackling wood and the bubbling water:
Love for me!
The practice of folk magic* utilizes a variety of tools to empower
simple rituals. These tools include visualization, candles, colors,
words, affirmations, herbs, essential oils, stones, and metals. Other
tools, fashioned by our hands, are also used, but these are merely
power-directors. They contain little energy save that which is provided
by the magician.
Another magical tool is at our disposal, a tool that contains
specific energies which we can use to create great changes in our
lives. This tool is all around us. We encounter it every day without
realizing the potential for change that exists within it; without
*See glossary for unfamiliar terms.
knowing that, with a few simple actions and a visualization or
two, this tool can be as powerful as the rarest stone or the costliest
What is this untapped source of power?
Thats right, food. The oatmeal you had for breakfast, your
salad-and-seafood lunch, even the chocolate ice cream that
topped off your evening meal, are all potent magical tools.
This isnt a new idea. From antiquity, humans have honored
food as the sustainer of all life, a gift from the unseen deities who
graciously provided it. Food played an important role in religious
rituals for most cultures of the Earth as they entered the earliest
stages of civilization. Its essence was offered up to the deities that
watched overhead, while its physical portion, if not burned, was
shared by the priestesses and priests. Food became connected
with rites of passage such as birth, puberty, initiation into mystical
and social groups, marriage, childbirth, maturity, and death.
Not only was food linked with all early religions; it was also
understood to possess a nonphysical energy. Different types of
food were known to contain different types of energy. Certain
foods were eaten for physical strength, for success in battle, for
easy childbirth, for health, sex, prosperity, and fertility.
Though food magic was born in an earlier age, it hasnt died
out. Foods are used in magic in both the East and West, though
the rationale for including them may have changed. Birthday
cakes are an example. Most birthday cakes contain iced wishes of
good luck. Why should we eat words? Originally, the words were
thought to contain the energies associated with them. So the
birthday celebrant was believed to enjoy both the cake and the
energy of the words. Birthday cakes are a contemporary form of
food magic, whether or not those who perpetuate this ritual are
aware of it.
While food magic has suffered from neglect in most of the
Western world (outside of religious connections), there are many
places where food is still viewed as a tool of personal transformation.
In Japan and China, specific foods are eaten to ensure
long life, health, love, even a passing grade on an examination.
Such rituals have continued for 2,000 to 3,000 years because
they are effective.
In my twenty-year excursion into the realm of magic, Ive realized
that no part of our lives is divorced from its power. I began
researching the magical uses of food about seventeen years ago,
when I was struck with the knowledge that it, too, was a tool of
magic and could be used to create positive, needed change.
Many of my peers expressed disbelief when I first explained
the premise of this book. Locked into one particular viewpoint
concerning magic, they couldnt grasp the simple idea that food
itself could be a force for magical change. Most of them agreed
that herbs contain energies. All right, I said. If herbs are properly
chosen and used, the magician can release their energies to manifest
a specific change. Right? Correct, they said. Well, herbs are
plants. Plants are food. And if food is properly chosen and used,
couldnt the magician release its energies for magical purposes?
Of course they could, and they do. Doesnt it make sense that
the rosemary a magician burns during a love ceremony could be
used in other magical waysin cooking, perhaps? Since lemons
have been used for centuries in purifying rituals, cant we bake a
lemon pie and internalize its cleansing energies?
This is the magic of food.
Both familiar and strange dishes can be found on these pages.
Their magical energies are clearly stated. Where needed, directions
for preparation are also given. Ive included recipes where I
felt they were appropriate, though youve probably prepared, or
at least eaten, most of these dishes.
Every meal and every snack offers us a chance to change ourselves
and our world. We can empower our lives with the energies
of food. With knowledge and a few short rituals, we can spark the
powers naturally inherent in food, transforming them into edible
versions of the stones, woods, and metals used by magicians.
We must eat to live. Similarly, we must take control of our
lives to be truly happy. The tools for doing just this are in your
cupboards, in your refrigerator, and on your kitchen table.
Turn the page, and discover the magic that awaits!