The first time I walked the crooked road of the left way walk, I felt an indescribable presence and importance. A returning to a way that always was. A remembering and a great reverence for the Unseen. It was an honor and to be perfectly honest, a little bit scary. I think the fear was there only because of the REALNESS I was experiencing in that sacred space. Stripped down and humbly performing an old rite of thanksgiving and communion. Presenting myself fully as priestess, student and child to a very great and ancient power.
The act of taking part in a holy meal of offering is of great importance in our spirit relationships. So much so, that it was adopted by Christianity as the Eucharist, a ritual of sharing the blood and body of the holy spirit. I’m sure in ancient times this rite once utilized an actual blood sacrifice, particularly in certain cults. However, in traditional craft an offering of salt, bread and wine is made. The magickal alchemy of combining these three, rendering them holy and partaking in their consumption is an act of honoring the spirits of the land and of the other realms, and understanding the wholeness of creation. That all realms are one. To share a meal is to create a bond, a mutual relationship. To share this sacrament with the spirits that aid us in our work, is to step inside their realm and honor them to the fullest. It is an act of union.
I love how Shani Oates explains the magick behind this act as "the magick lies in gyfu"*. Gyfu is the the Nordic rune of G – gift and generosity; to give generously. It indicates a partnership, and a favorable outcome. Through the sacred act of this rite, we greatly strengthen our bonds with the Unseen. We also EMBODY the power of the Unseen through the union of the shared meal. Meaning.. our eyes become their eyes… our words become their words. Words as we know, are a powerful tool all on their own. Now through this holy rite, we are one.
The Red Meal is called so, because it is believed that the dead eat food that is “red”. Red being the colour of life force. The dead eat the red food to consume life force and are thus replenished through the consummation. In ritual we utilize this colour through the use of dark wine and bread representing the blood and body. When we consume this offering we are being blessed by the Unseen. This mixture of wine and bread can also be used to consecrate tools and sacred space. After we consume it, the remainder is then left outside, likely gently poured into the ground to be absorbed by the powers it was intended for.
Though a housel or a Red Meal is a valuable ritual to perform when we are in need, it is important to remember that we should not only perform this ritual soley out of need. We wouldn’t only approach our friend’s with generosity when we want something. Therefore our spirit relationships must be approached in the same manner as we would treat our very dearest friends. Making this ritual a regular practice of giving with no need of return builds trust and honor. A strong foundation for any relationship, be it within the realm of the living or of The Unseen.
~ by Seven Sisters.
* Crafting the Art of Tradition, Shani Oates, Anathema Publishing 2018
Artwork by Stephanie Houser