Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Magick of Food: Rituals, Offerings & Why We Eat Together

The Magick of Food is a collection of musings and philosophy based on the history and cultural significance of food and the spiritual aspects of making and sharing food.  Originally published in 2017, this reformatted edition is due out 8th Jan. 2020 from Llewellyn publications, it's 288 pages and will be available in ebook and paperback formats.

Author Gwion Raven is an author, teacher, musician, and cook, pagan, and more. Llewellyn (the publisher) has a long history printing new age and alternative titles. If that sounds like this book is full of new age 'woo' (and ancient wisdom), well, it is, honestly. That being said, I (firmly 'school of western medicine' and about as non-'woo' as it's possible to be) found quite a lot of interesting food for thought here. This is a well structured and well written book. The author has a sure voice and a deft touch with the written word. He's never strident or preachy and I found a lot to like. I especially appreciated the wonderfully entertaining annotated history of food and cuisine from ancient times through the middle ages.

The second section of the book includes essays on food and rituals in modern life. We all have these rituals from the family favorites we all enjoy (it's not the holidays without aunt's cake, cousin's cranberry sauce, grandmother's stuffing etc), and the author does a good job exploring the concepts of food in specific settings, food and magic, sex, healing, grief, community, etc.

The third section (~30% of the content) includes the recipes. The author has provided in-depth commentary for most of them with suggestions for use and preparation.  The book also includes a fairly comprehensive bibliography for further reading.

The book has uses well beyond the spiritual. The recipes and practices are mostly appetizing and sensible. There maybe isn't a great deal of really groundbreaking info here, but it is an unquestionably enlightening and entertaining read as well as providing information for further exploration.  The author has a whimsical and wry sense of humor that is also very appealing.

All in all, interesting especially for practitioners or would-be seekers.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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