One of the fastest growing types of Witchcraft these days judging by the sudden proliferation of books and the fact it was one of the most requested areas of interest on my old website is “Kitchen Witchery.” There are probably all kinds of reasons for this, but personally I think it is because people everywhere are looking to save money and time while still pursuing a magical lifestyle. There still exists a rather pervasive belief that for magic to be effective and powerful you have to utilize all sorts of exotic, and expensive, tools and materials. It is my belief that this misconception is a holdover from the days when ceremonial magic and alchemy were at the height of their power and popularity and were seen as being reserved for the educated upper classes and “folk magic” was deemed the quaint superstitions of the lower classes. It is from many of the traditions of folk magic that Kitchen Witchery was born.
Kitchen Witchery is the deceptively simple yet immensely powerful magic of hearth and home. It is magic practiced using everyday objects rather than exotic and expensive “ritual tools.” It uses the Witch’s favorite kitchen knife instead of a fancy athame, regular cooking spices, herbs and flowers from the garden over exotic components from around the globe, and common cooking pots instead of fancy iron cauldrons. For every expensive, hard to find “spell component” out there you can find a common, inexpensive local substitute that is just as effective. For example, “dragon’s blood” is a dark red resin that comes from a specific tree that grows in the Middle East and even if you have access to a magical supply store can be difficult to find. However, in the more than 25 years I have been practicing witchcraft, I have yet to find a single use for dragon’s blood that cannot be just as effectively accomplished using cinnamon from the local grocery store.
I know there are people out there who will argue with me on this, and that is their right, but for me the two are infinitely interchangeable. And last but not least is the cost savings. A single ounce of powdered dragon’s blood sells here in Salem for an average of $7 while a 4 oz. bottle of cinnamon sells for $2.95 at the store. If you want to add a little something special to your cinnamon when using it for magic, get the sticks and a spice grater. As a bonus, you can add the cinnamon to sugar and sprinkle on your morning toast! But probably the most important aspect of using cooking spices over more exotic magical herbs is the fact that they aren’t likely to kill you if you forget to wash your hands after working with them. Nor will they poison your toddler if he or she happens to get into your spice rack.
Kitchen Witchery is quiet, subtle, and unassuming. It is also vastly underestimated as a force to be reckoned with by many people in the magical community. It should never be assumed that a Kitchen Witch doesn’t know how to work the more formalized ceremonial style magic, but why go to all that effort and expense if you don’t have to? Kitchen Witchery is normally practiced alone or with a dedicated partner, but it is also a great way of introducing kids to magic while also teaching them how to cook and run a household. A Kitchen Witch rarely has need to cast a formal circle because their entire kitchen is usually already consecrated as a dedicated magical space as the natural heart of the home. If they feel the need to cast a circle, it is normally done quietly and simply through visualization and directed will. A favorite wooden spoon becomes a wand, and the same knife used to chop carrots and potatoes functions as an athame. While fixing supper they are imbuing their food with magic and power to the benefit of the entire family.
Kitchen Witchery is healing energy directed into a cup of chamomile tea sweetened with local, raw honey to be given to a family member with a cold. It’s peace and harmony stirred into a crockpot of homemade soup, prosperity and success folded into the dough for snickerdoodles, health and happiness for the coming year mixed into a birthday cake. It’s mixing a little salt and apple cider vinegar into you mop bucket to cleanse your home while you clean it. And it’s keeping a penny hidden above your front door or under the mat to make sure you always have money flowing into your home.
Kitchen Witchery is the magic of everyday life. It may not have the flash and pizazz of ceremonial magic, but for anyone who has been practicing for any length of time they know it to be one of the most prolific and effective magical practices out there. You would be surprised how many Kitchen Witches started out as more formal, ceremonial Witches and, as they grew more comfortable and confident with their magic, gradually shifted from complicated rituals to the simpler, quieter magic of Kitchen Witchery.
Here are a few great books to get you started. If you can’t find them locally, all of them are available on Amazon.com both in paperback and Kindle versions.
“Witch in the Kitchen: Magical Cooking for All Seasons,” by Cait Johnson
“Cottage Witchery: Natural Magick for Hearth and Home,” & “Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up,” both by Ellen Dugan
“Magick in the Kitchen: A real-world spiritual guide for manifesting the Kitchen Witch within,” by Leandra Witchwood
“The Magical Household: Spells & Rituals for the Home,” & “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen,” both by Scott Cunningham (Come on! You knew there was gonna be at least one book by Scott. They’re classics!)
“Supermarket Magic: Creating Spells, Brews, Potions & Powders from Everyday Ingredients,” by Michael Furie