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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Pagan Thanksgiving

Posted by on in Culture Blogs



Holidays are times of remembrance, and food bears memory.

(An anthropologist friend of mine once quipped, “You tell me what you eat at Christmas, and I'll tell you where your people come from.”)

So twelve will get you thirteen that your quintessential Thanksgiving food is your mother's stuffing, right?

Turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie: these are much of a muchness, variations on a theme.

But stuffings, now...stuffings vary, and that's why for this holiday the real thing is always the way that mom used to make it. If you're hosting a Fourth of July potluck, expect everyone to bring potato salad. If you're hosting a Thanksgiving potluck, expect everyone to bring their mother's stuffing.

I gave up stuffing—and gravy—when I became vegetarian at 18. It took me decades to realize—well, duh—that both are actually really good food and that, no, you don't need meat to make either. (I will personally pit my brown onion-mushroom gravy against your turkey gravy any day of the lunar month. Any day.)

A few years back, my family actually had four kinds of stuffing on the Thanksgiving table.

My sister's, in the bird itself, was like mom always made hers (and her mother before her, hers, if memory serves: just how far back do these things go, one wonders): a dryish bread stuffing with celery, onion, paprika, a little sage.

(Chost like beck in Old Contry.)

Mine was the vegetarian iteration of ditto—technically, this would be a dressing rather than a stuffing, but let's lay that to the side for nowthough I also throw in an apple for a schmeck sweetness, and a handful of nuts for crunch. Hey, I'm a foodie; I can't help it.

My brother-in-law brought his mother's stuffing: bread, but with sausage and cranberries. And cousin Deb brought her mom's: also bread, but soft and gloopy: minimal vegetables, but sticks and sticks of butter. Yuck, both of them: way, way too rich.

And that's not even to mention cornbread stuffings, rice, wild rice, kasha, matza, name it.

Me, I've always felt ambivalent about Thanksgiving. Personally, I despise the Pilgrims, and everything that they stood for. (Believe me, the feeling was mutual: they didn't have much patience for our kind, either.) We've already had our Witches' Thanksgiving back at the Equinox, anyway.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I used to make rum-balls the last weekend of October and set them aside to age. Thanksgiving day was the day to open the cookie t

I adore cranberries—here at Witch Central (North), they're a wintertime staple—but most standard cranberry preparations involve truly toxic amounts of refined sugar. Fruit-sweetening seems a smart (to say nothing of aesthetically-preferable) alternative.

To palates accustomed to commercial cranberry sauces, the fruit-sweetened variety can at first seem overwhelmingly tart. (Unsurprisingly, witches value tartness, both behavioral and gustatory.) If you find that this is true for you, just up the proportion of grapes to cranberries.


Old Warlock's Fruit-Sweetened Cran-Grape Sauce


12 oz. (1 bag) fresh cranberries

1 generous bunch table grapes (red, white, or purple)

apple cider

pinch salt


Pick over the cranberries and wash them. Wash the grapes and stem them.

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    In one of his early "Letters from America," Aleister Cooke, describing Thanksgiving to a British audience, described cranberries a
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I never cared for cranberry sauce myself, not home made and certainly not the canned variety. Now there are craisens in the store
The Last Harvest: Martinstag, the Räbeliechtliumzug, and Thanksgiving

We went out the door, wrapped in coats and scarves, with our paper lanterns lit. The streets were dark, but ahead of us, we could make out the shadows of other children and their parents, their faces softly illuminated by their own lanterns hung on sticks. The lanterns swayed gently as we walked. We went up the street, up the long hill, through the little Bavarian town we were temporarily calling home. It was the eve of Martinstag, November 10, and our neighbors who lived in the flat below ours had invited us to come along.

It wasn't a solemn ritual. There was laughter and chatter, an air of excitement. On the main street, a crowd gathered on either side, the lanterns brightening the darkness. A parade advanced and thundered down the street, roaring with music, vehicles decorated like ships, horses, and other modes of travel. Costumed celebrants called out, "Halloo!" a traditional battle cry, and tossed out candy that we scrambled for and stuffed into sacks.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I visit my sister Barbara and her family for Thanksgiving. She serves sparkling cider. She and her husband finally decided last
  • The Cunning Wīfe
    The Cunning Wīfe says #
    Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving traditions! Brussel sprouts sound like perfect fare for a late fall feast.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Witches' Thanksgiving: An Invocation

On this Equinox Day, a guest post by longtime Minneapolis priestess and liturgist Magenta Griffith: a Harvest Invocation first delivered at our coven's 40th Annual Harvest Supper last night.

After the invocation, those around the table chimed in, thanking specifically the lives that came to an end for the sake of our feast: “Thank you, lamb!” “Thank you, cabbage!” (The onions, of course, got a big cheer.)

It ends with a toast, and the feast begins: Witches' Thanksgiving, 2019.


Harvest Invocation 2019


Life feeds on life, life feeds on death

And some will die so all might eat

Greens are pulled alive from earth

Wheat is scythed to make our bread

Beans are boiled that we might feast

Grapes when crushed become our wine

Spuds are dug to make our soup

Barley roasts to make our beer

Eggs are taken from their hens

Cows are robbed to make our cheese

Cider comes from apples pressed

Sweetness comes from looting hives

Corn is ground to make our meal

We shall someday change into soil

And so the circle turns.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Witch Gives Thanks - A Gratitude Ritual

Thanksgiving, as celebrated in the United States has a complicated history. We are inundated with bucolic images of blue-eyed, cherubic pilgrims in the buckled shoes, sharing a bountiful table with the ever so grateful and equally generous natives who are just so gosh darned pleased that the pilgrims could stop by for dinner. Then, of course, after dessert, the genocide.

The "real" story of Thanksgiving is particularly bloody, and not just for the turkey. The Pequot Nation lost over seven hundred men, women and children.The ensuing decades brought near total devastation for the First Nations peoples living all around what is now New England.

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  • Jenya T. Beachy
    Jenya T. Beachy says #
    Gwion, I love this. It's very similar to what we do and I see some things here that I want to add to our practice. Especially now,

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