There are many different varieties of Witches; we come in all shapes and sizes and have a wide range of interests and specialties. One of the special areas of interest that some Witches have is what has come to be called "kitchen witchery;" but what does that really mean? What makes a kitchen witch different from a regular Witch (if there is such a thing as a "regular" Witch)? Well, in my experience, a kitchen Witch is a Witch of any tradition that prefers to work magic and ritual with items that are readily available (such as garden herbs and kitchen utensils) instead of exotic ingredients and ornate ceremonial tools. Kitchen Witches tend to use "what is available and what works," in similar style to the old village Witch from days gone by. They seek their magic in the everyday items around them. This usually results in a large amount of magical products being made (of course) right in their kitchens.
Personally, I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I would say at least half of the magical items and spells I work with are made using everyday ingredients. I like exotic herbs and fancy tools, too, but let's face it: a lot of those items can be really expensive. Also, when we are in immediate magical need, difficult to find or high-priced ingredients that we have to send away for only slow down the process. In those times when you need quick, readily-available magical ingredients, it is so much easier to open your pantry door or take a trip to the supermarket and just spend a few dollars to get what is needed. In my opinion, money spells in particular that call for exotic, expensive ingredients have never made sense; if I could afford those ingredients, I wouldn't have need for the spell, right?
The fact that kitchen magic is usually less expensive than other forms of magic is only one part of its allure. Another attractive aspect of this type of magic is that it is very easy to fold into your everyday life and thus, it keeps you in continual connection with your spirituality. It makes it really easy to see the sacred in the every day on a real and practical level. I've always felt that one of the best traits of Witchcraft is that it challenges each Witch to realize the sacredness and interconnectedness of all things—when we can find that in our own homes, it greatly helps us see that reflected in the rest of the world, a microcosm/macrocosm effect.
Any Witch can use Kitchen Witch techniques to add to their personal Craft. In my new book, Supermarket Magic, there are dozens of recipes for potions, oils, vinegars, powders, charms, foods, and drinks, as well as outlines for spells that can be made with simple kitchen items and everyday ingredients. I would say that probably the easiest way to add magic into your daily life is through food. When you cook, it is possible to make the whole process into a ritual and the resulting meal into a magical spell. In baking, for example, when you grease a cake or pie pan, you can trace magical symbols in it with your fingers to channel magical energy into what you cook. For dishes like pizzas, quiches, or homemade cheesecakes, you can etch or trace symbols directly onto the crust and then cover with the filling/topping to seal in your intent.
When working magic for a specific goal, it is best to use ingredients that align with that goal. To use money magic as an example, wheat, rice, basil, onions, sea salt, and sunflower oil or seeds are all attuned to prosperity and abundance, and there are a ton of pasta, rice, and bread dishes that you can make using these ingredients. Once you know the magical correspondence of the ingredients, you can literally find magic in any cookbook (which is why my focus in Supermarket Magic is more toward magical oils, brews, charms, etc.). All you have to do is find a recipe that contains ingredients that correspond to your magical goal and as you make the meal, bless and charge each ingredient to your desire and combine them all into the finished product. Once the food is cooked, give it one more charge/blessing before eating. As you eat the meal, focus on your magical goal and see the act of eating the food as a way of bringing that goal to you. It is also a good practice to reserve a portion of the food to give in tribute to the Gods, Ancestors, and/or faery folk, depending on your individual tradition. This portion is usually buried in the ground, left outdoors, or given to the fire in sacrifice.
If you wish to invoke the elements in your cooking, you can invoke them at the appropriate time during the cooking process. When you turn on the oven or stove you could invoke fire into your spell. When you add water or other liquids to the food, you could invoke the water element into your magic. If you are baking and you add yeast or other leavening such as baking powder, or if you use carbonated water or beer in the food, you can invoke air while you add these ingredients. Lastly, when cooking with any grains, grain products, salt, or potatoes, you can invoke earth while you add these to the food.
Food magic is so easy and versatile. It can be as simple as spreading butter on some whole grain bread and tracing a rune onto the butter before you eat it to bring prosperity or healing within, to a full-fledged Sabbat feast shared with many people. You can also add candle magic as easily as turning a regular meal into a candlelit dinner, simply by charging the candles beforehand. Kitchen Witchery in general, and food magic in particular, can become a true foundation of your practice if you so choose. In the old, old days the Witches, Druids, and magicians, cunning men and women of the time, didn't have the Internet or occult supply shops or supermarkets from which to buy their ingredients, they either had to grow or find the ingredients they used in their magic. We are lucky enough to be able, in this day and age, to just take a quick trip to the store and gather all we need.
Since it is the intent and the energy that spark the magic, we do not have to necessarily make everything from scratch. We don't have to churn our own butter, and if making homemade pastry is not your strong suit, you can buy a prepackaged pie crust. Ideally, organic is best for magic even if it is prepackaged, but the real key to the process is to use ingredients that align with your magical goal and to charge and bless the ingredients as you cook. The charging and blessing are what transforms the ordinary into the magically extraordinary.
Michael Furie (Northern California) is the author of Supermarket Sabbats, Spellcasting for Beginners, Supermarket Magic, Spellcasting: Beyond the Basics, and more, all from Llewellyn Worldwide. A practicing Witch for more ...