Pagan Portals: Kitchen Witchcraft by Rachel Patterson
The phrase ‘Kitchen Witchcraft’ conjures up brewing potions and hanging herbs, and while this of course can be the case, the experienced witch knows the kitchen can be the beating heart of their home, where the material and the mystical meld to create magic.
Rachel approaches this topic with just such a theory in mind, and makes no assumptions about the level of skill or experience of the reader. It’s important to bear in mind that as part of the Pagan Portals series, this book is intended as a brief introduction to Kitchen Witchcraft. Having said that, for such a slim volume, Rachel manages to pack in a great deal of info.
She starts by introducing the idea behind kitchen witchcraft, and giving an overview of things that may be needed; tools, ingredients and attitude. Even for the experienced, this is a good reminder and also interesting to gain an insight into what another experienced witch has in their own cupboards, physical and otherwise.
The eight big seasonal pagan festivals are discussed with particular focus on what kitchen crafts can be used to celebrate them. In here are correspondences, incenses and many more hands on ways to get your worship on. She also talks about how the differing phases of the moon can affect one’s workings, and while this section is a little simplistic for those experienced in moon magic, again, it is a great point of reference and a good reminder of the roots of many more complex types of moon magic. She looks at working with energy, and how to utilise candle magic, from the very simple to the more convoluted spells that can be worked.
One of my favourite sections of the book is the meditations in the final chapter. Each one is a different journey for a different purpose, and while each is written as a detailed journey, there is plenty of scope to make the journey your own. Unlike the narrative style which is direct and almost chatty, these written meditations have a wonderful dream like quality which is just perfect for getting you in the right frame of mind for approaching this type of working.
Rachel’s style is very accessible and conversational. Despite being almost a reference book at times, this short volume is a complete page turner as it is a real pleasure to read. It is as if she is in the room with you, talking you through the ideas that she is obviously passionate about. This is a very modern way of writing about a subject as old as the hills, and will make the subject easy to absorb even for the complete novice. Yet she manages this while making it a perfect refresher for the experienced witch, by including lists, correspondences and ideas from many paths.
This could be my favourite point of the book, that Rachel does not assume that you are Wiccan, or indeed of any particular religion at all. Most of the practical tasks in the book could be completed by someone of no religious beliefs at all, as the main focus is on a connection to nature, the world, and one’s self.
There is no limit to who would enjoy this volume. The only downside is that it is so short, however as an introductory piece, as it is intended, it is absolutely ideal. I will definitely be getting a hold of her larger volume, Grimoire of a Kitchen Witch, to see if the style and themes are expanded upon. Highly enjoyable, and it has inspired me to get back in the kitchen- not something I say every day!