Cauldron to Kitchen

Paganism, food and spirituality

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Selina Rifkin

Selina Rifkin

Selina Rifkin, L.M.T., M.S. is a graduate of Temple University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In 1998 she graduated from the Downeast School of Massage in Maine. She has published articles in Massage Therapy Journal, been a health columnist, and published The Referral Guide for Complementary Care, a book that describes 25 different healing modalities. In 2006 she completed her Masters program in Nutrition with a focus on traditional foods, and the work of Weston A. Price.
Currently she is the Executive Assistant to the Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, the first Pagan seminary to offer Master’s degrees.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_cavepainting.jpgOur ancestors told stories; stories that entertained, that showed people how to live, and that explained how the world was ordered. They sat around campfires, and around the work they were doing at the moment and told stories and sang songs. As People became more numerous, they gathered in cities and the stories got bigger, the presentation more formal and particular. The telling moved beyond just one person and others played roles. The stories of how the world was created were acted out yearly and with precision. On flaw in the performance and the players must start again least the world not function as it should.

The priests would enter bringing with them the sounds of chanting and the smell of incense. What storytelling lost in intimacy, public performance made up for in created spectacle. The grand theatre of the temple, housing statuary, and carved with reliefs of the doings of the gods, the choice of time of day, the smell of the sacrifice, and the sound of human voices raised in praise, all enveloped the participants. It allowed them to step out of ordinary time and join in the creation of the world, the crowning of the god-king, and the sparking of the fertility by which humanity survived. And whether around the fire or in the temple grounds, such participation bonded the people to each other and invested them with meaning and purpose. Such is the definition of ritual.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Hyphae1.jpgWe all know people who talk so much that they don’t seem to take any time to draw a breath. I seem to know a lot of people like that, but perhaps it is cultural. I live outside the New York metropolitan area. People here are - by my standards – high strung. If I want to be part of any conversation, I have to do something that was considered rude when I was growing up: I have to interrupt and talk louder than the person next to me. Not everyone I know is like that, but at least half of my friends are “talkers.” I don’t know the correlation between word count and extroversion, but I suspect its on the positive scale. Certainly the sheer noisiness of all that talking can be exhausting for a confirmed introvert like myself.

In stark contrast stands the laconic silence and one word answers of some of my mother’s childhood friends. Any attempt at conversation on my part - including asking questions - is likely to leave me feeling like I’m babbling. In neither case do I feel like I’m communicating. Talking and communicating aren’t the same thing. Communication requires some sort of mutual exchange. But sometimes I feel like there is more communication in the brief email messages my boss and I send each other, than with the people I speak with face to face.

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 b2ap3_thumbnail_web3_sm.jpgThe spider goddess rode the stars as they spun over the small blue planet. Her lover was next to her, encased in a silken chrysalis, safe from the cold, and even from time itself. She had once been known as Arachne, and then Ariadne.  She was waiting. Awaiting the call for joy that would awaken her beloved Dionysus. Awaiting an opportunity to spin her influence in the mortal world, to weave connections where there had been none.  She waited.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_256px-Moreau_Europa_and_the_Bull.jpgThough Terebus knew it was the time of his death, he gathered gifts of abundance to give each person. These were gifts that would help pass the cold season until he would return again: clay for making bowls, reeds for making baskets, glass and beads, paint and songs. Even knowing that he was to die, he pranced and tossed his horns, jingling the bells that had been tied there. When all the gifts were gone, he came and stood before Tellus, in her dark domain, mother of the soil who limits us all.

She spoke, “Terebus, we have spent and built, created and sold, grown and developed for a season. Now it is time to rest, to assess what we have done, to cherish what we have created, to enjoy the fruits of our labors.”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_566px-The_face_of_an_angry_man._Drawing_18th_century_-_after_C_Wellcome_V0009329ER.jpg“If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” has been a trope since the 60s. The desire to change the world is something I understand. I want my fellow humans to be happy, healthy, and productive; creating and inventing, and following where the heart and intuition lead. But I have to ask if anger is really the best way to change the world. Certainly it provides energy that can move people forward through difficult challenges, and it helps people support personal boundaries, and can be an indicator of where those are located. But I’m not convinced this approach is the most effective largely because constant anger is horrific for the body.

Anger is a stress response. From a physical stand point, anger and fear provoke the same biological actions in the body. Coritisol is released in the blood. This hormone circulates, causing the heart to speed up and breathing to increase so that you will have enough oxygen to act. Blood thickens so that if there is an injury we will be less likely to bleed to death. Body chemistry changes so that fats and sugars are not stored and will be available for fight or flight. All of these responses will slowly kill us if we spend all our time living in them. And this eventually leads to burn out and perhaps worse.

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  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    A world of yes. Great post. x

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b2ap3_thumbnail_appleblossoms2_sm.jpgThere is an apple tree on our family homestead that is about as old as my mom (80-90 years). The apples are thin skinned and yellow, but pleasantly tart and flavorful, and are perfect apple for sauce or baking. I’ve made more than one trip up to Maine specifically to catch the apples for sauce. Wasting them seems like sacrilege.

The tree grows out of the center of the stone wall the borders the property and has been becoming more and more top heavy while the trunk rots. Apple trees are very tough. As long as one thin strip of bark remains intact, the tree will continue to bare fruit. It needs only sun. Unlike annual vegetables, one cannot grow an identical apple tree from apple seeds. Apple DNA in the seed is diverse, and every new tree grown from apple seeds will be different.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_800px-Oglala_National_Grassland.jpgShe waits beneath

Barely constrained

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