Summer has been busy as usual, with a raft of markets, workshops, orders, and lots of other odds and ends, and also as usual, I’ve found myself getting so mired in the every day reality of work that I forget to see the sacred in everything. Fortunately something happened to wake me back up again – this always seems to happen, and I view it as something that is almost inevitable these days. If you are supposed to be awake and here, the universe usually finds a way to give you that kick up the backside you need to ground yourself on the good earth and gaze towards the stars. In my case, and this time, it came in the form of stumbling across one of the Dark Mountain annuals in a bookshop in Glastonbury. This particular issue was called Sanctum, and was themed around the idea of the Sacred, however that may appear to you, and it was the eye opening, thought provoking read that I needed.
One essay in particular really struck a nerve with me, regarding the sacredness in food, in seed, in growing and storing the crops, and it has sparked a complete overhaul in my approach to food and cooking. I have always loved feeding people with delicious food, but of late I’ve been making a lot of changes. I’ve been doing much more gathering from the hedgerows and the garden, using every scrap of my findings. I’ve swapped from supermarkets to the local greengrocers and the farm shop, which not only has saved a surprising amount financially, is also much, much lower on the plastic side of things. I’ve rediscovered a love of cooking, and have been trying a multitude of different recipes. We’ve fitted out the pantry cupboard in the corner of the dining room with shelves, and soon I’ll be painting it up as a sacred pantry, for storing the foods gathered and made from the hedgerows, the garden and from local produce. The idea of the sacred in food is a fascinating one, really. Everything we eat becomes part of us, and everything we eat that has come from local ground binds us more to the land we inhabit, and if that is not worthy of celebrating, being fully aware of and making the most of, I don’t know what is.
Lately we managed to replace our drop leaf dining table with a much more robust farmhouse table which is better suited for making bread, piling high with herbs, eating off, and drawing on – a table which, in short, has become one of the nexuses of the house, the place where gossip is had, good food is eaten, comfort is given and received, and beauty is created. This table had to look the part – the basic table itself had the good bones needed, but needed a good overhaul in order to fit in with our decor. So once we got it home and installed in the kitchen, we sanded down the top and restained it with beeswax with dark pigment in, which gave it a much richer, more lustrous finish. The legs had been painted pale grey, which anyone who knows the Viking and I will also know is definitely not our style. I ‘keyed’ the legs lightly with a little sandpaper to make sure the next coat of paint would stick, then we gave the whole table base a good coating with Valspar’s colour ‘weather the storm’, which is a lovely muted green. Finally the carved details were given highlighting with a much paler green, and then dark brass accents were added. The resulting table looks rich and subtle, with elements of altar as well as dining table, and we are both well pleased!
I’ll be mulling over the idea of sacred food and sacred dining more in future blog posts – this blog is going to be expanding to encompass a lot more, in the near future, including upcycling furniture, decorating and interior design in a mythic style, lots of recipes both vegan and non vegan, masses of herbal and plant based stuff, stories, poems, musings, esoteric bits and bobs, natural dyes, and anything else that helps me to stay ‘awake’ – fully present, and with my feet thoroughly rooted in here and now. I hope you will continue to journey with me towards a mythic life in the future!